Early in the revelations about the new iPhone 5, Apple’s Phil Schiller took a swipe at rival Samsung, though he never mentioned them by name, of course. The dig came when Schiller began talking about the new dimensions of the iPhone 5. It’s longer, and thinner, but not wider. Amid the barrage of numbers it’s easy to lose sight of why any particular design decisions are made.
So Schiller helpfully pointed out Apple’s philosophy when it comes to phone design:
“Why did we make it this size?” he said. “It’s because of your hand. It should fit there. That’s how we designed the iPhone 5.”
Here’s the photo of the old and new iPhones side-by-side:
That comment seemed aimed directly at Samsung, and has been on my mind recently. I’m not the world’s biggest gadget fiend. But recently, T-Mobile leant me a Galaxy Samsung S III to try on their 4G network.
Let me say first, it’s a gorgeous device. There are many things I love about the design elements. As a media consumption device, the bigger screen is an advantage, whether I’m streaming a movie or reading a book.
But one drawback, and it’s a big one, is that the Galaxy phone is too wide for my hand. And not just mine. I’ve let other friends with larger hands play with it. And in general, we can’t quite stretch our thumb and fingers all the way around. The top photo is my hand holding the Galaxy.
Trivial deal, you say? Not really. The upshot is that the Galaxy becomes a two-handed device, especially when I’m typing or trying to open something. And that makes it harder to use in those in-between moments, like when I’m standing in a line. I’ve got to put down anything I’m holding to free up both hands.
As such, it’s a deal breaker in terms of switching between Apple and Samsung. Because believe me, just about everything else about the Galaxy S III feels near-perfect.
Still, it’s those little things that Apple manages to understand. They seem to have the edge on everyone else in terms of truly grasping just how technology fits into our everyday lives.