You might be waiting on a larger iPhone, but why? The larger screen is likely going to attract many users, but will it provide a better experience? At WWDC last week, we go our first look at iOS 8. The changes being made are significant, but depending on how you use your smartphone, it might not be necessary to wait for the bigger iPhone.
One of the more poignant changes to iOS 8 is with Safari, Apple’s proprietary browser. Aside from a new look, the updated browser brings a host of back-end and functionality changes, like any good update should. Some of them, like the ability to take pics of your credit card for entering information, won’t matter much when it comes to screen size. A camera is a camera, after all.
A few other changes to Safari suggest you may want to wait for a larger iPhone, though. You now have the option to request the desktop version of any website, which is great if wherever you’re going isn’t optimized for mobile. Viewing desktop sites on a small screen is usually obnoxious anyway, but doing so on a 4-inch iPhone borders on rage-inducing.
You can also create a separate window for private browsing tabs. That’s the same type of functionality we find on the desktop, where you get an entirely new “section” for private tabs. If you have to migrate between two separate Safari clusters, doing so on a small screen is likely going to give you fits.
We should also point out that the iPhone Safari experience has traditionally been very different from the iPad experience. Changes made to OS X cause Safari to be much more like a mobile site, especially aesthetically. Those changes should carry straight into the actual mobile version of Safari, where the iPad should pick them up straight away. Subtle differences in Safari on the iPhone and iPad now offer up a different experience. If you like the same look and feel across the board, a larger iPhone will likely suit you better, as it will take the changes and implement them straight away (read: it will be more like an iPad).
Though we like the iPhone, and think a larger screen will come in very handy, we should point out one important thing. A larger iPhone and updated Safari make the iPhone more like Android than ever. The changes made to Safari are all very Chrome-like, which is the stock browser for most Android devices — you know, the larger cousin to iPhone.
If you’re a heavy mobile web user, wait for the larger iPhone. The improved Safari experience will make your life a lot smoother, and Apple’s new rollout of WebKit and sharing APIs will make for a better experience overall (and, again, more like Chrome). If you rely on apps to power your day, it might be worth picking up a 4-inch iPhone on discount. While we know how Apple will handle the scaling issue, it may be worth saving a few bucks if you’re “meh” about a larger screen.