How Apple made the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ready for one-handed use

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2014
Rumors were confirmed on Tuesday when Apple launched the new iPhone lineup, with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus landing squarely in "phablet" territory. But the company included some special user interface tweaks to make the added real estate manageable.




When Apple first moved away from the original 3.5-inch iPhone screen size with the iPhone 5's 4-inch display, the company made sure to keep the device narrow enough to facilitate one-handed use. Now, with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models set to release next week, sheer physics called for compromises, but with a bit of hardware and software modification, Apple was able to keep the larger iPhones fairly user friendly.

The most obvious tweak is a relocated sleep/wake button, which has moved from the top right of the device to the right-hand edge. By shifting the button further down the phone's body and closer to the user's thumb, it can be reached without forcing a change in grip.




As presented onstage by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also have special gesture support in iOS 8 called Reachability. Adding to the "swipe-left, swipe-right" gestures already available in iOS 7, Reachability's trick is a double-tap on the Touch ID-equipped home button, which drops the user interface down closer to the thumb.

As seen in AppleInsider's exclusive first look at the new iPhones, tapping -- not pressing -- twice on Touch ID pulls the active display area closer to a user's hand, allowing them to reach the top of webpage panes, icons and other graphical assets.

Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensing technology incorporates a high-density pixel-based sensor, meaning it can be used for more than just reading biometrics. Movement, presses and taps can all be recognized by the home button, as is the case with Reachability.



Reachability is built into iOS 8, meaning the feature works with third-party apps just as well as it does Apple's own software.

In the same vein of adjusting for size, Apple has also included what it calls a "desktop scaler" to correctly render webpages and other on-screen content without requiring intervention from developers. Schiller showed off the handset's scaling capabilities by displaying an unoptimized The Wall Street Journal's webpage on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, which sized up well on each device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    Where are all the complaints and people telling everyone how they know better than Apple and how because they don't like something or it doesn't work for them then Apple should not do it?
  • Reply 2 of 49
    OHHH.. That makes sense.. I was worried we'd lost the double click of the multitasking windows... so DONT press the button, just lightly tap it and touch ID senses it... sweet..
  • Reply 3 of 49
    ...
  • Reply 4 of 49
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post



    Where are all the complaints and people telling everyone how they know better than Apple and how because they don't like something or it doesn't work for them then Apple should not do it?

    They are on a lunch brake.. paid trolling is tiring work man..

  • Reply 5 of 49

    Thats not one handed use. Its stupid. I wish that they'd just maintained a 4 inch iPhone 6. Wouldn't have been tat hard and would have pleased a lot of people. 

     

    Nothing wrong with introducing a 4.7 and 5.5 iPhone, some people don't care about one handed use. However, there are still many who do. 

  • Reply 6 of 49
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,800member

    One handed use was never that important for me. Whenever I watch videos or spend more than a few seconds to check weather, a score, or similar I always hold my 55 in landscape. Many apps now are landscape mode only and won't even work in portrait mode at all. This is especially true of games. I couldn't care less about one handed use. I am just so happy to finally have the iPhone I have been waiting for. 64GB iPhone 6 plus for me. 

  • Reply 7 of 49
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    I could have done without the Reachability feature...but to have it is a great convenience.

    Well done Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,488moderator
    oldmacs wrote: »
    Thats not one handed use. Its stupid. I wish that they'd just maintained a 4 inch iPhone 6. Wouldn't have been tat hard and would have pleased a lot of people. 

    My guess is that next year, when the 5S is two years old and therefore in need of refreshing as the 4" representative in the line up, they will refresh it and maybe give it the same body design as these larger ones. You heard it here first; nobody will beat me to that prediction.
  • Reply 9 of 49

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post





    My guess is that next year, when the 5S is two years old and therefore in need of refreshing as the 4" representative in the line up, they will refresh it and maybe give it the same body design as these larger ones. You heard it here first; nobody will beat me to that prediction.

    I truly hope so... I was really just hoping for a spec bumped 5S this time around. 

  • Reply 10 of 49
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post



    My guess is that next year, when the 5S is two years old and therefore in need of refreshing as the 4" representative in the line up, they will refresh it and maybe give it the same body design as these larger ones. You heard it here first; nobody will beat me to that prediction.

     

    I got you beat by a few days.  :p

     

    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/182024/alleged-iphone-6-nfc-chip-and-working-hardware-shown-in-latest-leaks/40#post_2586837

     

     

  • Reply 11 of 49
    As an iPhone user right from its introduction, this iPhone launch has been the lamest ever. The 4.7 inch is a perfect size but it only has a 326ppi display and I can tell the difference between a 326ppi display and a 400 ppi display, blame my other phone the Nexus 5 and the 5.5 inch model is a little too big. I think I will have to switch to Moto X or the latest Nexus. Disappointed really.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member

    Why h  hasn't Apple improved the facetime camera for selfies especially without that new screen?

    It's basically the same as the 5C's.

  • Reply 13 of 49
    pazuzu wrote: »
    Why h  hasn't Apple improved the facetime camera for selfies especially without that new screen?
    It's basically the same as the 5C's.

    Do you get paid double for telling the same lies in two different threads?
  • Reply 14 of 49
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,044member
    oldmacs wrote: »
    Thats not one handed use. Its stupid. I wish that they'd just maintained a 4 inch iPhone 6. Wouldn't have been tat hard and would have pleased a lot of people. 

    Nothing wrong with introducing a 4.7 and 5.5 iPhone, some people don't care about one handed use. However, there are still many who do. 
    1 person want 4"
  • Reply 15 of 49
    enzosenzos Posts: 344member
    I reckon they should bring back the original screen-size as an option, on a really compact iPhone. I'd be in!
  • Reply 16 of 49
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,044member
    droidftw wrote: »
    And you both are wrong. They will phase out 5S completely to bring in NFC version for mobile payments.
  • Reply 17 of 49

    I guess I'll stick to my 4s.

    Didin't see anything to make me get any newer version

  • Reply 18 of 49
    Quote:


     Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post



    Where are all the complaints and people telling everyone how they know better than Apple and how because they don't like something or it doesn't work for them then Apple should not do it?


    They spent a LOT of time and energy posting on the New York Times website!  One heroic guy who sees no use for cell phones and doesn't have one...is posting about the newest edition.  Go figure!

  • Reply 19 of 49
    My guess is that next year, when the 5S is two years old and therefore in need of refreshing as the 4" representative in the line up, they will refresh it and maybe give it the same body design as these larger ones. You heard it here first; nobody will beat me to that prediction.

    Over the next year Apple will likely keep a close watch on what sizes sell where and in what volumes and offer whatever what even the market demands. If you see a 4" phone a year from now, you were right. .. and then it will certainly sport NFC as well.
  • Reply 20 of 49

    For some reason Reachability sounds dirty.

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