Big Phones and Minimalism

I recently came across a piece by Greg Morris where he discusses minimalism and his feelings toward using big phones. It was an intriguing piece, and it spurred my contemplation about my own use of a bigger phone.

In a way, using a bigger phone actually supports the idea of minimalism more than one may initially realize. Take the iPad, for example. Although Apple will tell you, “Your next computer is not a computer”, because of the limitations of iOS, in reality the iPad is a device that sits somewhere between a phone and a computer. Sure, it works for some as a full on laptop replacement, but it does not meet the needs for others. However, I would argue that owning a bigger phone in a way actually negates the need for the iPad. While there are some differences in functionality, the iPhone and iPad essentially run the same operating system. Plus, a 6.7” iPhone is just a little over an inch shy of the 7.9” iPad mini in terms of screen real estate.

I began using my son’s 9.7” iPad (6th generation) a few months ago. As he has an iPhone, a gaming desktop and a M1 MacBook Air, he was no longer using the iPad. Even though I initially used the iPad a great deal, as the novelty wore off, my iPad use waned. I find that for what I was mainly using the iPad for (surfing the web while on the couch), my phone works just as well. The iPad feels clunky. Whereas a traditional laptop can rest on my lap and a phone (even a large one) fits neatly in my hand, I could not get comfortable with the iPad. Additionally, the on-screen keyboard of the iPad was a pain to type on due to its larger size. It really needs accessories like a pencil or keyboard to be truly useful for anything related to productivity. Conversely my phone is a breeze to type on.

An update to my little experiment... Aside from briefly using the iPad, I have mainly stuck to only using my phone for most non-work related things. However, while I still use my phone for a lot of things, I have pulled my laptop (an old HP running Ubuntu 20.04) back out of the drawer. I missed Linux. I’m also in the process of resurrecting an old iMac, which will soon be running Raspberry Pi Desktop. I plan to call it my “Raspberry PiMac”. More to come on that.

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