Stepping back for a moment, Apple’s WWDC 2014 keynote was pretty bizarre compared to past years. Yes, Apple usually announces a new product or two, but it wasn’t that. Yes, the CEO usually gets more face time on stage, but it wasn’t that either. This year’s keynote was bizarre because of what happened after the show was over: for the most part, no one complained. No well-known pundits repeatedly howled about Apple being “doomed.” No widely read bloggers whined about missing features or wrote open letters telling Apple what it “needs to do.” Developers even seemed to adore the new “Swift” programming language Apple unveiled, which came as something of a surprise to many people.
For the most part, everyone seemed pretty content with the new software Apple showed off on stage this past Monday.
Not so fast — we can always count on Forbes.
Contributor Gordon Kelly seems to believe that when it comes to iOS 8, Apple did a reasonably good job. Using a “mixture of imitation and innovation,” Apple filled in a number of important holes in previous versions of its mobile platform. He also says Apple laid the groundwork for big advancements in the wearables and smart home spaces thanks to HealthKit and HomeKit.
But according to Kelly, there was one “major, potentially disastrous mistake” Apple made in iOS 8 and it will come into play later this year when Apple launches its next-generation iPhones.
Apple is widely expected to debut two new iPhone models in 2014, a completely redesigned iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display and an even larger iPhone phablet with a 5.5-inch display. Despite all of iOS 8’s great new features, Kelly says that the user experience on these new larger iPhones will be awful because Apple hasn’t accommodated their larger displays in iOS 8.
“Everything changes with the iPhone 6,” he wrote. “Not only because Apple is widely known to be increasing the screen size from 4 inches to 4.7 inches (a sizeable jump in its own right), but because the company is keeping the distinctive, large, circular and utterly outdated home button.”
Kelly continued, “Where others have moved on with space saving rectangular buttons or ditched them altogether to enable ultra-thin screen bezels, Apple persists and it means the 4.7in iPhone will be as long as many 5in Android handsets. In fact it may not be much shorter than the 5.5in LG G3. All of which means Apple’s mantra that you can reach the top corners is about to go out the window and the big flaw in the otherwise impressive iOS 8 is that hasn’t been taken into consideration.”
It’s an interesting point, and one that has been argued several times since rumors of upcoming iPhones with larger screens first emerged last year. Has Apple made a “massive mistake” in iOS 8, though? Not quite.
Larger iPhones do not exist right now. They will not exist for at least three more months. Last year when Apple showed off iOS 7 at WWDC 2013, the company failed to reveal a great deal of key functionality that was shown off later when new devices were unveiled.
Apple doesn’t tip its hand.
If Apple leaves much of its navigation intact, as it exists now, it will indeed present usability problems on new devices with larger screens. We simply have no idea whether or not this will be the case though, and it’s obviously far too early to point to this as a “massive mistake” that is “potentially disastrous.”