30 December, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus

I didn't get one at launch and it's always been out of stock, even now. But one weekend I managed to snag one. They didn't have any 64 GB white (sorry, silver) so I had to join the dark side with black (sorry, space grey).

First, wow, that's one UGLY box. I somehow still have all my iPhone boxes, so I was able to compare them. When I first saw the box I thought the phone came with a free screen protector, because it had the screen shape sticking out. Then I realised that's just the way the box is. It seems like the 6 has a "normal" box, only the 6 Plus has this ridiculously minimalist hieroglyph. Some people say it's to save money (unlikely, since embossing costs more than printing and money isn't really an issue for Apple), some say it's to highlight the curves. The speaker and Home button are glossy (spot UV?)

Phone-wise, it's pretty much the same as previous iPhones. Yes, it's the biggest iPhone yet, but it's fit in every pocket I've tried so far. I wonder if (men's) pockets are mostly the same size, since phones top out at 5.5-5.7" (Note 4) and I don't think it's a coincidence. No, you can't fully use it with one hand. You can reach the entire screen with some maneuvering, if you support it against your body or don't mind just resting it on your hand (as opposed to gripping it, i.e. you can't hold it upside down).
Edges of screen are curved, so screen protectors have to stop short. You can see the edge of the screen protector in the picture. Camera lens sticks out, necessitating a case more than ever. I'd rather make the whole phone thicker and increase the battery life. True Tone Flash seems to help, I haven't really tried slow motion or time lapse (who can dedicate their phone for time lapse?). Touch ID works, but because the sensor is smaller than your finger, you have to register the same part of your finger you use.

There are some things they overlooked. Like the 6 Plus supports 6+1 rows of apps, but still only displays 9 apps in every folder:
It's as though they just stuck a bigger screen on an iPhone instead of designing one from the ground up... Also, apps that aren't updated for the iPhone 6 Plus just stretch to fill the screen, making everything larger.

There are some disappointing bugs:
  • The first picture you take in a while doesn't make any sound. No shutter sound after updating ios 8.1 on iphone 5s No camera shutter sound on first shot. As I said, bookmarking threads in Apple help is frustratingly difficult and finding your bookmarks is mind-bogglingly harder. It's so ridiculously difficult it must have been done on purpose.
  • Brightness control: opening Control Centre dims the screen, making accurately adjusting brightness impossible. They fixed this by un-dimming the screen when you touch the brightness slider. Sort of, it usually doesn't work on the first try. Another bug: sometimes, after adjusting brightness, when you release the slider, it jumps to another position.
  • Some I've mentioned, mainly tapping on SMS notifications doesn't bring you to the SMS app. Sometimes.
  • It was stuck on Continue Restoring. Fortunately I was able to cancel and didn't lose any data. On the bright side, most apps now restore data seamlessly, an improvement from 2 years ago.
I made this list of specific bugs, because there are lots of articles claiming "latest iPhone is the buggiest ever!" every time an iPhone comes out, but none actually state the bugs. They usually say something like "50% more app crashes!" with no details at all.

The Screen
Apple makes a big deal of their screen, and it certainly has improved a lot. Off the top of my head, these are the improvements: IPS, Retina resolution, gluing the touch sensor layer to the screen, now they say the iPhone 6 has UV photo alignment, dual-domain pixels, and an improved polariser. There are some independent measurements of the display tracking the improvements. But the touchscreen aspect seems oddly ignored. Surely it has changed from the first iPhone until now? One thing I'm wondering is, what's the touchscreen resolution? Surely not as high as the display. This is actually very important for things like the keyboard.

To be continued...

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