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iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Bigger is in fact better (in the right hands)

Jason Snell | Sept. 18, 2014
When Apple released the first iPhone, its 3.5-inch touchscreen seemed huge compared to the displays of other phones. Nonetheless, competitors responded with even larger screens, trying to find areas where they could provide clear alternatives to Apple hardware. Consumers responded positively, so the competition started making even bigger phones.

An advantage of embracing scaling on high-resolution devices is that Apple can apply it in other ways, too. Apps that havent been updated for the iPhone 6s larger displays simply scale up to fit the new size. Everythings just a bit bigger, and if you look carefully you can notice the difference, but the apps still work just fine.

Apple has also added a feature called Display Zoom thats essentially the software version of those large-print edition books used by people with vision problems. When you turn Display Zoom on, the phone emulates the display of a smaller phone and then scales it up to full size. This is a great feature for anyone who feels like the content on their iPhone is just too small. It also means that while these phones are bigger, that bigness can either provide more room or just make everything larger. We all get to pick. Nicely done.

Without Display Zoom turned on, these devices have enough extra screen real estate for Apple to add new columns of buttons to the sides of the standard iOS keyboardbut only when held in landscape orientation. (In portrait orientation, the keyboard feels a bit bigger, but its still the standard iPhone keyboard.) In landscape mode on the iPhone 6 Plus, the left side of the keyboard lets you cut, copy, paste, bold text, and undo an action, in addition to triggering international or Emoji keyboards and voice dictation. On the right side of the keyboard, you can move the cursor forward or backward, add an exclamation point or question mark, comma or period.

On the iPhone 6, which is quite a bit narrower than the iPhone 6 Plus, the additional commands are an undo button and a comma on the left side, and cursor keys and a period on the right side. (Since these phones also run iOS 8, they also offer the new optional QuickType suggestion bar at the top of the keyboard, and will support third-party keyboards if you dont want to use the default.)

On the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple has updated several of its apps, including Mail and Notes, so that they also behave differently when theyve got the ultra-wide field of view in landscape mode. Both apps switch to a two-column view, with a list of items on the left and a preview or editing area on the rightthe same behavior that youd see when you rotate those apps from portrait to landscape on the iPad. Even the iPhone home screen has gotten into the action, rotating for the very first time on the iPhone 6 plus. (The Dock, youll be interested to know, slides to the right side of the screen rather than stretching out across the bottom a la the iPad.)

 

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