back to article How do you like them Apples? Farewell sensible sized phones, forever

Some ominous news if you like your phones small and unobtrusive. Apple’s “Plus” model has outsold its regular iPhone sibling for the first time. Canalys estimates Apple shipped 5.4 million iPhone 8 units in Q3, but 6.3 million units of the larger iPhone 8 Plus. “This makes the iPhone 8 Plus the first iPhone Plus model to out- …

  1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I like

    My iPhone SE - if I need a larger screen then a tablet or a laptop do me very well.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: I like


      I'd be quite happy with an even smaller phone (maybe a clamshell design) that had iMessage, access to my iContacts for calls etc... BT tether to the iPad (mini) would be nice, as would apple pay..

      I suggest the issue is that everyone wants a different 10% of the features....

      1. nijam

        Re: I like

        > I'd be quite happy with an even smaller phone (maybe a clamshell design)

        So how about someone makes a clamshell case for the SE where the cover opens up to be a magnifying glass. A bit like the line testers shown on WIkipedia's "Loupe" page.

        Oh well, thought not.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I like

          Samsung make a dual screen Android clamshell phone, but only sell it in China and they want a ridiculous amount of money for it - around $1,000.

          I have no idea.

    2. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: I like

      I've an SE too and it does everything I need and fits in my pocket. Also has the added benefit of the smaller screen using less battery making a light user like me able to get 2 days easily and sometimes 4 days out of a single charge.

      The only thing that lets it down are my blunt fingers. I struggle with a small on screen keyboard. So I like the small phone but could do with smaller fingers. A stylus would help but it's just another thing to have to carry.

      The SE was still a bit too expensive for me. I only went Apple to stay away form Google and I'll be buggered if I'm paying £800 for a bigger phone.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I like

        You can get an iPhone 6 for around £600... You just take a small hit in the camera, some of the AR silicon and wireless charging. On the plus side, you get a headphone socket and a less fragile chassis.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Based on what?

      I literally no nobody with or wanting an iPhone 8, and I know for fact there is massive channel stuffing and mothballed production lines at P* F* and G*.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As predicted (again)

    older and ageing users mean that bigger screens will be de rigueur before the decade is out.

    Plus an increasing (and increasingly critical) use of accessibility features.

    My wife is partially sighted, so I can give you the roadmap if you like ... anything which helps her will help older users.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: As predicted (again)

      I feel that pain. I don't have any eyesight health problems but I am 50 so firmly in the clutches of presbyopia and whilst I can browse using my S7 Edge it's generally a painful experience. By the time you've made the font big enough you've seriously compromised the page layout and will be forever scrolling. My other computer is a 17" laptop and I mentioned in another thread that the relative dearth of cheap 17" laptops was concerning me.

      Maybe the day will come when I have to back to having a desktop computer and forgo surfing and chatting while watching TV. Just like the 20th century :-/

      Either that or direct visual cortical stimulation, perish the thought.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: As predicted (again)

        but I am 50 so firmly in the clutches of presbyopia

        Try being extremely myopic (-12.5 in one eye, -10.5 in the other - and with both having quite a lot of astigmatism) *and* over 50.

        Towards the end of the day the glasses go further and further down the nose so that I can actually focus on stuff at less than arms-length.

        Fortunately, the wine makes it more tolerable..(after about 3 glasses, I stop bothering to try to read..)

    2. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: As predicted (again)

      As an "older user" with presbyopia, I am now finding my 6 too small. A phone big enough to see is probably the 8 Plus, but then I can't fit it in my pocket. The X might do, but £1,000 for a phone? I am debating an SE and trying not to use it to look at websites. The keyboard will be too small for older fingers, and speaking softly to Siri does not seem to work too well either.

      Maybe get a better case for my iPad and use that with a VOIP and mobile client? Anybody know anything better than Skype that might do?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: As predicted (again)

        If one phone is too small to use and another is too big for your pocket, it seems that you might benefit from a good tailor!

        Or hope that a flexible roll-up OLED screen is developed soon. :)

        1. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: As predicted (again)

          @Dave 126

          I should have mentioned that where I live, sandals, a polo shirt (without pockets), and shorts are normal attire. Sitting down with a large phone in the pocket of my shorts is not something I want to do.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPad Mini Cellular

    I still find this my go to device for any time I'm travelling. Use a larger iPad 10.5" as a sofa surfer though. Find it odd, the mini isn't more popular. For me, it's the perfect compromise of screen size, camera, battery, and a half decent keyboard, plus the abilty of using desktop webpages. I find any phone below a 5" screen too tedious to use for anything other than a quick reply/call.

    Would be a real shame if Apple does drop the iPad Mini, it's a good all rounder.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: iPad Mini Cellular

      As someone who likes sketching, I'd love a stylus tablet with the iPad Mini's size and screen ratio. It'd just fit in my jacket pocket so.

      Jony Ive's old mate Marc Newson (now an Apple employee) would do a lot of his preliminary sketches in postcard-sized paper notebooks - the size of the iPad Pro is over kill for some use cases (preliminary sketches on small device before CAD refinement on a mouse machine... though I've mates who drive their 3D modelling with a graphics tablet to avoid RSI)

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: iPad Mini Cellular

        @Dave 126

        FWIW, the Bamboo Fineline or Bamboo Sketch from Wacom are fine-point active styli that work with both full-sized and Mini iPads (Wacom claims that the Sketch works on the iPhone, as well, but I haven't tested that, myself.), and, in my experience, do the job nicely at a bit more than half the cost of an Apple Pencil.

        That said, though, I have it on good authority -- commentards on this very site, no less! -- who ASSURE me that iPads are just media consumption toys that have absolutely NO professional-quality software, so your friends must just be having you on about using their tablets for work! </sarcasm>

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iPad Mini Cellular

      I don't have a phone but I do depend on my 10.6" Fusion5 tablet for exactly the same reasons. Usually use it in portrait mode but for the odd site (looking at you NextPlatform) landscape is perfect. Technically, if I've a useful WiFi nearby, I could conceivably make a phone call, although why would I?

      I've recommended Apple to more than a few people who were best suited to their ecosystem. Despite a significant amount of money spend on Android apps, I can actually see buying an iPad Mini myself. Take a long while to save up the cash though.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: iPad Mini Cellular


        Just to clarify, my mates use a Wacom graphics tablet with a Mac Pro. Most of their business is video, with some 3D stuff composited into it.

  4. Marcus Aurelius

    Dom Joly - the thinking mans futurist

    Hello? HELLO!!

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Dom Joly - the thinking mans futurist

      Naah, it's rubbish!

  5. RyokuMas Silver badge

    I miss my Nokia 1100 - fitted snugly in my pocket next to my wallet.

    Recently, my phone took a swandive, forcing an "upgrade" to an iPhone 6. Sitting down has become an exercise in caution.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Absolutely - I have an active job so went for an Xperia Z3 Compact a few years back. That said, I've found my Nexus 5 to be not too big in my trouser pocket.

      I don't wear skinny jeans.

  6. Jered

    Alternate analysis - iPhone X

    Here's a different view - those of us who would have bought the 8 (non-plussed) waited instead for the X, which is the same physical size with a larger screen. Analysts get so overheated with their desired narrative they abandon common sense....

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    The 4-inch SE is the smallest popular phone on the market

    Or the most popular small phone on the market?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The 4-inch SE is the smallest popular phone on the market

      The People's Popular Front of Judea, or the Judean People's Popular Front?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Future Is Trigger Happy TV

    "HELLO!!!!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME??? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??", clutching a TV sized mobile with shopping trolley sized case in tow.

  9. MrKrotos

    Non smart phone

    Can anyone recommend a non smart phone? It does need contact and calendar sync to Outlook though.

    I have spent a good few lunch breaks browsing but nothing decent found so far.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non smart phone

      You'd have to go a long way back to find a non-smart-non-data-vacuum phone. The Nokia 9210i maybe? ebay:

      You'd have to run XP for the Nokia software and an old Office, up to 2003 perhaps, again, available on ebay.

      Trouble is it's all old tat now, it'll die a death relatively fast.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non smart phone

      How about a roll your own PiPhone?

      You'd have to program something to sync your Contacts.

    3. jtaylor

      Re: Non smart phone

      Local mobile phone store has a few phones for Old People. Tactile buttons, not very complicated, displays that can be set to LARGE FONT. When the salesperson tries to sell me the latest bling, I ask to see what they have for OAPs.

      I just don't know what the sync options are.

    4. nijam

      Re: Non smart phone

      > It does need contact and calendar sync to Outlook though.

      Well, that certainly wouldn't be considered smart.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When are they finally going to release a proper Dual Sim phone?

    Sammie have been doing this for years now and if Apple did it they could well pick up sales in markets where dual sim usage is common (China, India and many parts of Africa spring to kind).

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: When are they finally going to release a proper Dual Sim phone?

      Never gonna happen. Apple wants to get rid of SIMs entirely, not add a second one. Reportedly they started working with Samsung a couple years ago to design a standard for software SIMs, but as always I'm sure the telcos are roadblocking it at every turn, because it would cut into their profits for inflated roaming charges if it was easier for people to switch to a local carrier when they traveled.

      This might be one even the combined might of Apple and Samsung can't overcome, with probably all the world's operators lined up against them, along with Gemalto.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When are they finally going to release a proper Dual Sim phone?

        Well in that case the obvious thing to do is release the Dual Sim phone as a Soft Sim only, that way no resistance from the Carriers as they won't market it and Apple can keep all that extra bunga for themselves, because they certainly need it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All my fanboi mates kept telling me that big screens were ugly and stupid and no-one wanted them. Until Apple invented them obviously.

    1. nijam

      Re: B-b-b-b-but

      > "invented them obviously."

      Inventing things obviously? Presumably means copying a competitor's design ...

  12. Stuart Cross

    Samsung A3 2017

    The screen on my Sony Z3 Compact is dying. Trying to find a mid-price, non-Sony, waterproof compact online was unsuccessful (those rubbish trusted reviews/techadvisor/cnet etc websites focus on "best" i.e. most expensive) but a wander round the shops led me to the 2017 Samsung A3. Fast enough for a non-game player like me, IP68, only <1cm taller than the Z3C, has a compass for outdoor use, camera also good enough for me, £150 refurbished from giffgaff. Just right.

  13. Mr F&*king Grumpy

    SE is more than large enough

    The iPhone 4 was the peak for me. If the SE size gets dropped, then I'll be an ex-iPhone customer.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: SE is more than large enough

      I very much doubt it will be dropped, they've pointed to it as part of the reason they've been doing better in India. Unlike China where everyone likes giant phones (even the plus is a bit small in that market where phones are up to 7") India prefers smaller ones. The fact it is also a lot cheaper sure doesn't hurt either.

      Dunno if it will get yearly updates, might be more of a two year cycle, but I'll bet it continues. Reportedly they are working with someone on all-screen LCDs (i.e. not edge lit) which I'd have to assume is for the SE, since going back to LCD after going OLED seems unlikely. So maybe in a few years there will be an SE sized phone with a 5" screen.

  14. 2Nick3

    Bonus to the bigger screen - more battery!

    The iPhone 8+ has 50% more battery life on screen-off use than the 8, and ~10% better with screen-on use. Since it is a phone having longer standby and talk times are valuable to a lot of users.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Bonus to the bigger screen - more battery!

      But doesn't a larger screen require more power?

      Personally I'd be happy with a phone that was another 5mm thicker if it was all stuffed with battery.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Bonus to the bigger screen - more battery!

        2Nick was quite specific about use cases where the screen is off - I.e standby and during phone calls (where the proximity sensor turns the screen off. The bigger screen of the 8 Plus necessitates a bigger battery for screen-on use cases. So if you don't use the screen much, the bigger battery will equate to longer standby and call time.

  15. borkbork

    Screen size was the compromise for me

    My ideal phone would be no larger than my old Nexus 5, but when I decided to replace it I couldn't find an upgrade that ticked all the boxes I wanted for screen resolution, updates, memory, processor, memory, LTE bands etc (price rules out the new pixels) . The only compromise I could make was to move to a bigger phone (Nexus 5x). Now I'm shopping for a 5x replacement and I find I have to move to a bigger and heavier phone again just to get a decent upgrade.

    Maybe big phones are selling well because there just aren't any options available for people like me?

  16. ThatOne Silver badge

    Maybe the solution to the problem of looking ridiculous holding a tray-sized plank to your ear is to add an earpiece (with spiral cable) to the phone?

    (I do like big phones. Or rather, my aging eyes and fat fingers like them, and I guess more and more people will be forced to use them: "Big screen is certain, the hour is uncertain".)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Sony make a small device the size of a pack of chewing gum. It is a Bluetooth transmitter receiver that can be clipped to a shirt - it has a 3.5 mm socket. It can also be popped in the ear like a traditional BT earpiece. It has a built in FM radio and media player, physical call / media controls and a monochrome display.

      It would seem to be a good companion to an overly big phone.

  17. PeterM42
    Thumb Up

    What about......

    ...the 2.45inch Unihertz Jelly PRO Dual-SIM 4G smartphone?

    2Gb RAM 16Gb Storage

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019