Just say no to Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6: Why I'm not upgrading to either one

Now is not the time to buy a new smartphone. Wait a few months and see how the landscape has changed.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

My Galaxy S4 is now more than two years old. Even though my buddy Jason Perlow calls me "an easily distracted, ADD-addled new shiny toy-obsessed edge case freak," I tend not to pull the trigger on new devices until I've given them some serious thought and developed a plan.

Okay, well, fine. My wife says, "He doesn't even know you. He doesn't know how bad it is." Jason and I go back more than 20 years. He's got something of a clue. I am, without a doubt, an edge case freak. Stipulated.

In any case, I'm still carrying my Galaxy S4, which I've come to quite like. Of all the phones I've had over the years, it's clear that the S4 is one of my two favorites, the other being my long time ago, dearly-departed Palm Treo. Loved that phone!

But I'm not holding onto the S4 out of some sort of sentimental attachment. I just don't like the Galaxy S6 enough to buy it -- and I want something more.

I want to go big. Look, I'm a big guy. I drive a big, fast car. I like big, powerful computers. I have large hands and (at least according to ZDNet's commenters) an even larger ego.

I want a bigger phone

I've been looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and it's pretty sweet. But it's also about to turn into a pumpkin. Samsung is going to have to upgrade that beast, especially in light of the iPhone 6 Plus.

You want to know how bad it is? I left the iPhone two years ago for the Galaxy S4 (in part because my iPhone felt like it was a 1990s-based machine in comparison to the power of Android). Yes, I still have a couple of iPads and have been standardizing on Macs, but I choose my gear for what I need to do, and the iPhone didn't let me get nearly as much done as the Android device.

And yet, here I was in a burger shop last week, and this dude walks by with an enormous phone on his belt. He was rocking a full-on, I'm-married-so-I-don't-care-how-dorky-I-look clip-on phone, the iPhone 6 Plus. It was huge. And suddenly, I wanted it. I want the big screen.

So here's where we are. My contract is over, so I can upgrade any time I want. We know Samsung is going to come out with a new Note model, probably in September. We also know (or at least suspect with historical justification) that Apple will announce iOS 9 at WWDC next week.

The smartphone landscape that exists today will change over the next few months, as it always does between June and September.

The question is, which will I upgrade to? Will I go for an iOS 9-based iPhone 6 Plus, or a Lollipop-enabled Note 5 (or whatever Samsung decides to call it)?

Here are the factors

Does the new Samsung have good inductive charging? For whatever reason, the iPhone still doesn't have inductive charging. And while I used Qi pads on my S4 for a while, the charge was crappy, and I had to go back to plugging things in. But if one of them really works well with a charging plate, I'm in. The S6 has inductive charging, but the jury is still out about whether it's reliable and robust.

Samsung handsets through the ages: A photo tour of phone firsts

Does iOS 9 do more with home page customization? I strongly rely on customizing my landing screen on my Galaxy S4. That's a big part of why I like it so much. I've optimized my screen so that everything is where I want it, at a glance, without extra distractions. If iOS 9 moves in this direction, I might consider it.

Will iOS 9 allow you to assign icons to folders? Okay, I know it's a small thing, but I hate the little mini-icons in the folders on iOS 9. Yes, Android does the same thing, but a quick launcher replacement and you can have custom icons on your folders, just like we did on Macs back in the 1990s.

Will the new Note have a stylus? And will it be stowed intelligently. Look, I'm fine with fingerpainting my way to glory on my phone, but once in a while, you want refined control. If the new Note comes with a sweet stylus design, it might scoop me in.

What are the pricing models? Apple is apparently screwing with the pricing models for its phones on certain carriers. That probably won't be good for consumers. Will Samsung do the same thing? We'll have to see on that.

Does either Galaxy Gear or the Apple Watch come out with what I called the killer app for smart watches: easy, one swipe multi-factor authentication? Right now, you still have to type in codes, and even if you can read the code on your watch, it doesn't float my boat. Solve the multi-factor authentication problem and I might buy the phone to go with it.

Does either device or OS have any new shiny toy features? Jason was right. I do like shiny toys. Witness how quickly and obsessively I've taken to the Amazon Echo. But do either of the new devices (and, in Apple's case, really it's iOS 9) do anything that says "schwing"? If so, I might pay attention. Right now, I'm a bit bored with all of it.

Will there be a much more compelling Windows 10 phone out by that time? [catching breath] Okay, I'm sorry. I couldn't stop laughing. No, of course I'm not serious.

So there you go. With the exception of one very unfair poke at my friends from Redmond (and their less-than-sane Windows phone phanatics), it's a serious decision. The bottom line is that if you, like me, can wait, now is not the time to buy a new smartphone. Wait a few months and see how the landscape has changed.

One final thing

There's one more reason I'm not buying a Galaxy S6. This ad actually causes physical pain.

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

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