The iPhone 6 Plus, apart from just being a really giant iPhone, also has what you might call a unique selling point: It’s the first iPhone that is designed to run apps with split views in landscape mode.
Split views were first introduced to iOS with the original iPad: They typically feature a content list or menu on the left and the details view or content pane on the right, similar to the way many desktop apps are designed.
This feature attracted a fair bit of attention after the launch — it’s what made the 6 Plus seem ‘tablet-esque’ and different. But there seem to be almost no third-party apps that support this feature out today. So what’s holding developers back?
It’s been a busy summer
Apple announced a lot of new features in iOS 8, so developers have had to prioritize between:
- Basic changes to the iOS 8 SDK
- Widgets (for all users)
- Extensions (for all users)
- Basic support for iPhone 6 & 6 Plus (for all new iPhone buyers)
- iPhone 6 Plus landscape support (only 6 Plus buyers)
As a developer, you focus on the iOS 8 features that could potentially reach the largest audience. A niche feature like iPhone 6 Plus landscape support is probably not highest on your todo list right now – even if it’s a pretty big audience.
Developers are fanboys too
Anecdotally, most developers I’ve spoken to or heard from on Twitter seem to be going for the 6 rather than the 6 Plus. I think it’s partly because as long-time iPhone users, they’re used to smaller devices. And since the iPhone was small for so long, larger Android devices were regarded with a certain amount of contempt.It takes a while for those kinds of prejudices to dissipate, so most developers are buying the 4,7” iPhone 6 (and some even still prefer the iPhone 5s).
And if you can’t use a feature yourself, adding it to your app just isn’t going to be a high priority.
Are consumers buying the 6 Plus?
Since Apple doesn’t release exact numbers by model, it’s difficult for most developers to know how many 6 Plus users are actually out there. We recently crunched the numbers for our app TV Pro and discovered that a surprisingly large number of users were already using an iPhone 6, but that the iPhone 6 Plus was a fair way behind it, with a ratio of almost 3:1 preferring the 4,7” iPhone 6.
Show me your iPhone 6 Landscape apps!
I hope to release our first apps with iPhone 6 Plus-specific layouts this winter, but if your app or an app you use already makes use of a iPhone 6 Plus landscape layout, let me know and I’ll add it to a new tumblr I’ve set up to showcase them: