The Apple fans who had previously defended the 3.5-inch screen – myself included – got the new one, got used to it, and never wanted to go back to the smaller screens. It turned out that while the larger screen did make the phone slightly taller, technological progress also let Apple make the phone thinner and much lighter.
We had resisted the idea of bigger screens not because we hated screen space, but because we thought they’d bring major costs in size and weight. But the iPhone 5 really didn’t.
The “right size” principle was disproven. We were wrong.
This is an interesting bit of revisionist history. The argument that in those earlier days, phones with larger screens had to be thicker, heavier, and have less battery life simply does not add up. The Galaxy SII, for instance, was only 4 grams heavier than the iPhone 5, and was unveiled in the timeframe Arment is referring to (early 2011). Battery life on the SII was about two days of use, which is not very different from an iPhone 4/5 either. It was, however, slightly thicker (8.5mm vs. 7.6mm).
This is just one phone, but it illustrates that while it’s nice that he’s admitting both he and Gruber were wrong about display sizes, it’s a bit embarrassing to see him make claims that are provably false. It was obvious to everyone who wasn’t part of any camp that phones with larger screens were going to be the norm – and aside from the obvious argument that they’re bigger, the arguments about weight, battery life, and thickness were untrue then just as much as they are untrue now.
What I’m most interested in tomorrow – aside from the possible smartwatch, which I’m very excited about – is in what ways Tim Cook is going to spin, twist, turn, and revise history to explain why large screen phones are suddenly okay.
Because those will be the arguments copy/pasted on every technology forum for years and years to come.