Confession: I skipped the iPhone 5 and 5s. Instead, I enjoyed one dependable and attractive iPhone 4s for three years.
As you can imagine, I was expecting the iPhone 6 do more than just eliminate the shame of typing in an unlock code like a Neanderthal. I was ready to step into the present—nay, hoverboard-be-damned, the FUTURE!
Unfortunately, the essence of the iPhone 6 is meh. It’s boring. There’s nothing about it that makes you say, “WOW! THAT IS NEW AND AWESOME!” The reason why the iPhone 6 has fallen behind the times matters less than simply admitting that the once cutting-edge iPhone is now just an average smartphone.
Without further ado, here are ten reasons why the iPhone 6 feels dated, right out of the box:
- The ‘Camera Nubbin’ — The iPhone’s giant mole of a camera is an eyesore. At least one article claims that the protruding camera is for lens attachments, but there’s an obvious and more likely reason: Apple wants to sell cases. Credit Suisse estimates that the profit margin on the iPhone 6 is 41.5%, down from 49% for the iPhone 5. How can Apple recoup the difference? Force buyers to purchase cases that have a 95% profit margin.
- Battery life — My iPhone 6’s battery is only marginally better than it was in my three-year-old iPhone 4s (roughly one full day). Worse, after I installed iOS 8.1, my phone went from full charge to dead in 6 hours. A complete restore fix my battery life, but that required 3 tries to get my all apps to download. Seriously, Apple? Note: After I completed a clean install of iOS 8.1, my battery life went back to normal, maybe even better than before. I also disabled unnecessary GPS and ad tracking settings, which helped significantly.
- Clunky interface — It’s 2014. Two clicks for anything is one too many. WebOS had this figured out in 2009. iOS 8 requires two clicks for multitasking and two taps for ‘reachability.’ You might think the difference between one and two clicks is negligible, but the one-click and gesture features of WebOS created a significantly better user experience. Dear Apple, stop stealing my time!
- No customization — Apple likes to keep it simple, but I’d like to have more control over how I interact with my phone. Programmable gestures? Custom LED alerts for notifications? Additional icon layouts? Yes, please. Give me more.
- Design — The iPhone 6 isn’t pretty, especially when compared to the iPhone 4 and 5. The last two generations of iPhone were the Ferrari of cell phones: gorgeous, uncomplicated, and functional. The iPhone 6 has sliced the gorgeous part from the equation. It’s not particularly ugly, but now it’s more like a Ford Taurus: completely uninspiring. And that’s a shame.
- Buggy — App freezes. Update issues. Battery life issues. I still can’t get Photostream to work. I’ve been using iOS since 2008, and iOS 8 has been the buggiest version of Apple’s mobile platform. I’m surprised more people aren’t complaining about it.
- Cable reliance — Inductive charging is a simple convenience, one that genuinely makes life easier, and there’s no good reason that the iPhone 6 doesn’t have it. Also, sometimes I still have to connect my phone to iTunes to install an old app, or some various issue. Undoubtedly, that means updating iTunes. More wasted time. Enough with the cables.
- Too bendable — Bendgate is real. Worse, the iPhone 6 doesn’t feel solid. Before owning my trusty iPhone 4s, I replaced six broken Palm Pre phones in 18 months. That said, the iPhone 6 fared extremely well in drop tests, perhaps in part due to its light weight.
- Siri is a novelty — Siri doesn’t understand the name of the major grocery store chain in my college town (Hy-Vee). It can’t tell me local business hours. As a voice command interface, it’s okay. As the remote robot concierge it could be, Siri is only good for a laugh.
- Screen transitions — Zoom in to maximize. Zoom out to minimize. Whether or not iOS 8’s default transition induces motion sickness, it reminds me of a PowerPoint presentation from the 1990s. Thankfully, the zoom transition can be turned off and replaced with a fade option, but both transitions are too slow— too casual — like a slow walker blocking the sidewalk. Can’t you walk faster? I have things to do. Was the iPhone 6 intended for retirees? Ugh.
Don’t go unloading your Apple stock just yet. Apple is thinking four or five iPhone generations ahead and likely chose not to include many of these features because of an unfortunate thing called ‘planned obsolescence.’ With record sales numbers, Apple is a leader in one regard: maximizing profitability. I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of my user experience.