iPhone 5: Are You a Bottom Grabber or Head Puller?

| Particle Debris

Apple’s decision to move the headphone jack on the iPhone 5 to the bottom has customers talking. It turns out, there are two parallel universes, and neither side knew the other existed.


The headphone jack has been on the bottom of the iPod touch for a few generations, but when Apple made the move to the bottom of the iPhone 5, suddenly the discussion got into high gear. If Apple made the change, there must be some logical reason, right? It turns out that there are a few logical reasons, but perhaps more interestingly, there are, in fact, two camps. And each camp thinks the other side is nuts.

For a detached, rational explanation of why the headphone jack is better on the bottom, read David Hoang’s analysis: “Why the headphone jack is at the bottom of the iPhone 5.” But it gets better. Apparently, there are two ways of handling the iPhone that are common and universal. It’s like the argument over how toilet paper should go on the roll.

Namely, some people like to shove the top of the iPhone (and iPod touch) into a pocket, with the cord on the bottom. That way, when it’s pulled out by the bottom, by a Bottom Grabber, it’s well positioned to hold in the palm and operate with the thumb.

Other people, are Head Pullers. They like to grab the top of the iPhone from a pocket and start holding it from the side. Logically, the headphone jack needs to be on the top. Quite possibly, before now, few people knew the opposite universe existed. All this is explored in this light-hearted analysis by Will Oremus. “Why Is Apple Forcing Us All To Put Our Phones In Our Pockets Upside-Down?” Mr. Oremus is left to conclude, ”that there must be some fundamental character trait that separates the uppers from the downers.”   Amusingly, this makes Samsung's ridicule of Apple's relocation, in their video ad, even more suspect than it already was.

Perhaps the iPhone 6 will go both ways. It’s the trend.

Image credit: David Hoang

Tech News Debris

We knew it would only be a matter of time before Adolph Hitler found out about Apple’s maps app, and that might have been the breaking point for Apple. I was rolling on the floor with laughter when I saw this. Scott Forstall, however, probably wasn’t. NOTICE: Expletives have NOT been deleted.

There has been some questionable discussion about how the initial sales of the iPhone 5 are disappointing. For example, one can’t look at just sales totals. Instead, sales per addressable capita tells a different story. The most astute analysis I’ve seen is by, who else, Horace Dediu. “Measuring iPhone demand.

Last week, Apple issued a minor update, version 5.1, for the Apple TV 2G and 3G. For those people who’d really like to dig into the details of that update, here’s an excellent source: “Secrets & Features of Apple TV 5.1.

We’re all getting fairly familiar with iOS 6 now that the reviews are out. But wait! There’s more. “Top 10 Secret Features of iOS 6.

I am always amused when some writer I’ve never heard of starts to pontificate about how stupid Apple is and what Apple must do to survive. It’s shades of MacWeek from the 1990s. In this case, Mr. Jenkins presumes to inform us that “Television is about to demonstrate the inadequacy of Apple's own business model.” And here’s a real winner that will puzzle the owners of the current Apple TV models. “To maintain its position, the company will have to focus more on giving its devices superb access to content it doesn't control and hasn't approved.” That will come as a surprise to APple TV owners. Anyway, submitted for the entertainment value, to keep you laughing, is: “TV Will Be Apple's Undoing.

At the iPhone 5 launch, (in the keynote video at 7m45s) Tim Cook made reference to the the huge percentage of Internet browsing represented by the iPad. With just 68 percent of the market, the iPad represents 91 percent of the Web traffic. Mr. Cook went on to humorously observe that he doesn’t know what those other tablets are doing. “... they must be in somebody’s bottom drawer.” So, in case you wondered about that stat, here’s some data that says the percentage, measured in a different way, is even higher. Would you believe 98 percent? Holy crap. “All Your Mobile Web Now Belong To iPad (Well, 98.1%, That Is)”

One of the biggest markets for the Apple iPad is in medicine. iPads just make so much sense for doctors, especially those who are always on the move. Here’s a report on Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and iPads. “Why Tablets Are The Future Of Electronic Medical Records.”

We love it when our technical preference are confirmed in a cute, affirming, emotional story that’s entertaining. So here you go, a very good one indeed. “An iPhone Lover’s Three Months Exile With Android.” My favorite line, “You want to love Android more than you wanted to love your amazingly beautiful ex-girlfriend whose one flaw was a serious case of the bitch-fits.”

Paul Thurrott has published a review of iOS 6, and what’s really, really interesting is his reaction to all the color schemes in Apple’s own built-in iOS apps.

One weird thing about iOS 6 is that Apple’s built-in apps are suddenly even more inconsistently designed than ever. Some apps, like Safari and Settings, retain the old blue-gray look and feel, while others are dark gray with black accents (Photos, iTunes, App Store) or just dark gray, light gray with dark gray accents (Music), a new bluer-gray (Videos), or faux-wood (iTunes U and Newsstand, both of which—seriously—feature differently colored wood designs!). I await someone’s impassioned defense of this Crayola strategy.”

Here's Mr. Thurrott's mosaic image that drives the point home.

Unfortunately, I can’t provide a defense of the Crayola strategy, and I actually agree with him. Perhaps someone else can explain.

Finally, last week I included a video of an iPhone 5/Galaxy S3 drop test comparison. The iPhone did very well and kept working even after a head-high drop. The Samsung flew into pieces and failed, sporting a cracked display. Here’s part two, perhaps even more impressive: An iPhone 5 torture test by  the Android Authority who admonishes the makers that they’re going to have to make their smartphones a lot better in order to compete with Apple. A refreshingly honest report.



Hair pull image credit: Shutterstock

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The most amazing thing about the Android Authority torture test—aside from the refreshing honesty and non-partisan nature of it—has to be the scratch test. My first iPod was a white fifth-generation iPod (hard-disk based) with the acrylic front and chrome back. It scratched if you looked at it wrong, and mine is just a mess of scratches today. I never had that problem with my iPhones, and granted while I always use cases with them, I’ve never used screen protectors of any kind, and I always get top dollar when reselling the old ones.

I also make sure that whatever pocket my iPhone goes into is empty! And FWIW, my iPhone always goes in upside-down or head-first. smile


Regarding the divergent skinning of apps.  I think having a uniform color scheme among apps is less important than having consistent UI behavior.  As long as standards for gestures, selection, scrolling, editing, and navigation are preserved (and they generally are), I don’t see anything to be upset about.

One can even make the argument that a little variety helps give the user context as to which app s/he is using.  Because iOS apps are full-screen (not windowed), so one would never actually be subjected to Thurrott’s's hideous mosaic.


Bottom grabber? Head puller? How about head scratcher?

I rarely use mine with a headphone attached, and always put it in right side up. One advantage of that is that (especially with a case) if I’m caught in the rain, I’m less worried about water dripping into the iPhone than if it was upside down or even the 4/4s where the headphone jack was at the top (my hand instinctively went to my shirt pocket to cover the phone when I was caught in the rain with my 4). With the 5, I can relax a bit.


The reasoning for the headphone jack makes perfect sense to me. Reminds me a little of when Apple decided to flip the logo on the laptop, so other people saw it right-side up when the system was actually in use.

Personally, I switched to a bluetooth stereo headset this year. I don’t care where they put the headphone jack. wink


I have to admit, John, that your headline (no pun intended) did grab me (okay, two puns - neither intended).

Being a belt clip user, I’ve never given a moment’s thought about carrying my phone in my pocket. In fact, I think it’s a great way to lose or damage the device (and given where I often go, that would be true). Indeed, my son lost his original 3GS whilst bike riding in Russia, no doubt to the delight of some denizen of Kazan. Thus, for me the issue of headphone jack placement is essentially moot, although I vote for putting it where most users find it most convenient.

Horace gets it about right on the iPhone sales last weekend. Despite the fact that Gene Munster and others came to the fore and openly stated that the forecast miss was supply and not demand - related, and that their predictions assumed available supply (which was a reasonable assumption in the face of limited data), pundits and investors have been slow to let go of the dwindling demand theme. Indeed, they seem deaf to the issue of phone orders in the pipeline that do not count against sales, but would have been sales if the things had been available. One of the most curious things in science is a persistent belief despite data to the contrary. This even affects scientists (think back to Percival Lowell and a cadre of contemporaries and the Mars canals) when it involves something they appear to want to believe. The two questions for me then are: 1) Do they want to believe this? And if so, 2) Why? Furthermore, if Apple simply are unable to keep pace with global demand, despite not selling more phones than ever before - certainly more than any single competitor - will this continue to be viewed negatively if those sale fail to reach, say, an order of magnitude over the 4S release? This response has been anything but rational, so I am not optimistic that rational discourse, supported by graphical data display, will assuage this fever.

The other important piece in your list, in my view, is the revisit with new data of the theme about iPad browsing dominance. It goes back to an earlier query of mine in which I posited that those who are purchasing these other form-factored tablets (7 inchers from Amazon, for example, but now Google) may not be in the market for an iPad of any kind, form factor aside. These other consumers do not appear to use their tablets in the same way as iPad users, and may not represent the same market. On the other hand, their behaviour could be device - driven, i.e. their tablets do not encourage browsing and play on the internet. Only data will tell. Now, assuming that Apple’s own smaller tablet is released soon, we may get an evidence-based insight into this question - are these the same markets. One confounder may well be price, and if rumours are true that Google plan to release a $99 tablet or some such, it may be difficult to tease these purchases apart.

That the iPad is doing so well in professional circles, such as amongst doctors (to which I can speak with first hand knowledge), only underscores that we may be observing different markets amongst the tablet wars.

Finally, ‘Hitler doesn’t like Apple maps’ was hilarious. Thanks for that.

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