Apple has scheduled a press conference for March 21st. Set to be hosted in Apple's Town Hall auditorium, which is located on Apple's campus in Cupertino, California. There is a rumored big announcement of a new iPhone to come, but perhaps not the next natural generational step that everyone would assume. This time it looks like there is a small twist in store.
Apple holding a press conference usually proves to be a pretty big deal. Each presentation always causes the tech world to wait with baited breath either behind keyboards at home or, for the select Silicon Valley guests, on comfy chairs at Apple headquarters in California. However, this conference might prove to cause more of a subdued reaction than usual. It is rumored that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 SE - a smaller 4 inch re-working of the popular iPhone 5 model. With a sudden potential downward switch in size on the horizon it's time to explore the age old question; does size really matter?
It's common knowledge that the first few mobile phones were huge. So huge that one of the first models, the 8000X (which weighed 28 ounces and was 13 inches long) even became affectionately nicknamed "The Brick" by its own development team. Clearly, even for very busy and important city stock brokers this was too big. Something had to change. The change happened and phones eventually got smaller, as outlined in our blog here about the evolution of mobile phones. The continued shrinkage was eventually put to a halt with a press conference by Steve Jobs in January 2007 at the Macworld Expo.
The first iPhone released measured 4.5 inches in height and proved to become immensely popular, immensely quickly. Not too small to squint at and not too big to use with two hands, it seemed to be the ideal size for the market. Shorter gimmicky flip phones quickly disappeared from shelves and anything resembling The Brick of old was cast aside as distinctly vintage.
However, things never settle for long in the smartphones arms-race and the iPhone slowly crept up in size. With the iPhone's 3rd, 4th and 5th models each steadily increasing the height a few fractions of an inch across each release, it seemed Apple was slowly numbing its consumers into accepting bigger and bigger phones. Which was exactly what the current flagship model, the iPhone 6, proved to be. A very big phone.
With a full inch in height on the original iPhone it seemed the iPhone 6 was at the very limit of single hand holding capacity. With various users crying out that the phone was in fact too big to actually use with one hand, maybe it was inevitable that Apple would eventually decide to scale back. After all, Apple have always been known to give their consumers a wide range of sizes to play with across each device. For the classic iPod there came a smaller iPod Shuffle and a bigger iPod Touch. For the original i-Pad there came a smaller iPad Mini and a bigger iPad Pro.
So just when are we going to make up our minds? With each iPhone released somehow even more popular than the last, it seems size isn't the be all deciding factor just yet. Perhaps the sales of the (rumored) smaller iPhone 5 will indicate if the market is ready to accept going "back to basics" and being comfortable using only one hand again. With almost every size now covered by Apple across the long line of iPad, Mac and iPhone products you really do have to consider if size truly matters to you.
Written by Conor Walsh