¶ iPhone 6

I'm not the kind of guy who buys a new iPhone every year. In fact, I buy every other year, on contract, and I am on the non-S cycle. To date, I have owned the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and as of last week the iPhone 6. I really like being on this upgrade cycle as my new phone is always a fresh design, whereas the S-series is always based on the previous year's design.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know the headline feature of this year's iPhone release is that the screens (yes, plural) are bigger. Bigger than bigger, as Apple's marketing team would tell you. There's the iPhone 6 at 4.7-inches and the iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5-inches. Just looking at those numbers in print sounds so much bigger than the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5 (and 5c/5s).

I bought the iPhone 6, as I like my phones to be comfortably pocketable in my front right pocket. I was actually worried about that a bit this year, but I am happy to report the iPhone 6 fits perfectly for me. I haven't yet seen an iPhone 6 Plus in person, but the pictures make it look ridiculously huge. I know that big of a phone is just not for me.

Besides pocketability, I was concerned that the new 4.7-inch screen would be difficult to use, that it would be too large. Thankfully, it isn't. I have very average sized hands, almost small considering my height of 6'4", and I have no problem using the new display. I do notice I am deftly shifting how I hold the phone when I need to reach toward the top, as if I'd been doing this forever. My point is that the adjustment period was probably hours, whereas I was expecting weeks.

As a quick aside, I realized the other day that most of my iPhones have heralded a significant change in the screen. I started with the iPhone 3G, which is my baseline as it had the same screen as the original iPhone. The iPhone 4 kept the same screen size but brought the Retina display. The iPhone 5 had a taller Retina display. And now the iPhone 6 has an even bigger Retina HD screen.

Setting aside the thing I had been a bit worried about with the iPhone 6, I want to talk about the things I am ecstatic about. I love the look of the screen in so many ways. It's awesome to have more content on the display. Photos and videos look better than ever and the colors pop so much more. Typing with my thumbs is actually easier with the extra room for them to breathe. And the curved edges of the glass not only give the device a great feel as it seamlessly meets the aluminum casing, but they make using the edge swipe gestures in iOS feel even more natural. The screen is a grand slam. I love everything about it.

The aluminum casing feels a lot better with the curved edges, and reminds me of the graceful look of the original iPhone. While I truly loved the squared off edges of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 I've previously owned, I have to say these curves feel much better in hand, and also make sliding in and out of my pocket easier. One thing I will actually miss about the flat edges of previous devices is being able to lay the phone on its side for taking level photos or videos.

By far my favorite thing about any new iPhone model is the improved camera. I love taking photos, and the camera I use most is my iPhone since it is always with me. I have two gripes about the camera before I delve into blubbering praise.

  1. I am not a fan of the camera sticking out a bit. It looks odd, I'm afraid I will catch it on something, and the iPhone 6 cannot lay flat because of it.
  2. The iPhone 6 doesn't have optical image stabilization like the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus.

Beyond those two things, this camera is flipping awesome. I've captured crystal clear and well-exposed photos in a dark room, outdoors, at night with street lights as the light source, and indoors with high contrast beams of sunlight streaming in. It also does great at action shots, like my kid going down a slide. My iPhone 5 never handled those well. Also, I am quickly becoming a huge fan of slo-mo video, and I have some ideas for a few good time-lapse videos.

A feature that is new to me is Touch ID. Man, is that slick. I love unlocking my phone with Touch ID, and with iOS 8, unlocking apps like 1Password and Day One with it. I'm really looking forward to using Touch ID with Apple Pay soon.

Long story short, I was definitely apprehensive about the larger size of the iPhone 6 compared to my old iPhone 5. I shouldn't have worried. This phone is great. After all, I was apprehensive two years ago about the extra half-inch the iPhone 5 was adding and that ended up being great, too. I will say I don't really want my next iPhone in about two years to be any bigger. This feels like a good threshold. In fact, I think in the future, Apple could keep the screen size at 4.7-inches and slim the width of the device slightly by shaving off a bit of the side bezels. And I would definitely like to see the top and bottom bezels shrink a bit.

At the end of the day, this is by far my favorite iPhone yet. It's darn near perfect, and like every iPhone I've owned before it, I look forward to all the memories it will help me to capture.