I've always admired iPhones and iOS from afar. Each iPhone release has increasingly intrigued me, but the pull of other platforms was usually too strong. Most of the time, hardware was a larger factor than software and, though I take better software than hardware, I never fairly evaluated iOS in the past to say it was truly "inferior" to what I was using. Enter the iPhone 6 Plus.
When Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, I instantly knew which of the two devices I would choose if I were to purchase an iPhone at all. Though, the thought of me purchasing an iPhone was a far-fantasy. However, it was becoming increasingly clear to me that me calling myself a "tech enthusiast" and someone interested in mobile technology was somewhat incorrect. Yes, I love technology and I have my preferences, but I've long desired an experience away from the familiar. If I truly was using what I believed was the best, then I should have no fear in the face of using another device. If I happen to like my iPhone better than my BlackBerry, than iOS is a better fit for me. Such was the rationale behind my choice in purchasing an iPhone.
I placed an order for a 64GB iPhone 6 Plus in Space Gray on Halloween and was given a delivery estimate in December. Clearly, this device was more popular than Apple had expected. I accepted that I had to wait a month and began shopping for cases and screen protectors. The benefit of having a device arrive late is that I had time to prepare. Still, I checked the stock of nearby stores on an almost daily basis, hoping that one would have my device in-stock. This past Tuesday, on a whim, I checked early in the morning (before sunrise) on my train ride into Philadelphia. The store on Walnut Street had the device in-stock. Because the store is in close proximity to my university, I decided to take the chance and seize the opportunity. I got to the store 30 minutes before it opened, grabbed a Starbucks coffee, and waited. There was one man in front of me, waiting to purchase an unlocked iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for his children for their birthdays. It was a Tuesday, but it was also Veterans' Day, and so over the next 30 minutes the line grew considerably. By 10AM, the associates had the doors open and we were allowed in and were queued up to buy our phones. The man ahead of me, unfortunately, could not purchase unlocked iPhone 6s, so he left, disappointed, of course. That left me in-front. Within 30 minutes, an excited Apple Store associate called my name, brought out my device, completed my upgrade, and I walked out of the Apple Store a happy customer with my iPhone 6 Plus in-hand.
After another two hours, I was home. I canceled my Apple Store Online order and called AT&T to resolve an issue that occurred while trying to upgrade at the Apple Store. The process ended up taking about nine hours, but the kind people at AT&T were incredibly helpful in solving an issue that wasn't even a fault of their's to being with. By 10:30 that night, my iPhone was ready to be unboxed and activated.
Taking it out of the box...
I had already played with the device in-store, so I had a good idea of how large the iPhone 6 Plus truly is. I had purchased an Apple Leather case for it and it, too, was large. The box was large. When I took the lid off and took the device out of the box, its size truly hit me; it's a big phone. The iPhone 6 Plus is not the only device on the market with a 5.5" display, but it does have large bezels. The phone is also incredibly thin and light, though heavier than most other iPhone devices. Admittedly, my BlackBerry Z30 is heavier than it, though. It's a sleek, elegant, and, truly beautiful device. It's also a slippery device (though I haven't yet dropped it yet). I powered on the device and proceeded to setting it up.
The set-up process was simple enough. I already had an Apple ID so that made signing in and syncing accounts a simple task. Before long, I was left to explore the device for myself. What initially struck me was how visually stunning iOS is. It is truly a beautifully designed operating system that puts an immense amount of power into its users' hands in an easy-to-use package. Opening "Settings" showed me how deep iOS really is and the amount of ingrained integration it has with social applications. The entire OS is fast and fluid and, despite having only a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM, it flew through just about anything I put it through. Of course, that night, I spent most of my time talking to my friends, all of whom were excited to finally iMessage me and see their texts appear in blue when they talked to me. I installed a few applications, and despite the fact that not all of them were optimized for the 6 Plus's 1080p screen, they remained usable. The apps that have been optimized look great and work equally as well.
That night, I hadn't even fully grasped what had happened, but I was an iPhone user.
The First Full Day
The first full day with my iPhone turned out to be an abnormally-long day with an exam that night. I decided to forego taking my Z30 with me and carried my iPhone exclusively and also decided not to carry a charger. The train ride that morning saw me use the phone continuously for an hour, talking to friends through iMessage or BBM, and installing some new applications. The great benefit of having a device running iOS is that nearly any application you want or need is available on the platform. The app is also, usually, a well-written program. Of course, Apple's stringent restrictions on what is allowed into the App Store helps to ensure that the quality of apps in the repository is higher relative to those found on competing platforms.
One initial issue I had is that, by default, Twitter was sending me notifications for tweets from certain individuals. These were from people I followed, but didn't have on a "watch list" of sorts. It turns out that Twitter pre-selected 72 people that it added to a watch list for me and was sending me push notifications for each tweet. The reason it took so long for me to find the setting that toggles this particular notification is that it wasn't in iOS's universal settings menu; it was inside Twitter. Locating where particular settings are located is something which I will need to become accustomed to over time and it's something I expected to struggle with from the onset.
As it was my first full day with the device, I used it more than I would normally use any device on a given day. As such, I expected battery life to be subpar and an inaccurate representation of what I'd experience on a day with more normal usage. Even on Day 1, the iPhone 6 Plus's 2910mAh battery lasted me a solid 15 hours. I plugged in that evening at about 5% battery left.
Thoughts After the First Day (and then some)
When using my friends' iPhones, I thought iOS was boring and unappealing. However, the experience is different when the device is your own. iOS was described to me as the "Swiss Army Knife" of all mobile operating systems, and it's true. iOS has apps from the other three major software developers; Microsoft, Google, and BlackBerry. In fact, iOS is the only operating system in mobile that has the backing of all four major mobile players. That alone adds to its strength and presence in the mobile space.
My experience so far on iOS has been a joy and the big screen and battery on the iPhone 6 Plus adds to the experience. As I had mentioned earlier, I always had an interest in trying iOS, and I had my reservations on choosing the larger of the two flagship iOS devices. But now, I feel confident that I made the correct choice, both in choosing to give iOS a try and to try it on a large device. I used to wonder why people purchased iOS devices. But I see now that iOS offers a lot of power and versatility bundled into a very simple, elegant package that just works. Are there some things I miss about my BlackBerry? Yes. Are there things I prefer on BlackBerry 10 to iOS? Yes. But, as a whole, I am thoroughly enjoying my experience on the platform and look forward to exploring it more.
I look forward to writing more about my experiences on the platform and a full review soon enough.