Apple needs to do more with the iPhone Pro Max

mobtkr4 May 2022Last Update : 2 months ago
Apple needs to do more with the iPhone Pro Max

Apples iPhone 13 Pro Max and 12 Pro Max have large 6.7-inch screens, making them the biggest smartphones in the company’s repertoire. Although both are also considerably larger than the standard 6.1in iPhone 135.4 inches iPhone 13 Mini and 4.7 inches iPhoneSE, they still run the same software as Apple’s smaller phones. If only there were more ways to take advantage of the Pro Max’s giant screen.

Fortunately, there are. Apple should take inspiration from the iPhone’s big cousin, the iPad. Apple’s tablets come with additional features that make it easier to use apps on a larger screen. The company even renamed the iPad software “iPadOS” in 2019 to distinguish it from the iOS of the iPhone. The iPad interface had evolved so much by this point that it no longer made sense to lump the two operating systems together.

I’m not suggesting anything as drastic as a rebrand to “Pro Max OS”. But I think Apple and its customers could benefit from iOS16the next major release of iPhone software, with new features specific to the larger iPhone.

It wouldn’t be easy. Changes are expected to bring iPad-specific features such as multitasking to the iPhone Pro Max. But Apple already has a habit of tailoring apps and software to specific products, as proved with the original iPad and apple watch. So I would trust him to do the same in this case.

Here are the iPad features that I think would translate well to the iPhone Pro Max.


Slide Over lets you open another iPad app in a column on the side of the screen.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The large screen of the iPhone Pro Max is ideal for focusing on a single application, such as reading or watching TV. But I’d also like to see a version of the iPad’s multitasking capabilities on the iPhone Pro Max. Being able to have more than one app on screen might keep me from switching between apps so often.

Apple offers two main options for running multiple apps on the iPad screen: Split View and Slide Over. The first is self-explanatory; it allows you to split the screen between two apps. Android phones have also offered split-screen mode for years. Slide Over is a bit different. Instead of splitting the screen, you can open an app in a floating panel that can be positioned on either side of the screen.

If Apple were to bring any of these features to the iPhone Pro Max, I think Slide Over would be the most useful. Compared to Split View mode, it’s a better way to use a smartphone-sized screen. You’ll be able to dedicate most of the screen to one app while quickly checking out another. I’d like to peek at my Slack messages in a column on the side of my screen while using most of the iPhone screen to catch up on emails.

This is an example of an iPad feature that Apple should probably change significantly for the iPhone rather than bringing the current version. The iPhone Pro Max is big for a phone, but it’s still small compared to an iPad, even the iPad Mini.

Widgets on iPhone can display a lot of information at a glance.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

One way Apple makes this work is to format Slide Over apps as interactive widgets that you can view while running another app. Widgets are already designed to display a lot of information in a space that only takes up a fraction of your phone screen. As such, it’s easy to imagine widget-like Slide Over apps that you can pin to any corner of the iPhone Pro Max screen.

Still, getting iPad multitasking capabilities on the iPhone Pro Max is a long shot. Part of the appeal of the iPhone is that the software is consistent no matter what model you have, so I doubt Apple will compromise that. In the meantime, we’re stuck with the handful of existing iPhone Pro Max-specific features that were introduced for the iPhone 6 Plus. For example, default apps like Mail and Messages take advantage of the iPhone Pro Max’s larger display in landscape mode to display a column of message previews next to the currently displayed message.

A mini Apple Pencil

iPad Pro 2018 apple pencil

The Apple Pencil is not compatible with the iPhone, but it should be.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Yes, I know Steve Jobs ridiculed the idea of ​​using a stylus with a mobile device. But listen to me. The Apple Pencil has proven to be a valuable companion to the iPad over the past few years. Now is the time to integrate it into the iPhone Pro Max as an optional accessory.

I’m not the only one wishing for an iPhone-compatible Apple Pencil. My colleague Patrick Holland has been begging for an Apple Pencil ever since he tested the iPhone 12 Pro Max in 2020, claiming that a MagSafe Apple Pencil would be “a killer accessory”.

First, consider the iPhone Pro Max audience. It’s for people who are willing to pay top dollar for the biggest screen and best camera available on an iPhone. The Apple Pencil seems like a natural complement to the Pro Max, both for photographers and for those who just want a huge screen.

I imagine those who frequently edit photos on their phone would benefit from editing with a more precise stylus than a finger, especially since popular apps like Adobe Lightroom and Pixelmator support Apple Pencil. An iPhone-compatible Apple Pencil might also appeal to those who often take notes or annotate documents from their phone. the rumored iPhone 14 Maxwhich would be a 6.7-inch version of the standard iPhone, would also get an optional pencil accessory.

The success of Samsung’s Galaxy Note range (which has now been consolidated into the Galaxy S Ultra family) also suggests that there is an audience for styluses. I have to admit, I don’t use the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s S Pen very often. But it’s come in handy for taking notes in meetings or quickly capturing thoughts when I’m writing a review and away from my computer.

Again, it wouldn’t make sense to simply extend compatibility from the current Apple Pencil to the iPhone Pro Max. Instead, Apple is expected to design a smaller version of the Pencil with a smaller nib that better fits a phone-sized screen.

A victory for Apple and its customers


The iPhone 13 Pro Max (far left) is Apple’s largest iPhone.

Patrick Holland/CNET

With or without these features, the iPhone Pro Max is already a hit. The iPhone 12 Pro Max was the second best-selling phone in the world in 2021, according to data from Counterpoint Research.

There is clearly a demand for larger iPhones, like the rumors testify that Apple will replace iphone mini with another 6.7-inch iPhone this year.

But why not do more with the Pro Max? It would be a great way for Apple to further distinguish the Pro Max from its smaller, cheaper iPhones. The additional software features would also give owners more for the price, while a Pencil would give Apple another opportunity to make money from current iPhone Pro Max owners. It sounds like a win-win scenario.

The iPhone Pro Max’s lack of multitasking and Apple Pencil support aren’t necessarily shortcomings. But it looks like Apple is missing an opportunity.

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