To the 6 Plus and Back Again…

By now you’ve all read the countless reviews of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Hell, you have probably even read reviews from people “one month in” to using their 6 Pluses. I know I have. I was lucky enough to snag a 6 Plus online on launch day and eagerly awaited everything about it. Yes, I was one of “those folks” that cut out the template of the form factor of the 6 Plus, taping it to a stack of index cards, carrying it in my front pocket for a week just to steel the confidence behind my purchase.

But there was no denying that, when it showed up at my front door, I laughed nervously thinking “Holy crap! This thing is HUGE!”. Not just bigger, or slightly over-sized – it was simply larger than I imagined – and that genuinely surprised me.

Like anything though, I thought I’d get used to it.

It fit in to all of my pants and jeans pockets relatively easily. Yes, it jabbed my hip when I sat down, but not in a remotely uncomfortable way and aside from that seemingly small quibble, there was a lot to like! I thoroughly enjoyed the larger screen! Reading/consuming on the 6 Plus was (and still is) one of the best iOS experiences I’ve had to date. In fact, the size got me using my iPad so infrequently (writing on the Plus was a joy by the way) that I almost considered it a more than capable replacement. I also really dug the creative use of the extra screen real estate in some apps when the 6 Plus was in landscape mode. Add in the battery life and the speed, and I actually can’t stress enough just how much of a joy it was to use this beautiful hardware.

Still, even with all of that, there was always something nagging at me.

Something about my new phone didn’t feel quite right. In hindsight, it was painfully obvious, but at the time I just plugged along and made do. Eventually though, the reason snuck up on me when I held a close friend’s iPhone 6 at a party: the 4.7 inch 6 just felt good in my hand. Not huge, not too small – not anything – it just felt right. Once he let me slip it into my pocket, that sealed the deal. It was official: I had bought the wrong phone for me.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I went hiking in Virginia with my wife. It was a beautiful Autumn day and I wanted to capture as much of it as I could. As I hiked along snapping pictures and the occasional slow-mo video of leaves falling to the ground, it finally hit me as to why I disliked my phone.

I was constantly aware of it.

All of the phones I’ve owned in the past slipped into my pocket, going completely unnoticed, until I either needed it for something or I had a call/text come in. Never before had I owned a phone that, through its sheer physical size, made me constantly aware that it was on my person. It was why I took it out in the car and put it in a cup holder while driving. Or why I would leave it on the dinner table when I was out to eat or sharing a meal with someone. Or why I’d leave it on the desk while I worked. Simply taking it out of my pocket wasn’t a solution either, because once on the table it is constantly within eye-shot; consciously or sub-consciously begging for your attention.

Therein lied the problem.

Sometimes I like, no… I need technology to disappear. The 6 Plus, for me anyways, couldn’t do that. For all of its virtues and its undeniable strengths, the Plus is just too big for me to incorporate into my day-to-day life.

Eventually I made it into the Apple store here in Durham where they took pity on me, allowing me to exchange my phone for the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 well outside of the 14 day return policy window. I slid it into my pocket and I’ve never looked back.

Where I really liked many aspects of the 6 Plus vert much, I love just about everything on this iPhone 6. Sure I miss the unique landscape layouts of some apps, the undeniable all-day battery life, and typing on the 6 is noticeably more cramped than on the plus… but everything else? It’s easily just as beautiful and more of a joy to use.

And, because it disappears into my pocket. I am back in love with having my iPhone with me.

Interesting Ideas: “Automatic – Your Smart Driving Assistant”

Automatic_Link_Car.58e119f5bc61

“Your Car and Smartphone, Connected

Just plug the Automatic Link into your car’s data port. Your car and smart phone
will automatically connect whenever you drive, wirelessly.”

This one has been making the rounds today and for good reason: there are so many awesome ideas at play here! Basically, “Automatic” is a hardware and iOS/Android software solution that connects to your smart phone to your car in a really ingenious way. Once connected, it gives you quite a bit of functionality! The complete list can be found here (just scroll down).

The top ones for me though are easily:

  • The way it connects to your car. It “…plugs into the same port your mechanic uses when you take your car in for service.” and it’s use of the low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 connection to conserve your phone’s battery life is really well thought out.
  • The geolocation of your car is always recorded in real-time. So no need to take a picture of the spot you parked in. The location can also be shared.
  • Accident/crash support. Contacting 911 with your location all the while texting loved ones once help has responded and is on the way, is pretty great.
  • Real-time reporting on engine lights (listing their cause) AND the ability to reset them. To me, this alone is totally worth the price of the service/hardware! $69.95 (!?!)

Check out the video below! It covers everything above and more.

As you can probably tell, I am smitten with this. Just a very, very interesting idea for a service. And it’s the implementation of it, that makes it so intriguing to me.

I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure there isn’t anything like it out there!
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Company:Automatic
All video and pictures were taken from Automatic’s own press material.