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21st of October 2018


Apple's New IPhones Are Flashy, But Too Big For Many Women

If you're an iPhone user with small hands, Apple is slowly turning its back on you. It's not you, it's them.

That's because the devices keep getting bigger, and the tech giant is slowly but surely axing its smaller models.

Apple's newest and biggest phones, the iPhones XS, XS Max, and Xr range in height from 143.6mm to 157.5mm.

Stephen Lam / Reuters The various colors of newly released Apple iPhone XR are seen following the product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater.

Apple's smaller budget phone — and fan favourite for people with small hands — the iPhone SE, released in March 2016, in comparison is only 123.8mm. It may not seem like a lot, but those two or three centimetres make all the difference.

The company's new "budget" phone (it's still over $1,000 here in Canada), the XR, spells the end of the SE. Unfortunately, it's bigger than the iPhone XS.

Bloomberg via Getty Images A shopper views an iPhone SE in 2016.

Apple's decision to retire the SE, combined with its insistence on continuously increasing screen sizes has many people with small hands crying foul.

BOOOOOO to @apple for discontinuing the iPhone SE. What am I supposed to use? All of your other phones feel too big for my hands, and they also won't fit in my pockets. #jerks

— Christine Ricks (@rickschristine) September 12, 2018

1. The iPhone is too big2. If you say the iPhone is the perfect size, you better be campaigning against the carefully, patriarchally designed lack of goddamn pocket space in my jeans3. The iPhone! Is! Too big!

— devon maloney (@dynamofire) September 14, 2018

Can phone companies and everybody buying phones stop with the huge screen obsession? I just want a new iPhone that isn't too big to hold pls 😒

— jess ☺ (@jess_simpsonx) September 12, 2018

Believe it or not, some of us would actually prefer a smaller phone, Apple. I bought the iPhone 7 Plus about 15 months ago, and it's just too big. I miss the size of the iPhone 5.

— Alexander W. McCall (@awmccall) September 12, 2018

Since in general, women have smaller hands than men, they're feeling particularly slighted by the phones that won't stop growing, which makes them harder to use, hold and carry.

"Women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can't hold and constantly risk dropping," Zeynep Tufekci, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tweeted after Apple announced their new line of devices. "Some people like the bigger phones. Fine. Keep an alternative for the rest of us."

"We want to reach as many customers as we can with this incredible technology," Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said, without irony, while Apple phased out the *only* phone I can hold without risking dropping. Stuck with Apple for security reasons. 🤬

— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) September 13, 2018

Some people like the bigger phones. Fine. Keep an alternative for the rest of us. :-( It's not like they are financially struggling and can't afford to make a tiny bit less on smaller phones.

— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) September 13, 2018

In 2016, Tufekci wrote a Medium blog post about the struggles of having small hands and growing phones after she tried to film protestors being tear-gassed in Turkey and was unable to hold her phone above her head with one hand.

"Increasingly, on the latest versions of the kinds of phones I want to use, I cannot type one-handed. I cannot take a picture one-handed. I can barely scroll one-handed—not very well, though. I can't unlock my phone one-handed. I can't even turn on my phone one-handed as my fingers cannot securely wrap around the phone while I push a button with a finger."

anyway I guess I'd better upgrade now before they DISCONTINUE the only phone that fits the average women's handsize. what the hell is wrong with you, @Apple? women. buy. smartphones. In fact, more women buy iPhones than men. DESIGN FOR OUR BODIES.

— Caroline Criado Perez (@CCriadoPerez) September 13, 2018

Activist Caroline Criado Perez told The Telegraph she developed a repetitive strain injury in her hand using the iPhone 6. Her pain subsided when she switched to the now-discontinued iPhone SE.

"I have to make a choice between making an upgrade to the only phone that fits my hand before they discontinue it — soon there will be no iPhone that fits the average woman's hand size — even though the technology is two years out of date," she said.

I can't grow my hands any bigger. Please make a smaller #iPhone@Apple

— Annie Studer (@StuderAnnie) September 13, 2018

.@apple this is my formal complaint that there is no SE-sized phone anymore. My satisfaction with my iPhone will plummet once I'm forced to upgrade; the new phones are too big! My pockets don't want your giant devices!

— John Carmack 🇺🇸 🌱 🍕 (@JohnCarmack) September 12, 2018

I wish they were keeping the SE, my father who had a stroke has not upgraded from the iPhone 5, because he can't hold any of the other phones as they are too big, and require use of both hands most of the time. #accessibility#ada#iphone

— Bryan (@brybell) September 12, 2018

Am I the only one that doesn't get why people want the big ass iPhone XS Max? It's too big! Why would you want a phone you could barely fit in your pocket?

— Terry Thomas (@kiddynamite222) September 13, 2018

Women's clothing is also notorious for either having tiny pockets or having none at all, which also makes storing a phone the size of your face a little difficult.

A study by The Pudding in August said that 100 per cent of men's pockets can fit an iPhone X (and thus, the new XS), but only 40 per cent of women's pockets can. While once might challenge the scientific rigour of this study, the spirit of its results rings true.

Getty Images Customers compare the size of an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPhone 5S in Russia.

Smartphones growing isn't a new trend. Samsung's Galaxy phones are also enormous. And concerns around iPhone sizing have been, um, growing for years. The original iPhone was 115 mm. By 2014, the iPhone 6 had grown to 138 mm, and The Atlantic was already wondering if they were too big for women's hands.

Next to the new phones, the 6 looks positively tiny.

The magazine speculates the increased phone size is a two-way tactic. Firstly, a bigger phone costs more , which creates more profit. More importantly, it requires two hands to use, which the Atlantic suggests is so that users find it harder to look away from their screens.

Apple, and many designers who make software for iPhones, are now relying on that extra screen space when they create new apps for the phone, which makes it unlikely that Apple will return to the days of smaller devices, a USAToday article explains. None of its competitors are likely to either.

"None of these phones feel good when holding them up to your head to make phone calls, but who uses a smartphone for that?" Avi Greengart, a GlobalData analyst, told the outlet.

Kind of makes you miss the days when tech companies were racing to make cellphones smaller instead of bigger.

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