As smartphones become our primary devices, doing the jobs once held by computers and even televisions, we need a product that can change, like a chameleon, to serve all of these functions.
Before 2010, the extra real estate was unnecessary. After all, we were using phones mostly for making calls, listening to music, or doing a bit of light web-browsing on bad mobile interfaces, making mental notes to do our real work when we got back to our computers.
Today, the web—from site interfaces to television to native apps—is often designed primarily for the mobile format. The smartphone is no longer just a phone, but a hybrid of devices—and increasingly, the most common way to interact with the world. A bigger screen allows a mobile device to play all of these roles at once.
I’m still annoyed at having to hand-shimmy, but it seems hard to imagine going back to a 3.5-inch screen after using a 4-inch iPhone 5s. I’m not sure yet whether a phone that’s between the size of a 5s and an iPad mini would be perfect or too large for my pockets and hands.
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