Apple have never been a company to conform to pressure.
But with the likely return of a new 4″ iPhone tonight, the shouts in the corner have now become impossible to ignore, that one had no choice but to return.
I’ve owned six iPhones since the original was released nine years ago.
Out of the six, there’s two devices that were favourites for me. The iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5.
When Steve Jobs in 2010 spoke of how the 4 reminded him of an old Leica camera, and I agreed then and I’m still in agreement six years on. Every time I see this generation of iPhone, I always turn the device around and look at it in every angle than the other models.
iOS 4 was also released alongside iPhone 4, and introduced folders. I much prefer how the folders used to appear on the home screen compared to iOS 7 and above. Everything also looked much more crisp than how it does now. Using Photos.app I managed to find an old screenshot of my iPhone 4 back from October 2010. You can see how everything has a shine to it, and even looks sleeker.
With the iPhone 5, it’s still baffling to me how light it is. It feels similar to how a TV remote feels without batteries. The camera, the speed, everything was improved, even the earphones. They simply made everything better this time and I was content.
But then something happened.
For me, owning an iPad, a Macbook, and a Watch, the phone has become the middle ground as to what it should be. It’s a tool for apps and functions that are totally different as to what we needed a mobile device for even ten years ago.
Granted, I shouldn’t really call it a ‘phone’ any more regardless. ‘Phone’ is secondary, thirdly, even a sixth use as to what people use their iPhone for today. The word ‘Phone’ has more relevance to it being related to Apple and their product in 2016 than to its actual meaning.
But as the years went on from the iPhone in 2007, a small need was growing to want bigger phones.
For their photos, their videos, or even help for people with visual impairments.
Many different devices quickly appeared and quickly vanished in this period, with some screen sizes so big, hybrids were appearing to see if there was any interest. The Dell Streak is one I particularly remember from this time, and would rather forget.
The Samsung Mega came along, until a sweet spot was found in the Samsung Note. Demand was growing ever higher for this screen size in an iPhone, but Apple were adamant that using two hands on a phone was not a good user experience.
In September of 2012 Apple announced the iPhone 5 as I was reading the live updates on The Verge, and instead of a bigger screen, it was taller.
An interesting quote I noticed at the 15 minute mark:
‘’A phone should feel great in your hand with your horizontally opposed thumb. When you carry your phone it should be comfortable to hold.’’
This was Apple’s way of reimbursing that fact; that this alternative was the better option instead of making it wider and taller.
It was definitely the worthy successor to the iPhone 4, with it being lighter, more powerful on the camera side, and much faster. The panoramic feature was something I used a lot on walks at the lake nearer to home at the time.
Yet in 2014, peoples needs for a bigger iPhone grew to a point that, in my opinion at least, Apple conceded with releasing the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus.
When I upgraded my iPhone 5* to the 6, it took me a while to get used to the bigger screen. The accessibility function to double-tap the home button to bring the whole screen down to reach your phone was very useful, and the speed and better camera it offered, outweighed the issues I had with the bigger screen.
But now that customers’ requests were answered, it seems as though that the sweet spot is leaning towards the 4 inch screen size, especially for iPhone users. People want a device that they can easily use to message people with one hand in a hurry, without worrying that the wrong grip could cause it to fall out of their hand.
Now as the event at 5PM today looms, rumours abound of the new 4 inch sized iPhone, with similar power to the 6S.
This is incredibly tempting to me. I do have the option of upgrading to a new iPhone this coming September due to the offer I had when I upgraded to the iPhone 6S last year. But it’s getting to the point where I’d be happy with a phone that has a screen size which my thumb can reach completely with no extra effort.
Not using it with two thumbs, not having to move my entire hand to reach a menu, or even holding it firmer so it doesn’t slip out of my grasp when I’m taking a photo.
It may be the first time I’ll be going back a generation in an iPhone if the news is confirmed, but for me, it’ll be much more comfortable to use, and in the end that’s what mainly matters to me for a device I use every day.
* My iPhone 5 had failed eighteen months into owning it, with the battery failing, and being a student at the time, a £150 quote to get it fixed was out of the question while I was living off noodle sandwiches. I was using a Nokia 1110 for 3 months until the iPhone 6 was released.