This is something I have been thinking about a lot. So last year I got the iPhone 5 and like most people, I loved it. It was fast, looked great, and the slightly larger screen along with the retina display make it awesome to look at. It also feels good to hold, the form factor is perfect for one handed use.
I also had purchased the Samsung Galaxy Note II last year. Now as far as the Android OS goes, I find most varieties of it fairly lacking. I do like Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the optimization that Google did with Android 4.1 via Jelly Bean, as far as a phone operating system, it is OK. I just find iOS on Apple a much richer, smoother and with iCloud, a more cohesive experience. Especially between all my iOS iDevices. Also there are so many flavors and varieties of Android, there is not too much consistency happening. I’ve purchased many different Android and iOS devices in the past year, and when you own both platforms, the differences, strengths and weaknesses, are pretty clear. Owning so many devices, perhaps I have some sort of technology addiction to tablets and phones, but we’ll leave that discussion to another time.
So most important to note, the Google Play app store is fairly behind the iOS App Store. Not in terms of volume, but quality. Many iOS apps are state of the art, with many being best of breed and the top developers in the world publish on it. Using both systems there is just no comparison, Apple’s iOS app store is First Class, and Google Play’s selection is more like flying coach. Again, Google has made great strides in developing the Android OS, but I find the app developer community more of a mixed bag.
So getting back to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, regardless of the Android OS, this unit is a fast device with a large beautiful screen. The quad cord processor and the spacious HD Super AMOLED 1,280 x 720 screen are a real treat. Yes it is clunky and big to put up to your ear (earphones are recommended) but for a large screen unit that is very portable, it’s very, very nice.
The issue arises when people go in to buy a phone, once you display the more compact iPhone 5 next to the bigger (and getting bigger) Android screens, people need to make a choice. The very polished iOS with the high resolution Retina screen or the larger Android units. Apple has definitely designed a nice phone that works great in one hand and with an operating system that can’t be beat. But I wonder how it will fair long term with the larger screens displayed next to it in a phone store.
So I hoped Apple would make a larger iPhone device, something with a 5 or 5.5 screen. Large luxurious screen real estate, something where you would have the compact portability, but also have the OS and apps nice and big. Then the iPad mini came out, which is great on multiple levels. And while it is bigger than a 5 inch unit, it still is svelte and thin enough to be comfortably held and used with one hand. So that has satisfied my need (for now) for an iOS device that was super portable. Still a 5 inch or 5.5 inch iPhone would be nice to have as an option. I do realize that Apple presumably did a lot of studying in the labs, and decided that the 4 inch screen was the best of both worlds, small enough to still be a phone, but larger than previous models.
But I am curious to see if they will fill the gap between the current iPhone 5 and the iPad mini. The iPad mini really can’t get much smaller concerning iPad apps, but a 5 inch device that runs native iOS iPhone apps, either a phone or a sort of new merging of devices, would be interesting to see. Whatever happens, Apple may need to address the growing screen sizes from competitors sooner rather than later. I have seen with my Samsung Galaxy Note II that a larger size phone-tablet can be a great device, as long as it has a great operating system.
Time will tell, and we’ll probably see an iPhone 5S at some point this year, but it would be fun to see a larger iPhone someday.