I woke up this morning, turned my head to the nightstand and was greeted by an enormous rectangle of glass, metal and plastic. What the…

“Oh, hello there. You’re still here? Right. Well, let’s talk about our new life together.”

First, there’s so much new to get used to. No doubt, the size difference is the first thing many iPhone fans feel when they first lay hands on one. I bought a 6 and couldn’t imagine how one is supposed to carry a 6+. Perhaps with a shoulder strap like a rifle?

Of course, we also got iOS 8 this week too. Throwing that into the mix makes the whole “new phone” experience especially shiny and exciting. On the face of things, iOS 8 isn’t the same delta as iOS 7 was to its predecessor. The stripped-down Helvetica-infused look and feel remains essentially unchanged. It’s what lies beneath that is particularly intriguing.

Having 1Password access right in Safari? “Huge” is an insufficient term to describe this change. I might even be able to get my wife to use it as the fiddly-factor for password security has been significantly reduced.

Extensions in the notifications pull-down could quickly turn your phone into a loony playground of misfit apps. But there are few essential apps that just fit so perfectly here. I’m a big OmniFocus fan and having the day’s tasks here feels like a jet-pack ride to the future.

Features like custom keyboards feel a long way off for me. There’s still so much to process and internalize. I feel like I have to work my way up to that. At the moment I can’t even imagine what I would need them for. There’s little doubt that, in a year’s time, I’d tell you that they’ve become an essential part of my iOS existence.

On the hardware side, the new camera has me drooling. Opening up APIs for further control is continuing the rapid evolution of iPhone cameras from cute toys to something you can do real work with.

I’m especially keen to play with slow-motion video. I’ve become obsessed with refining my guitar-playing mechanics these days and there are times I simply cannot figure out how I’m actually playing something. No matter how slowly I play it, my brain can’t simultaneously execute and analyze the motion.

Capturing it with the new camera at mind-boggling 240 frames per second suddenly gives me a previously-unimaginable tool to evaluate my own performance. Think of what this could do for athletics. If I owned a golf-swing analysis company, I wouldn’t get too comfortable with my existing video-capture gear.

The size is, of course, massive. It’s hard to believe they make a bigger one. The initial experience feels to me like buying a new SUV. It feels garish and obnoxious, like a Prius owner suddenly trading in for Ford Expedition. Once we all get over our latent cultural hang-ups the older, smaller form-factors will likely feel funny to us.

At the small scale of mobile technology, the form-factor and size have been akin to a red-state/blue-state dichotomy. Apple people simply didn’t “do big”. But here we are. I’m sure the Android folks are laughing and I don’t particularly care. Why anyone gives a damn what hardware I put in my pocket is still a mystery to me. The feeling certainly isn’t reciprocal.

Yes, at the moment, answering the phone feels like holding an iPad up to my face. What used to be the prototypical Apple “fan-boy” gesture of derision is now the new reality. Like all things tribal, especially in technology, the allegiance to screen size is as silly as it is meaningless.

Has Apple taken cues from its competition in the marketplace? Unquestionably. Why wouldn’t they? Isn’t the goal to create the most delightful experience possible? If so, why not incorporate the best ideas out there? Regardless of platform allegiance, isn’t that what we all want?

Now if you will excuse me, I have to check the size of my pants pockets and shoot some slow-motion video of me playing guitar.

Posted
AuthorAlex Vollmer