My iPhone 6 Plus experience

BzCWpsYIcAEKn9OI’ve had my new iPhone 6 Plus a few days now, and I’m sure my experience is far from unique, but what the what.

I ordered online, and I ordered the black/grey in 64GB, which from what I’ve been reading seems like a fairly typical choice. Apple have been mean with the entry-level 16GB. After two phones with 16GB I knew it wouldn’t be enough for another two years, so I was thinking in terms of 32GB. But the new middle of the range is 64GB, which means the entry level ought to be 32. As for the 8GB included with the bottom of the range 5c, that’s just malicious. No way is a phone with that amount of memory going to be useful as anything other than a glorified iPod that can make and take calls.

My delivery date was estimated at around 20th October, but I was fully expecting Apple to under-promise and over-deliver, and so it proved. My phone arrived last Friday. It had a 3/4 charge and was up and running within an hour, following a connection to iTunes on a Mac and a restore from backup. This is a far quicker method than restoring from iCloud.

Immediate impression was that it was indeed huge, and it’s surprising how quickly the iPhone 5 starts looking dinky in comparison. In connection with the 5, it was passed to eldest daughter, and we took her old SIM (from her iPhone 4) into the Three store to have it chopped down in size. Amazingly, this worked, and the only upsetting aspect of that was the long wait in the shop, which was packed and had no clear queuing or waiting system. There is nothing more guaranteed to upset the British sensibility than no queue. What are we, animals?

My hope with the 6 Plus was to reduce the amount of stuff I carry and to have a device that was comfortable and convenient for reading. I’ve been in the habit of taking a laptop and an iPad and my iPhone to work with me. Unlike most teachers, that’s all I carry: so no huge bag full of planners, and binders and other stuff, but I still thought my bag was too heavy. So the iPad has been staying at home (or adopted by daughter as laptop replacement) and I’ve been getting by with the iPhone. So far so good.

The screen seems incredibly bright and sharp, and I’ve got no concerns about the 3x magnification scaled down to the 1080 resolution. Everything looks sharp and clean and you wouldn’t know anything about the image scaling going on in the software if you didn’t listen to loads of tech podcasts*.

It’s quite pleasant to read on, which I do mostly at night in bed. On the other hand, my posture is so bad that I do have some issues. These are mainly to do with the differences between iBooks and the Kindle app. Perhaps because of all their near-monopoly power, Amazon are shit at writing software. iBooks allows you to do two important things. One is to turn off justification. Once you notice the rivers of white/black down your screen caused by justification, you can’t not notice them. So I prefer to have it off. But Kindle app doesn’t let you do that. It’s a puzzle as great as the one about the shitty shift key on the iOS keyboard. The second important thing that iBooks allows is for you to tap either side of the screen to move on a page. This is very useful when you’re in bed and you’re holding the phone one-handed. I’m more comfortable holding my phone in my left hand, for some reason. With Kindle app I have to achieve a more awkward swiping motion, instead of a simple tap.

I have not made much use of the much-vaunted camera, with its image stabilisation. Partly because I haven’t had much opportunity to take photos, but also because I’m afraid the size of the phone makes it feel unwieldy. It doesn’t feel as naturally camera-like in the hand as the 4 or the 5. It feels almost as awkward as taking photos with the iPad, which I’m aware a lot of people do. We’ll see what happens when I’m in a more relaxed environment than work.

The 6 Plus isn’t too heavy, but I have bought a silicon case for it because I did feel like I was going to drop it every time I pulled it out of a pocket. When I do the ol’ scan and shop, I find it more awkward to hold to consult the shopping list whilst also holding the scanner. I don’t like having the case, but it does feel less slippery. Ironically, it’s harder to slide into a jacket pocket with the silicone case on it. I’m waiting for the Quadlock case to become available.

*I have, incidentally, gone Full Podcast with my listening habits. This means I’ve given up on live radio altogether. It means I don’t get enraged by Today on Radio 4, but it also means I miss out on PM because there isn’t a podcast of that programme. I do still listen to some BBC output, but through my subscriptions rather than tuning in. I’m subscribing to 32 podcasts at the moment, which means there is almost always something to listen to, and the range and variety of what I hear has extended. Getting a bit bored of all the SquareSpace sponsorship messages, though.

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