This story is part ofCNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.
With its 6.7-inch screensand are the biggest phones Apple has ever released. The rumored iPhone 14 Pro Max, which we probably will , it is expected to keep the same screen size. Although Apple’s “Pro Max” devices are significantly larger than the standard 6.1 inches 5.4 inches and 4.7 inches they still use the same software as Apple’s smaller phones.
If only there were more waysFortunately, they exist. Apple should be inspired by the larger cousin of the iPhone . Apple tablets are packed with additional features that make it easier to use apps on a larger screen. The company even renamed the iPad’s operating system to distinguish it from the iOS iPhone. The iPad interface had evolved so much by then that it no longer made sense to put the two sets of software together.
I’m not suggesting something as drastic as rebranding to “Pro Max OS”. But I think both Apple and its customers could benefit from new features that are designed specifically for larger iPhones. This could be all the more important as Apple is said to be launchingthis year.
It wouldn’t be easy to do. Modifications would need to be made to bring iPad-specific features such as multitasking to the iPhone Pro Max. However, Apple already has a history of tailoring apps and software to specific products, as it did with the original iPad and. So I would trust it to do the same in this case.
Here are the iPad features that I think would translate well to the iPhone Pro Max.
The iPhone Pro Max’s large screen is great for focusing on a single application, such as reading or watching TV. But I’d love to see a version of the iPad’s multitasking capabilities on the iPhone Pro Max as well. Being able to view multiple apps at once could prevent me from having to switch between apps as often.
Apple offers two main options for running multiple apps on the iPad display: Split View and Slide Over. The first is self-explanatory; allows you to split the screen between two applications. Android phones have offered a split-screen mode for years. Slide Over is a little different. Instead of a split screen, you can open an app in a floating panel that can be placed 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, this is a better way to take advantage of a smartphone-sized screen. You could devote most of the screen to one app and quickly check another. I like to look at my Slack messages in a column on the side of the screen while using most of the iPhone’s display to catch up on emails.
This is an example of an iPad feature that Apple would probably have to significantly improve for the iPhone instead of bringing the current version. The iPhone Pro Max is big for a phone, but it’s still small compared to the iPad — even the iPad Mini.
One way Apple could make this work is by formatting Slide Over apps as interactive widgets that you can see when you launch another app. Widgets are already designed to display a lot of information in a space that only takes up a fraction of your phone’s screen. As such, it’s easy to imagine Slide Over widget-like apps that you can pin to any corner of the iPhone Pro Max’s display.
Still, getting the multitasking capabilities of the iPad onto the iPhone Pro Max is a long shot. Part of the appeal of the iPhone is that the software is consistent no matter which model you own, so I doubt Apple will compromise that. In the meantime, we’re stuck with a few existing iPhone Pro Max-specific features that were actually introduced for the iPhone 6 Plus. For example, default apps like Mail and Messages take advantage of the larger iPhone Pro Max display in landscape mode to display a column of message previews next to the currently displayed message.
We won’t get any new multitasking features specific to the iPhone Pro Max, Apple’s new iPhone software update will arrive this fall. But the update will introduce with widgets to display more information at a glance. While the new lock screen is available on all supported models, I imagine it will add some extra tools to the Pro Max’s larger display.
Mini Apple Pencil
Yes, I know Steve Jobs famously scoffed at the idea of using a stylus with a mobile device. But hear me out. The Apple Pencil has proven to be a valuable companion for the iPad over the past few years. Now it’s time to bring it to the iPhone Pro Max as an optional accessory.
I’m not alone in wishing for an iPhone-compatible Apple Pencil. My colleague Patrick Holland has been begging for an Apple Pencil ever sincein 2020, he said the 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 addition to the Pro Max, both for photographers and those who just want a giant display.
I imagine those who often edit photos on their phone would benefit from editing with a stylus that’s more precise than their finger, especially since popular apps like Adobe Lightroom and Pixelmator have Apple Pencil support. The iPhone-friendly Apple Pencil could also appeal to those who often take notes or mark up documents using their phones. Thewhich would be a 6.7-inch version of the standard iPhone, would also benefit from an optional pencil accessory.
The success of the Samsung Galaxy Note series (which has now been consolidated intofamily) also suggests that there is an audience for styluses. I have to admit that I don’t use the S Pen Galaxy S22 Ultra very often. But I found it useful for taking notes during meetings or quickly capturing ideas when I’m writing a review and I happen to be away from my computer.
Again, it wouldn’t make sense to just extend the compatibility of the current Apple Pencil to the iPhone Pro Max. Instead, Apple should design a smaller version of the Pencil with a smaller tip that’s better suited for a phone-sized screen.
A win for Apple and its customers
With or without these features, the iPhone Pro Max is already a hit. According to data from Counterpoint Research, the iPhone 12 Pro Max was the second best-selling phone in the world in 2021.
There is clearly a demand for larger iPhones, asthat Apple will do it with another 6.7-inch iPhone this year.
But why not do more with Pro Max? It would be a great way for Apple to further differentiate the Pro Max from its smaller, cheaper iPhones. Additional software features would also give owners more for the price, while the Pencil would give Apple another opportunity to make money from current iPhone Pro Max owners. It seems to be a win-win scenario.
The iPhone Pro Max’s lack of multitasking and Apple Pencil support aren’t necessarily flaws. But Apple seems to have missed the opportunity.