Let’s Forget the iPhone 6 Ever Happened
Next week is the rumored Apple event where they’ll be unveiling the new iPhones. It’s been two years since I got the iPhone 6 I’m using now, and I’m waiting for the event to see what I’m going to be replacing it with.
I’ve always had a bit of a wishy-washy stance on phone reviews. While the gadget lover in me loves reading in-depth reviews of the shiny new stuff, something like a phone which we use over a much longer period than the week or two journalists get to review a phone before the embargo is up deserves a much longer review period. You don’t really see reviews of phones that take place over a period of two years because by that time, it’s old and nobody is really buying that model anymore.
So while it feels silly for me to say it now, I figure it’s probably best if I say it anyway: the iPhone 6 was a huge disappointment for me. It’s the iPhone I’ve liked the least of all the iPhones I’ve owned. The screen size is a big turn-off; I was never sold on the big screens idea at launch, and even after two years of ownership, no one has shown me a compelling usage of the extra space the screen gives you. There’s also an issue with regards to how easily the phone gets damaged. I try to take good care of my phones, but sometimes you just mess up and drop it or accidentally throw it across the room (I am very clumsy). Usually though, you can’t tell anything happened to it afterwards, and nothing gets damaged. Well, I haven’t dropped the iPhone 6 or thrown it across the room, and it’s the most damaged of all the iPhones I’ve owned. And then there’s the whole issue with iOS 9, which seems to have been the dud version of iOS whose features were mostly worthless and seemed to severely fuck up day-to-day battery life for a good portion of the iOS users I know. While it’s not tied to the hardware specifically (I’ve known 5s owners with the same trouble), it happened while I owned and used the iPhone 6 so it’s hard to decouple the two in my mind.
In comparison, there were two things about the iPhone 5 I disliked: I got the black model, and they didn’t get the anodization quite right at launch. I had a permanent scratch with shiny aluminum peeking through within minutes of taking it out of the box. That pissed me off to no end until I ended up getting a replacement unit a year later due to a power button failure. The other thing I disliked was the bump in screen size; it annoyed me to have to stretch more to reach the upper left corner of the device, and it bothered me that a company that brags about the integration of its software and hardware couldn’t seem to take any steps towards making the iOS UI more amenable to larger displays.
The iPhone 5 was otherwise probably the best iPhone I’ve used so far, and it’s still getting daily use as I’ve handed it down to my mom when she needed to get a new phone. Time to time I’ll pick up her phone and think about how nice it would be to return to that screen size, and now with the iPhone SE, that’s a possibility.
So yeah, I’m considering getting an iPhone SE. I stuck to the non-S cycle of phones because I wanted the new designs as soon as they were out, and it bugs me that rumors point to the next iPhone not having a major redesign because they’re saving It for the tenth anniversary. If I’m going to go for an old design, I might as well stick with the even older design I prefer. The exchange rate also has gotten considerably worse since the last time I bought an iPhone and I’m not particuarly thrilled about spending over a thousand dollars on a phone that is likely just a small incremental upgrade on what I already have. It bothers me that the SE is clearly the superior form factor to the mainline phones but Apple still sees it as a second-class citizen, even though by all indications, the SE is outselling the Plus three to one. I really wish I could buy an SE with all the bleeding-edge features, but it seems unlikely, and the lack of an established upgrade cycle/release pattern makes me worry about if or when the next SE will come out.
I’m hoping the event next week ends up like I expect it to be, with nothing really mind-blowing being shown, so I can order my iPhone SE and not feel any regret, because seeing this iPhone 6 around just reminds me of everything I hate about it, and I can’t wait to get it out of my sight. Betcha never expected to hear me say that about an Apple product.