Is the iPhone 6 Plus Too Big?

Hp35 ad

Any time a headline asks a question that way, the answer is no. 🙂

5.5” phones are not too large for human hands or pockets, and they only seem that way because so many people have become used to smaller phones. Ignore the stupid headlines that “women should not buy the iPhone 6 plus” and understand that “give it a few minutes, perhaps a couple of days, and you’ll find yourself strangely attracted to its huge-seeming screen.”

The iPhone 6+ is about the same size as the HP35 calculator from 1972: both are exactly 6.22” tall, the Apple device is 3.1” wide compared to the Hewlett Packard’s 3.2”, and the new phone is ¼ of an inch think, versus the calculator’s nearly ¾ of an inch depth. In fact, the slimmer iPhone is just over 5 cubic inches in volume, while the HP35 was 170% larger at just over 14 inches3.

Mechanical calculators were common in the 1960s: huge desk based machines, they weighed kilograms. These were followed by electronic desktop machines, which were about the size of an iPad by 1968, but nearly three inches thick and still over a pound!

The HP35 was hailed as a triumph of miniaturization, offered more than just the basic adding machine functions…and was designed to fit in one of Bill Hewlett’s shirt pockets. That’s why it was called a POCKET calculator. People loved it, and although it cost over $2,200 in today’s dollars, it sold hundreds of thousands of units.

It seemed TINY compared to previous calculators, not too large.

Neither our hands nor our pockets have really changed all that much since 1972. This might be overstating the phablet case, but here’s one view from a guy who’s used the device for a full week: “when Apple irons out some of the software kinks, 5.5 inches might be the future of the iPhone, full stop.”

In fact, I am willing to make a prediction: the word ‘phablet’ is about to go away. People will get used to smartphones being over 5”, and that will be the new normal.

We won’t call them phablets, we will just call them phones.


[Edited to add. I had to post the advertisement above from 1968. Click the picture to enlarge, but notice the selling features: “It’s light and compact. You can tuck it under your arm, carry it from desk to desk, or take it home with you.”

Oh yeah. Nothin’ I love more than carrying my Electronic Calculator home with me. 🙂 ]


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