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Horace Dediu and I Discuss Apple Watch

Today Horace Dediu and I did an impromptu live stream using a pretty cool new Twitter live streaming service called Meerkat. I have a lot to say about Meerkat but this was an experiment that turned into a pretty compelling use case for the product. We were able to take questions from the audience live, and we had almost 500 watchers by the time we stopped.

Most people miss Meerkat streams because they weren’t on Twitter when it happened. With some Meerkasts, they may be worth saving and sharing, like the one Horace and I did. This is the recording of our chat. We had a small learning curve that the camera only works in portrait so we fixed it after about a minute.

Horace Dediu and Ben Bajarin talk Apple Watch and Take Questions from Ben Bajarin on Vimeo.

Thoughts on the iPhone 6 Plus

Prior to having both iPhones in hand, I was convinced the Plus would be too big and the iPhone 6 would be perfect for me. I assumed this because I am an experienced big phone (phablet) user and have used every phablet on the market for at least a few weeks and sometimes longer. Prior to using the new iPhones, I had been using the LG G3 which, in my opinion, is one of the best, if not the best, phablets on the market both in size, features, and functionality.

My general feeling with large phones is always initially good. I pop in my SIM card and, for the first few days, love it. But then the size (and Android) start to wear on me. I like the screen real estate you get from large screen phones, which is why I was counting down the days until Apple released an iPhone near or above the 5″ range.

The value of the large screen first hit me when I started using the Note II shortly after it came out. I had used screen sizes all the way from 3.5″-4.7″ and felt incremental value at each larger size. But going to a screen size above 5″ seemed to provide an entirely different experience.

That’s why the iPhone 6 Plus is the iPhone I am sticking with. It feels more like using an iPad than using an iPhone. Where this matters for me is in productivity. Because I am always mobile, my phone is more often than not my primary computer on a day-to-day basis. The value I get in larger real estate to read articles, reports, emails, and more has made it worth the trade-offs that come with the size. To put it simply, I get more done on the 6 Plus. However, there is entertainment value as well. As I pointed out in the article on Galaxy Note II, watching videos and playing games on a device over 5″ is dramatic in my opinion. This is actually one of the reasons why these sized phones are so popular in Asia. Many Asian consumers commute long distances to work on trains and buses and most of that time is spent watching movies and playing games. And while most consumers will find significant increase in value in entertainment use cases on the 6 Plus, the productivity ones are easily the most valuable to me and have won me over.

Larger phones are not for everyone. I’ve written numerous times that phones of “phablet” size have not done well in this country. While I certainly believe the iPhone 6 Plus will sell a decent amount in the US, I believe the mix will strongly favor the iPhone 6. This is already playing out in many countries, including Japan, and I assume it will in many others — except for China and some parts of SE Asia.

This is how I’m thinking about the new iPhones and even other smartphones for that matter. What is frustrating to me as an outsider observer of the media and their coverage/review of smartphones, is I believe recommending the right smartphone to someone is about as challenging as recommending a good wine to go with dinner. It all just depends. Each person may have different needs, wants, desires, and linking them up with the right device requires an understanding of what they like, what they don’t like, what they want to do with it, etc. Rarely can a review, no matter how many words it is, cover all those variables. What these reviews help do is arm readers with information before they go look at the products, talk with friends and family, and decide for themselves.