The new iPhone 6 is big. The new iPhone 6 Plus is very big.
Most long time iPhone fans would easily agree with both of those statements. However, after both of those you could easily say “for Apple”. Reason being (and as many Android aficionados will point out), numerous other popular mobile devices have had screen this big or bigger for quite some time. It is a point of derision which is currently making the rounds from Android-focused companies, on social channels and TV ads.
So really, that “for Apple” becomes very important. It’s because of Apple’s previous reticence to produce a big-screened device that the new 4.7” iPhone 6 and 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus screens are such a big deal. So what has happened? Did Apple finally cave to pressures from a market demanding massive phones?
It is certainly possible. That being said, Apple fans have long been comfortable with the idea that their phones are smaller than Android and some Windows phones. Some are even outright opposed to the new models (the 6 Plus in particular) due to their increased size. Regardless, I imagine that Apple fans would’ve been waiting in line to procure the latest device in droves last Friday even without the bigger screens.
This is just a guess, but it seems that what Apple is really trying to do is reinstate the iPhone as a content consumption device. Prior to this latest release, the iPhone had been creeping closer and closer back towards the “old” paradigm of a communication-focused device, whereas iPad was the premier content-focused device.
With gaming and in-app purchases becoming of greater importance, bigger screens are becoming a necessity if you want to increase the ease of adoption outside of a few categories. Right now of the top paid apps on the app store, 50% are games. They are a goldmine for Apple and developers, and they offer the greatest opportunity for recurring revenue. Tim Cook did not let a guy in a scarf play a video game for three minutes during the keynote for no reason.
What does this mean for app developers and for small business owners designing their apps? Content has taken even more of a central focus, and the disparity between good and bad content will be greater than ever. While there are still mobile guidelines that content creators should keep in mind, it is now much easier for iOS users to engage with content. People can feel comfortable that users on iOS devices aren’t struggling to see their content or read more than a few sentences.
Now the flagship devices for both iOS and Android are big. App creators should use that to their advantage.