Apple iPhone 6 Plus - the Word That Shall Not be Spoken: Phablet

iPhone 6 Plus. Image credit: Apple

Apple resisted the idea of a phablet for a long time and so did its customers. But times have changed, and we've moved on. Nowadays an Apple phablet is just what many need. Just don't call it a phablet. Call it a Plus.


This week I took note of two contrasting articles and viewpoints. The first suggests that Apple got behind in the larger smartphone category and became concerned when it discovered that consumers "want what we don't have." But that can be blown out of proportion in this ridiculous article, "The iPhone 6 Plus is proof that Apple is scared of Samsung."

The other side of the coin is that Apple wanted to make sure the iPhone could be handled by people with smaller hands and used with one hand. That meant some thoughtful UI redesign for larger displays. Also, in 2012, as the 5s was being conceptualized,  the Phablets got a bad rap as unwieldy and gimmicky. So here's Apple's response: "Tim Cook: Apple Didn't Copy Samsung By Making An iPhone With A Big Screen." As the article points out, we're a bit dubious.

I think the truth is in the middle, and I think that as the iPhone grew in great power and complexity, people started to use iPhones not just as smart telephones but as portable Internet devices for all kinds of new services. In other words ...

... a phablet ...

There. I said it.

What's interesting to me is that the meme of the Apple world, in 2012, was that the iPhone didn't need to be any bigger. Then, as the smartphone market ignited to fantastic proportions and Samsung made the phablet legitimate with the Galaxy Note series (even though sales paled in comparison to the Galaxy S smartphone series), Apple came around to the idea that phablets can be good for many people.

While the Galaxy Note was never a top seller compared to the smaller S series smartphones, what's also interesting is the current favor found with the iPhone 6 Plus, at least in the initial stages. The iPhone 6 Plus has the nice feature of the side-by-side email columns and landscape home page. According to our Adam Christianson, some early adopters may be enamored with this technical jump, enough to ignite an early surge in Plus sales. I think he has a great point. It remains to be seen if that holds in the long term—after the geeks grab all the Phablets, um, Pluses..

What's also interesting is that no one in the Apple media seems particularly eager to call the iPhone 6 Plus a phablet. I guess observers are shy about coming around to the idea of an Apple phablet, and this is the Word That Shall Not Be Spoken.

Even so, Apple makes a phablet now. Let's enjoy it and move on.

Oh, wait.... Samsung won't let go.

Next: the tech news debris for the week of September 15. Some Apple Watch goodies.

Page 2 -The Tech News Debris for the Week of September 15


So, now that you've got your hands on an iPhone 6 and don't need to hand down a previous iPhone to a family member, what can you get for that old phone? In addition to Apple's recycle program which provides a gift card and the well known, there are other options. See: "What to do with your old phone when you upgrade to the iPhone 6."

Apple has announced pricing for its least expensive Apple Watch, the Sport model, at US$349 (aluminum + ion-X glass), but we still don't have pricing for the two top end models. The next model up, the Apple Watch, is stainless steel with a sapphire crystal, and we're bracing to hear how much it will cost. (I'm guessing $500-700.)  By the way, I surmise that the Sport model doesn't use a sapphire crystal because that material is hard but can be brittle on impact. That would be dangerous in a sports-oriented environment.  Note how Apple has put the Sport model in the middle of its marketing images (below), but it's likely to be the least expensive.

Apple Watch models. Image credit: Apple

For some additional background see: "No one understands the Apple Watch strategy, and it’s totally a winner." Also, there has been some expert opinion on how much the 18-karat and gold version might cost. It's high, but not all that bad in comparison to a Rolex. See: "The Gold Apple Watch Could Cost As Much As $1,200."

Well over $1,000, perhaps a lot more, would not surprise me.

If you haven't see this yet, it's an extraordinary perspective on the Apple Watch from a self-admitted watch guy's viewpoint. It's thoughtful and thorough. "A Watch Guy's Thoughts On The Apple Watch After Seeing It In The Metal." Highly recommended.

Could you get a traffic ticket for wearing a wristwatch? You might in 2015 if it's an Apple Watch and you're in the UK. "Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE." For goodness sake, the Apple Watch isn't even shipping and the IAM is already salivating over revenue from traffic tickets.

Let's be careful out there.

Finally, I ran across this interesting article related to Apple Pay. "Why Do People Think Apple Pay Is So Innovative When Google Wallet Has Been Part Of Android For Two Years?" The author makes some good points about Google's marketing approach amd how it has confused customers.  I agree, but my take is also best described by this conversation.

Apple fellow: Hey, look!  We're going to have NFC and Apple Pay!

Android fellow: You dummy.  We've had that for two years. Where have you been?

Apple fellow: I know, but we didn't trust it.  We trust Apple to do it right.

Android fellow: Grumble...


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page 1) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.