I confess: I’m a proud owner of an iPhone 4s. Some of you might think now, that I’m old-fashioned or don’t move with the times, especially as the iPhone 4s is not even being sold any more (too "retro" maybe). You should always get the latest iPhone (which currently is the iPhone 6 or 6 plus) – at least when listening to all those Apple followers out there. Yes, Apple has become some kind of religion and also I am a loyal Apple customer as I’m very satisfied with every product I have ever bought from Apple. I’d like to see any other manufacturer do that.
But the vast speed which new iPhones are launched at, sometimes wrinkles my brow. The "bad thing" is that you spend a lot of money for iProducts and two years later you have to pay big bucks again in order to get new iProducts that can match new iOS system requirements. At the end of the day, it is an ongoing spiral upwards, consisting of system requirements, new (useful?) features on new devices and their compatibility with iOS.
Let me give you an example: The latest operating system iOS8 takes up 7 GB of your iPad. Seven gigabyte! The cheapest iPad (which is what most people might have) has a capacity of only 16 GB, what leaves 9 GB for data. Not very much. Hence: In the middle and long run, an update to iOS8 leads to buying a new iPad with higher capacity at a higher cost. (Apple, you are clever at making money!) But iOS8 had many inconvenient bugs in the beginning. Many people were complaining about what a bad operating system iOS8 is and how much it impairs other functions of a device. I was laughing in my sleeve when my partner got iOS8 on his phone and he could hardly use it any more - even simple telephone calls often failed! (By now, there are of course iOS8 updates that clear out most of those early, bad bugs.)
What really aroused my interest in the iPhone 6 Plus though, is the display resolution of 401 ppi (approx. 300 dpi). For comparison: The "ordinary" iPhone 6 as well as the older models still being sold, have a resolution of 326 ppi (approx. 200 dpi). As a designer, I regularly work with data for print and digital purposes. Pictures for print need a resolution of 300 dpi, pictures for digital (Retina display) need a resolution of 200 dpi and pictures for all other digital media (without Retina display) need a resolution of only 72 dpi. You can imagine that picture files for 300 dpi are much bigger than files for 72 dpi. To put it plainly, when looking at a website on the iPhone 6 Plus, the pictures won’t appear crisp because nobody would use 300 dpi pictures on a website as this can drastically increase the website’s loading time. And since the latest Google report came out, we know that the loading speed is a very important figure as regards a website’s ranking on Google (SEO). If you want to optimize your digital products for the iPhone 6 Plus, you have to be prepared for Google punishing you by impairing your website’s ranking. Great.
How does that affect iPhone apps? iPhone apps will end up having longer loading times. An iPhone app with let’s say 30 pictures at 72 dpi is easy to handle; but at 300 dpi, those 30 pictures might be a challenge for unpatient iPhone users. Solution for the designer: Use less photos and more vector graphics (vector graphics don’t have pixels)? Worth a thought. Realistic? Yes and no.
I can imagine Apple taking the display resolution of 401 ppi onto iPads in future. As a designer I am horror-stricken by this thought. We will see how Apple proceeds with this philosophy.
Apple’s touch ID technology. Well, the NSA will be cheered.