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The truth hurts, Apple fans: You can thank Samsung for your big new iPhone displays

Published Sep 9th, 2014 4:45PM EDT
iPhone 6 Plus Vs. Galaxy Note 4

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Now that Apple has finally taken the wraps off the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple fans are going crazy with anticipation over the largest iPhones ever released, something needs to be said. And that something is, “Thank you, Samsung.”

WHEN WE GOT IT WRONG: Samsung’s Galaxy Note is the most useless phone I’ve used

I imagine saying this may be hard for some Apple fans who seemingly believe that Apple has nothing to learn from other companies and instead comes up with divinely inspired ideas with the help of a magical rainbow unicorn leprechaun hideout located deep within the bowels of Cupertino. But let’s be honest here: If Samsung never decided to release the Galaxy Note, there’s no way that Apple would be releasing an iPhone with a display of 5.5 inches.

Back when the first Galaxy Note dropped back in early 2012, it drew a lot of jeers from Apple fans for being far too big to fit properly in your hand. Indeed, BGR itself declared that the original Note was “the most useless phone” ever in one of its previews. As for Apple, at the time it seemed content to keep churning out phones with displays that maxed out at 4 inches — recall that in early 2013, Tim Cook was still saying that the 4-inch iPhone 5’s display was the “perfect” size and that Apple had managed to “develop a larger screen size without sacrificing one-handed use.”

And let’s not forget this ad that Apple put out for the iPhone 5 that showed off how beautifully the device fit the contours of the human hand:

Well, a lot can change in a year-and-a-half and now Apple has announced not one but two new iPhones with displays larger than the “perfect” size of 4 inches.

The reason isn’t hard to figure out: Contrary to many critics’ snickering, it turned on that Samsung was onto something when it released the first Galaxy Note, whose 5.3-inch display is actually smaller than the one we saw today with the 5.5-inch iPhone. For as much as people may love to have a phone that feels comfortable to hold, it turns out that they love big, beautiful displays even more and it’s taken Apple more than two years to accept this reality.

None of this means Apple is “doomed” or that it’s lost its innovative edge or anything of the sort, of course. It’s just that in this one instance, Samsung got something right and forced Apple to follow along. Admitting this will be hard for some Apple diehards to do, but it will also be the truth.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.