Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Apple's iPhone 6s Plus is Not the best phone I've ever owned

One of the phrases that always makes me laugh -- particularly after a new iPhone launch -- is when they get somebody and quote them as saying, "this is the best phone ever." With iPhone generations past, that was sometimes true for me, I was sometimes that guy. You think about some of those phones and how amazing that they were at the time, and they really were some of the best phones ever.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the iPhone 6s Plus. It is not the best. It is not the worst. For me, the overall phone enclosure is an inferior design wrapper around a pretty basic set of predictable feature enhancements. The iPhone 5 style of enclosure was better. Sure aspects like the bigger display wouldn't fit into the iPhone 5/5s enclosure, but for everything that this device gained in terms of enhancements, it has given up a lot.

Hardware Design Elements that Suck on the iPhone 6s Plus
First of all, let me start by saying that the iPhone 6s Plus is way too damned big. Yes, the large size is nice for watching Netflix videos and the "Zoom" feature actually transforms the proportions in the on-screen display to be something much more like the far more readable pre-iOS 7 operating system. Zoom is almost enough to overcome some of the crappy aspects of the iOS7/8 UI. But I'm not going to focus on the "too damned big" aspect. Let's assume for a minute that that is a choice. In this case, what I'm going to reference is how that oversized design impacts other usage aspects.

Which brings me to the worst aspect of the iPhone 6s and the Plus, the decision to move the power button to the right side of the device. This is, for me, one of the biggest functional blunders that Apple has made in the history of the hardware. While the button the top has it's limitations and issues, moving it to the side opposite the volume up button means that when you squeeze the power button, your natural leverage point is opposite that point. It's why you see things with two little grippy handles on opposite sides of a grab point. Squeezing both probably happens more often on the 6s Plus because it's so large, too damned big. But seriously, who puts two buttons on the opposite poles of a gripping point unless they are meant to be squeezed together?

Next, and I think I've written about this before, the protruding lens on the back also screams mistake. The protruding lens is kind of like saying you must use a case. Otherwise, when you lay the phone down on it's back, one of the resting points is always going to be the lens. It may be made of super scratch resistant material, but it doesn't remove the dumb from this design issue.

This phone. This feels like one of those times when somebody brings you a design and says, "Isn't it great?" and then all of the designer's friends all say, "I love it" and everyone tries to tell you that it's great. But it's not. For me, the worst part is, if there's a trend line, I don't like the way that Apple is going. They seem to have lost their way. 

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