Apple's iPhone 6 Plus Success Now in Developers Hands

One day in with the iPhone 6 Plus and it is readily apparent to me that this is a new device category for Apple, not just a larger (or smaller?) version of that which came before it.

First, it doesn't immediately replace my Retina iPad mini as I hoped it would. I guess I shouldn't be overly surprised given that the Retina mini has been my absolute favorite iOS device made. I'm trying to force myself not to use that for a few days, though. It's not happening easily, but it's happening. We'll see if it sticks.

The size is not the issue. For me, the iPhone 6 Plus is large enough to replace the Retina iPad mini. My issue issue is with the apps. For example, the Facebook app has yet to be iPhone 6 Plus-ified. This means I'm still running the iPhone 5 layout here, which zooms everything in and makes it feel like a clown show. This is true of all not-yet-relaid-out apps.

Screenshots from iPhone 6 Plus. Compare Facebook app on the left with in Safari on the right.
Look at not only the text size, but that of the clock bar and bottom menu. Everything is zoomed.

Apps that have been updated (Apple's Mail, iBooks and Messages, Fantastical, Twitterific just to name a few) show promise and give me hope that the iPhone 6 Plus could become my one iOS device. But it will take time, not only for developers to do their initial "for iPhone 6 Plus" updates, but to iterate and figure out what works and what doesn't.

Honestly, I think we're at least 6 months out from that, and probably more likely a year. Remember, while developers have had iOS 8 for months (albeit in beta) they were only exposed to the particular details of these two new phones this month. It's going to take time.

I wish there was a way for Apple to allow iPad apps to run on this phone, but that won't work, either, because iPad apps are 4:3 and the phones are 16:9. Simply put, there's no "easy button" for developers to push and make their apps immediately feel like native, IPhone 6 Plus apps. That will come with design decisions, experiments and revisions.

Again, Facebook app on left, Safari on right. Even the keyboard gets zoomed for non-iPhone 6/6 Plus native apps.

I'm focusing on the iPhone 6 Plus here because that's where this is most apparent, but the iPhone 6 also suffers from a similar issue. Non-updated apps will be zoomed on that device, too, just not quite as noticeably as they are on the even larger screen of the 6 Plus.

Aside from that, my first impressions of this device are quite positive. The camera is fantastic. I need to do more comparisons against the iPhone 6 (which I also have, and will), but so far this camera does amazingly well, especially in low-light.

I need more time (and more cases!) to truly test the iPhone 6 Plus's pocket-worthiness, but thus far it fits into all my normal pants pockets. And no, it hasn't bent (but I don't tend to sit on my phones, either, because that just seems like a bad idea!).

One-handed use on the 6 Plus is something I'm getting used to faster than I predicted, but it's still not perfect. I need a few more days with it to see just how comfortable I become using the device.

Will I keep the 6 Plus? I don't know. It's interesting to have a choice because, in the past, Apple has made it for us. My decision will come down to a few things. Battery life will be a factor for me, as will the speed and effectiveness at which developers update their apps. If it's not going to replace my Retina iPad mini yet then I will certainly be tempted to downsize to the iPhone 6. We'll see.

I'm forcing myself to use just the 6 Plus for a few days, then I'll do the same with the iPhone 6. That should hopefully be enough to make the decision. I'll keep you posted (and it's probably worth noting that I drafted this entire article on the iPhone 6 Plus without even thinking about it!).