Larger screen. Smaller screen. Get them both. Pay the green.

Larger screen. Smaller screen. Get them both. Pay the green.

Summary: Is the new iPhone 5's larger screen worth the money? How about that iPad mini? How many different gadget do you need before you say, "Enough?" One size should surely fit most.

TOPICS: Apple, Android, iPhone, iPad
Sorry, iThing 1, your screen is too Small/Large.

As you might have realized by now, my love for all things Apple has waned. With the recent postings of, "No iOS 6 for my original iPad? Now, I'm an Angry Bird" and "Open source hardware answers the problem of mobile device obsolescence," I think most of you have noticed. If you haven't, please go back and notice. Since Apple decided not to support my iPad 1 with anymore iOS updates, I'm not sure I want to toss any money their way for future projects of folly, namely the larger-screened iPhone 5 and the smaller-screened iPad mini. Who knows how long that iPad mini will find favor with the ever-growing tech behemoth? I'm not taking the risk.

It's amazing* to me that Apple would continue to increase the size of its phone screen and decrease the size of its iPad screen. Where will the two eventually converge? Is there an ultimate size for a personal communications device?

Yes, there is.

The one you can afford.

Notice there that I said, "one" you can afford. Not two or three or six.

However, if you're a real Apple fan, you have an iPad 1, 2 or 3 (maybe all three), an iPhone 4, 4S or 5 (maybe all three), a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro (both?) and you're anxiously anticipating the iPad mini with its smaller screen.

A smaller screen for the iPad. A larger screen for the iPhone. More money for Apple. Less money for you. More gadgets that could have the life expectancy of a hamster.

Where does it end?

In five years, will there be some single, ultimate gadget that makes phone calls, sends texts, has a full-sized touch keyboard, connects to your corporate office, plays video games, automates your lights, monitors your TV program choices, plays movies, babysits your kids, plays music, acts as your personal assistant, edits your films, takes your pictures and fits in your pocket?

Of course not. People want variety at any cost.

I think sometimes that Henry Ford had the right idea--you could have the Model T in any color you wanted as long as you wanted black.

How many laundry detergent options does one need to ponder? Do I need a small box of detergent for a small load and a bigger box for a heavy load of sheets and jeans? A different one still for colors and another for whites? And, how many different choices of this gadget or that technology do you  really and truly need in your life?

How big does my phone screen need to be? How small does my tablet screen need to be?

But, it's not just Apple giving us choices. You have a gaggle of Android-based gadgetry to drool over. Android devices have their advantages, cool Apps and various shapes and sizes from which to choose. And, now we have a third major choice with new and improved Windows phones and tablets.

Choices are good. Sometimes. Competition is good. Sometimes.

But, what about the consumer? Are there too many choices and options?

You, me and every other person on the face of the planet has too many choices and they're all fantastic. Or are they?

How does one choose?

Do I need a smaller screen? Do I need a larger screen?

On the one hand, Apple thinks that I need a larger phone screen but a much smaller iPad screen.

I'm confused. Are you?

Can I afford all this confusion and choice? Can you?

Maybe I've become a Utilitarian. Maybe I'm tired of being over-marketed to. Maybe I'm tired of someone always trying to entice my money from me with bling that I don't really need but want so bad that I can't stand it.

So, my phone needs a larger screen and my iPad needs a smaller one. Fine. There are choices, other than Apple, for both of those attributes.

I was actually thinking just the opposite for those particular devices. I want a larger tablet screen--8.5 x 11 would be perfect. And, I want a tiny phone--a credit card-sized one, please. I don't have any place to carry a larger phone plus a protective case that keeps it pristine for the next 1.5 to 2 years of full vendor support. I don't carry a "murse." Where will I carry the larger phone?

With all these gadgets that I must have, I'm going to look like a Mall Cop with a utility belt full of things that not only I don't need but make me look even more dorky than I do already.

Sometimes I feel like I'm one of those hairy, genderless characters in an Apple-conceived, gadget-oriented Dr. Seuss story.

Big iThing. Little iThing.
Buy that iThing.
Buy this iThing.
iThing. iThing. iThing. iThing.
Get the iBling for that iThing.
Buy some more iBling for that iThing.
Every iThing calls for another iThing.
iThing. iThing. iThing. iThing.
Buy a iThing to put on that iThing.
You need more iBling.
Buy. Buy. Buy. Buy this new iThing.
We don't support that old iThing.
You need the new bigger, smaller iThing.
iThing. iThing. iThing. iThing.

It's enough to make me want to fling that old iThing back at the maker of the iThing. I'm on iThing overload. I might go completely mad, if I have to ponder one more bigger, smaller, faster, better, stronger, sleeker iThing.

What do you think of the new phone with its larger screen and the iPad with its new smaller screen? Are you enticed by either? Talk back and let me know.

*Yes, sadly, I used a forbidden word from reality TV. I apologize.

Topics: Apple, Android, iPhone, iPad


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Pokemon: Get 'em All!

    I speak as an Android user who has an HTC Evo 4G with a 4.3" screen, and HTC Flyer with a 7" screen and an ASUS Transformer TF300 with a 10.1" screen.

    I love all my children the same and would hate to give up any of them.

    Seriously, dude, if you're an iOS fan and you've already got the iPhone and the iPad, when Apple drops the iPad mini you are going to want to pick one up, and when you're sitting in Starbucks sipping you chai-mocha-grande-latte-chino while comfortably holding your iPad mini in one hand, you will be glad you did.
  • The answer to the solution has NEVER changed.

    Whatever the new "thing" is, more likely than not, you don't need it. The answer then is to be patient and wait for a device that meets most of your needs and is affordable. This strategy may not get you the "next best" thing as "best" is extremely fleeting, but you'll be satisfied MUCH, MUCH longer.
    Bruce Lang
    • Actually

      That sounds like me
  • Wait, when did the iPad Mini get announced?

    "It's amazing* to me that Apple would continue to increase the size of its phone screen and decrease the size of its iPad screen."

    Last time I checked, there has been only one increase in screen size for the iPhone, and rumors (for years) of a smaller iPad. Still, there are many differences between the two. For example, I have an iPhone 4s, which is great for checking email and updates quickly, or a fast game while taking a break at work. However, I use my iPad for reading books and documents, as well as Photoshop for art, watching movies, etc. These are more difficult to do on a phone sized screen, even the Galaxy S3 screen, which I also own.

    "Since Apple decided not to support my iPad 1 with anymore iOS updates..."

    I own the first iPad, and I have the iPad 2 that belongs to my job. I never expected the new iOs 6 to be supported on my personal iPad. Just like my computer from five years ago won't run Windows 7/8 efficiently. This is the same with the current Windows and Android phones. I think people forget that these are mobile devices using mobile hardware, and they are limited to what they can do. The software built for them is made to take advantage of those mobile specifications. Once that hardware is updated, the software needs to be as well (which is why some apps take longer in the Android market to become compatible for new phones and tablets). I wouldn't expect new software designed for a higher end processor to work on something that's just not as fast and/or doesn't have enough memory to run it.

    "Do I need a smaller screen? Do I need a larger screen?"

    I can see the allure of having a smaller iPad. The current one is pretty light, but after awhile it can feel heavy, especially if you add a case, like I do. A phone screen is sometimes too small for what you want to do. I love the size of my Galaxy S3, but I wouldn't watch a full movie on it. It has been proven through Android tablets that users enjoy the portability of a 7" tablet, as well as the full 10" of the iPad. It's just user preference. I know people that use both, because of screen size and preference tot he OS.

    Like I said, I personally own an iPhone 4s as my main phone, a Galaxy S3 that I use for work and work applications due to a larger screen size, and the first iPad for my games, books, movies, etc. I use my work iPad 2 for things like inventory and Photoshop, things that are better done on a larger screen. Would I purchase an iPad Mini with a 7" screen? If it supported both the Retina Display with a high enough screen resolution and the apps I use on a regular basis, I could see myself replacing my first iPad. The deciding factor would be the price and compatibility with what I would need it for.
    • Actually,...

      Your old computer will run Windows 8.
    • By the way....

      I am very comfortably running Windows 8 on my almost 6 year old Pentium Core Duo laptop with 4GB of ram. No worries there. Your machine (unless it was rubbish when you bought it) should run Win 8 no worries.
    • Also...

      But The Original iPad is only 2 years old..
      Even the iPhone 3GS can run iOS6, so clearly the original iPad is capable of running iOS6!
  • I do not like Jobs, I os

    I do not like Jobs
    in a house.
    I do not like ipads
    with a mouse.
    I do not use them
    here or there.
    I do not use them
    I do not like
    tabs and finger flicks.
    I do not like them,
    even ios6.
    • Not bad

      We should team up and take over the world.
      • Real Men use Apple products - everyone else reads Dr. Seuss parodies.

        So, Ken, I read that you want a phone the size of a credit card. Do yourself a favor and visit an Apple Store or find a friend that has the new iPhone 5. Place a credit card on top of the iPhone. (I'll let you figure out the correct orientation. grin.) Tell me (and your readers) how wide the credit card is in relation to the width of the iPhone. I'll tell your readers approximately how much longer your credit card will be. (about 35 cm or a little over an inch and a quarter) Those dimensions are pretty close to your "ideal" phone you mentioned in your article.

        I've had my new iPhone 5 for almost two weeks now and I agree with every published professional critique of this phone. It is simply the best currently available. But only "Real Men" would understand that.

        I know I'm laying it on a bit thick but your like a person my old high school freshman english teacher told his students about on the first day of class. My old teacher told us the story of the donkey and the baseball bat. (You've heard variations of this parable before, I'm sure.) And, like that proverbial donkey, sometimes a person has to use a bat to get your attention. Then again, I never use a baseball bat when a Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs head slap will accomplish the same thing.

        So .. Whack .. Come back to the land of reality, Ken. We miss you.

        If you wish to see how "Real Men" use Apple products and can afford to view a ten minute video showcasing the finest example of a professional BYOD project illustrating how an Apple iPad can be used in a secure environment, then I recommend the following internet video: "Video from the US Air Force Electronic Flight Bag Team" (I re-tweeted this link a few days ago.) 

        This short video embedded in that article highlights all the important BYOD points you spoke about for the past two years on ZDNet. Really insightful and Important stuff. You used to write about that once upon time, my friend. Please come back to us and start doing it again. I like Dr. Seuss as much as anyone but .. really!

        PS .. because Apple products usually last and function well past the time they become obsolete, I have accumulated a nice Apple product ecosystem over the last eight years. And, happy to say, I have all three generations of iPads. (I have gone on record as stating that the iPad 3 - with retina display - would stop that trend since, for what it does, the performance is still quite adequate and it's display characteristics really have no equal. Because of that, I have stated that this product has matured enough so that I can skip a few generations or two.)

        I stated that because the original iPad still looks and performs like new. It still scrolls web pages fluidly and third party vendors still update and support the apps installed on it. I suspect that if I continue to give it the same amount of care that it has received during the past two plus years, that it will continue to serve its function as an electronic content reader. With Apple still supporting the iPad 1 thru iCloud and iTunes synching, I won't regret for a moment that it isn't supported by iOS 6 because - news flash - the original iPad lacked built in cameras which iOS 6 new features exploit.
        • Actually ZDNet should use Apple products than perhaps their blog

          might have a comment edit function! Actually, I meant to say, the iPhone 5 is about 35 cm or an inch and a quarter longer than your credit card. It is just a wee bit, cat-in-the-hat hair width wider.

          Even Apple's iOS Map app is better at what it does than ZDNet's Blogging software.
  • Ken You are a brave man

    Ken, protect yourself, the Apple fan gang is going to attack you but more than likely dismiss and ignore.

    I had an I-Phone with an antenna problem and then was given a phone condom to fix the issue. I have a Mac Book Air that has had more transplants then a Hollywood actress and last week told it was in need of a HD transplant but that was not advisable. Like you I have an I-Pad 1 that I guess is now the poor step child.

    The last straw for our household was my wife who found out that even with the $29 connector for her new IPhone it will no longer work the same with our Bose Sound System.

    I am a gadget addict and a Apple fan going back to the Lisa however being a slow learner I am inclined to go into rehab and stop by blind loyalty to everything Apple. The Apple fan base will attack us and make excuses for all the errors, claim we are making this up or point to that fact that millions of people are very happy, good for them. The fact is millions of people line up to buy anything new from Apple and the other fact is new does not equal better.

    I doubt I will be ordering a Apple mini but hope against hope that there will be someone out there that does real review of the product, capability and compare that to all the other sevenish contenders.
  • Isn't that what advertising is all about?

    Parting fools from their money by brainwashing people into believing they have an urgent need for an unnecessary item. In corporate speak: "Generating demand for a product".
    But kudos to you, this is the first Zdnet article I've read that mentions affordability. Everyone else is buying the latest gadget and jumping from Iphone5 to S3 like theyre playing hopscotch, without a mention of budget or value for money. For the price of one of those top end devices (£550), one could easily buy a good low end smartphone (e.g. g300 for £100,, a good 7inch tablet (e.g. nexus for £200), a year's mobile contract with all you can eat data (e.g. Three at £200 per year) and provide safe water kits for 5 needy families (unicef at £50).
  • As a budget-minded Apple user...

    I have 1) usually bought refurbished Apple products and 2) don't really care if I don't have the latest generation. Currently I have an iPad2 and an iPhone4s. We bought iPhones for the family (refurbished) when the price dropped in anticipation of the iPhone 5 release (which also happened to be right when we were eligible for the discount on for getting new phones).

    My hubby takes my old iPad 1st generation with him when he travels. It makes no difference to him that it can't run iOS 6. Next spring, when the iPads are updated again, I may upgrade mine to a refurbished third generation (to stay current enough for work-related stuff) and continue to pass down the older ones to family members.

    My previous phone was an Android, and when Sprint pushed out an update to the Android OS this summer, the phone couldn't handle it. If you tried to do anything on the phone, it would give you a message about the low amount of remaining memory. And...that phone was only a year and a half old at that point!
  • Samsung Galaxy Note: ...and one device to rule them all...

    Big Phone, small tablet, saved up and got it. Now I don't carry my beloved ginormus Clie' anymore, my Moto Raz'r got a dignified and well deserved retirement, and I don't take my laptop on trips anymore. It isn't the best of breed for any category, but it suits my needs. (Gosh it is a pain in the pocket. I wish I could wear cargo pants to work for that extra big pocket on the thigh...)