I waited until today to brave the Apple Store crowds (they’re manageable now if you’re not buying — except for how all batteries are running low by mid-afternoon), and it all went pretty much as I expected:
The back of the device doesn’t look nearly as bad in person, just like most iPhone designs of the last four years, at least in space gray (I don’t remember seeing any other color on the tables, but I didn’t look for them either). It’s still inelegant; you can just easily decide to ignore it.
Both iPhones look and feel smaller than they really are, because Jony Ive has really become a master at that game.
The 6 Plus is a lovely device, and I wish it was right for me, but the main reason I want a bigger iPhone is for a better typing experience: I touch-type with two thumbs in portrait orientation (with both autocorrect and predictive suggestions off, basically because I’m a control freak), and the 6 Plus is too tall and heavy for that — in that setup, you can definitely feel that the center of gravity is pulling the phone away from your hands, which is… dangerous. The 4.7-inch iPhone, on the other hand, is pretty much the goldilocks size for that usage: typing was noticeably easier than on my iPhone 5s, and the weight distribution was fine in my hands.
If the next-generation 5.5-incher became more bottom-heavy, I’d probably upgrade. (As a bonus, I’ll have been spared the first-generation woes of stuttering animations, loud vibrator, etc.) It’s pretty unlikely, though, because that would make it awkward to hold in landscape orientation, and the iPad-like landscape mode is one of the 6 Plus’s best features: I quickly checked it out in Mail, and the screen’s big enough that it felt completely usable that way. (I should have experimented more with typing on the 6 Plus with the landscape orientation, but… I just like portrait better. And there will always be portrait-only apps. Cough, Grindr, cough.)
I wish I weren’t missing on optical stabilization (which is reportedly worth about two additional f-stops), but it’s not enough to make me deal with the size and heft of the 6 Plus. For me, it’s a breakthrough-internet-device first and camera second. But, with only a 0.2 mm difference in thickness between the two models, I’d really like to know why the hell optical stabilization isn’t available on both. I hope Apple is not arbitrarily restricting features to make you spring for the bigger phone, because that would be quite wrong-headed — the price range should be designed in such a way that they don’t care which iPhone 6 you pick.
For the first time since the original iPhone, the flagship phone feels awesome in hand. So, for the first time in four years, I’ll go without a case — at least until my first AppleCare+ incident.
The 3.5- or 4-inch keyboard has felt cramped since the very beginning, but oh my god I loathe using it now.