APPLE has come under fire from feminists who say iPhones are now too big for women to hold.
Earlier this week, Apple revealed its largest-screen iPhones yet, and discontinued its famously small iPhone SE model too.
This week’s new iPhones have screen sizes ranging from 5.8 inches to 6.5 inches, making them the biggest Apple handsets ever
When the iPhone first launched in 2007, it had a screen size of just 3.5 inches. But this week, Apple debuted three new phones: the 5.8-inch iPhone XS, the 6.1-inch iPhone XR, and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max.
Apple also decided to stop selling the 4-inch iPhone SE, the last hope for people with small hands.
Now women say they’re left without a choice.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, feminist activist Caroline Criado Perez – who was behind Parliament Square’s Millicent Fawcett statue and the Jane Austen £10 note – said: “I genuinely have RSI from having an iPhone 6, and it went as soon as I switched to an iPhone SE.
“It genuinely does affect women’s hand health, women do buy more iPhones than men, it just baffles me that Apple doesn’t design with our bodies in mind. We should be furious about this, we are paying just as much money for it as men for a product that doesn’t work as well for us,” she went on.
“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it – soon there will be no iPhone that fits the average woman’s hand size – even though the technology is two years out of date. Or get a new one and deal with the fact that it’ll give me RSI. That’s not an acceptable choice in the 21st century, you need to have a smartphone.”
Zeynep Tufekci, a writer for the New York Times, also blasted Apple on Twitter, saying that “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”.
She called the now-discontinued iPhone SE the “only phone I can hold without risking dropping”.
And Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, told the Telegraph: “In so much design and technology development the default standard is always that which suits a man.
“Companies have got to get better at recognising that their idea of normal should account for all their customers.”
iPhone: Big vs Small
How iPhone sizes have changed over the years
- iPhone (2007) – 3.5 inches
- iPhone 3G (2008) – 3.5 inches
- iPhone 3GS (2009) – 3.5 inches
- iPhone 4 (2010) – 3.5 inches
- iPhone 4S (2011) – 3.5 inches
- iPhone 5 (2012) – 4 inches
- iPhone 5S (2013) – 4 inches
- iPhone 5C (2013) – 4 inches
- iPhone 6 (2014) – 4.7 inches
- iPhone 6+ (2014) – 5.5 inches
- iPhone 6S (2015) – 4.7 inches
- iPhone 6S+ (2015) – 5.5 inches
- iPhone SE (2016) – 4 inches
- iPhone 7 (2016) – 4.7 inches
- iPhone 7+ (2016) – 5.5 inches
- iPhone 8 (2017) – 4.7 inches
- iPhone 8+ (2017) – 5.5 inches
- iPhone X (2017) – 5.8 inches
- iPhone XS (2018) – 5.8 inches
- iPhone XR (2018) – 6.1 inches
- iPhone XS Max (2018) – 6.5 inches
A 2011 study by Egypt’s Sohag University found that the average hand length of men was roughly 1.3cm greater than for women.
That may explain the frustration – but the iPhone situation isn’t necessarily as bad as it first seems.
Apple’s binning of the iPhone SE will definitely upset some small-handed users.
But the new flagship iPhone trio aren’t actually any bigger than last year’s models – despite having larger screens.
Last year’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus only had 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, but they had very thick bezels (the border around the display).
The new 2018 iPhones have all-screen designs, with the display running from edge to edge.
This allowed Apple to significantly increase the screen size of its phones, without growing the physical size of its handsets.
But some feminists argue that Apple still sees women as an “afterthought”, regardless.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Sophie Walker, of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “Apple’s UK Head Quarters has a gender pay gap of 24%, and men’s bonuses are 57% higher than women’s.
“So do I think the boys at the top consider women when making design decisions? No I don’t,” she added, which may be a dig at Jony Ive, Apple’s male chief of design.
Sophie continued: “Until companies like Apple have women represented equally at senior levels – as in all areas of business, politics and the public sector, women’s needs are an afterthought.
“The boys at Apple are obviously obsessed with size but sometimes performance matters too.”
And Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, is quoted as saying: “Whether it be services, products or the world of work, if we started in a different place with things designed by women for women we would improve women’s lives and we would all benefit.”
We’ve asked Apple for comment and will update this story with any response.
What do you think of Apple’s new smartphones? Do you think the iPhone is simply too big to hold? Let us know in the comments!