Balancing the iPhone 6S Plus and iPad Air 2

Share This:

balancing iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6S Plus

I went large this year and bought the iPhone 6S Plus with 128 GB of storage. For the first week I ended up tucking the iPad away in the corner of my desk and doing 100% of my mobile tasks on the iPhone. The landscape column view of the 6S Plus coupled with the larger screen is just enough for me most of the time, even for couch surfing. It’s really empowering to have all of my photos and files so close at hand.

This new iPhone has made me re-evaluate the positioning of the iPad Air 2 in my life. I’ve been leaning hard on the idea of the iPad as a most-of-the-time computer. It’s not enough for everything — it can’t download video files from my camera and it can’t pull of what Final Cut Pro X can do — but it does most of what I need it do in just one pound. But then comes along this little upstart phone that can do most of the iPad’s job…and it fits right into my pocket (well, mostly).

However, over the weeks I’ve been finding the niche spots the iPad still really excels at, despite the presence of the iPhone 6S Plus.


Having an iPad as a recipe book is just unbeatable. It’s way better than a laptop, and it’s way more comfortable to read and manipulate than my iPhone screen. We usually load up recipes in Safari or Evernote and prop the iPad up on the counter with the TwelveSouth Compass.

Surfing on the couch

This one’s pretty obvious, but there is a subtle difference between the iPhone and iPad here. Lazy Sunday afternoons are the perfect time for catching up on my RSS feed, and it’s a lot easier to tilt a 10–inch iPad screen towards my girlfriend than it is a 5.5–inch iPhone screen. I also think there’s something different about holding a phone up to your face versus placing an iPad in your lap; the latter position just feels a little more open and approachable when you’re just hanging out.


I tried writing an article on the 6S Plus, and it was doable but not very comfortable. The iPad’s screen is large enough that I dont’ have to crane my neck down to write comfortably, and that’s a huge difference. Split screen apps like iA Writer also let me insert links from Safari without ever losing my context. iOS 9 had made a big difference to the writing experience on the iPad, and I’m loving it.

Picture triage

It can be difficult to tell if a picture is tack sharp on my camera’s tiny LCD, so the iPad plays a crucial role in helping me cut down on crappy pictures before I start editing them. The iPad is large enough that I can tell, with just a little bit of zooming in, whether or not a picture is really as sharp as I want it. This is another area where a larger screen will always be better than a smaller one, and I’m very happy to have the iPad around for this process. It’s just a shame that it can’t take in XAVC-S video, or I’d preview videos on it as well.

The Home Computer

I was wondering whether having an iPhone 6S Plus would eliminate my need for an iPad altogether. That may have been the case if I’d stuck to an iPad mini (7.9–inch display), but there’s still enough of a difference between the Air 2 and 6S Plus — especially for use at a desk — that they still have niche roles.

But I’m also making it a point to relax more when it comes to the iPad. I love talking about iOS and thinking up new workflows, but I can also get a little too hardcore about taking advantage of every last bit of the device. I want to be OK with not using my iPad for everything and see if I can have more fun with this tablet it in this light.

Share This:

5 thoughts on “Balancing the iPhone 6S Plus and iPad Air 2”

  1. Thank you for writing this article. I was having the same thoughts regarding me iPad mini 2. I don’t know where it fits in my ecosystem anymore.

    1. I think the mini 2 would be turned into a reading / kitchen computer for me. The size diff btw the mini and 6 Plus is small enough that I’d probably stick to an iPhone/Mac combo for most things.

  2. Essentially: me too. :-)

    Well, I have a year’s experience, with the iPhone 6. I have a similar experience under Android as well.

    Yes, it may be the weight of the iPad Air that makes this use more than bearable. I have an iPad 2 and an iPad 4 to keep updated, so I can feel the difference.
    I had never thought that the weight would matter that much.

    There may be this other property that makes tablets stand out. Phones are intended for use in portrait mode, non-tablet computers are designed for use in landscape mode, but it’s so easy and comfortable to use a tablet in either mode.

    This notion may lead to settle the dimensions of the tablet: viewing documents in portrait mode, viewing video in landscape mode. I guess that the optimal screen size should not differ too much from Letter/A4. So 8″ and 12″ may be the limits for a general-purpose tablet.

    I can well imagine graphic artists fancying a larger screen, but they might actually be better off ergonomically by using a desktop computer and their choice of graphic tablet. Or use a standard-sized tablet computer mirrored on a large screen.

Comments are closed.