We’ve all heard the phrase, “bigger isn’t always better.” After almost a month with this phone, I have to say that I kind of agree. That’s a bit surprising since I have been such a big fan of Plus and Max-sized iPhones. In fact, the larger size was one of the aspects of the new device that I was most looking forward to before I got it.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not suggesting that the size of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a problem or that I think it’s too big. The new phone fits in my hands just fine and actually feels smaller than my iPhone 11 Pro Max because I am no longer using a Smart Battery Case. The small size bump between the 11 Pro Max and 12 Pro Max isn’t an issue for me and likely won’t be for anyone who prefers a larger phone.
However, I do think we have reached the point where the law of diminishing returns is kicking in. There just isn’t much more to be gained through a little extra screen size with iOS’ current design and the iPhone’s hardware footprint. There are some small benefits, such as larger text for those who’s eyesight isn’t perfect, or bigger touch targets for those of us with larger hands. But the big changes that came with the iPhone X bringing a Plus-sized screen to a smaller form factor and then the XS Max, which really expanded the footprint of an iOS service, brought us to a plateau. At this point, a little more space is just that- a little more.
What can change this going forward? One thing would be new features in iOS that would take greater advantage of the extra screen real estate. The two that always come to my mind are Apple Pencil support and split-screen apps. These features would cash in on that extra room in a way that would make it more valuable for some of us. One or both would definitely change the way I use my Max-sized phone.
On the hardware side, my brief time with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 got me thinking about how interesting a foldable iOS device could be. Honestly, a slab form-factor iPhone can’t afford to go much bigger than the current 6.7″. It’s already encroaching on tablet territory as it is. I believe they are going to hold at this size for the time being. A folding screen device seems like the logical next step, as it would unlock even larger screen sizes without sacrificing a pocketable form factor.
It appears that Apple may agree, because there are already rumors of folding iPhones in testing for a 2022 launch. Considering the strides that Samsung is making in foldable screen tech, it makes sense for Apple to seriously consider the joining this new area of the market. It makes even more sense when you consider the fact that Apple has a major advantage on Samsung and all other Android manufacturers. That’s a huge library of universal apps that take full advantage of a tablet’s larger screen. As an iPad user, I get excited thinking about this possibility.
For now, I am very happy with my iPhone 12 Pro Max. It’s not too big for me and a little extra screen size certainly doesn’t hurt in day to day use. However, until there are some changes with either iOS, the iPhone or both, bigger isn’t really better. It’s just bigger.