In Apple's universe, does one size fit all?

When it comes to technology, we all want it all. But we all can't agree on size

Mar 29, 2016 @ 11:56 am

By Sheryl Rowling

In the Apple world, does one size fit all or does one need all sizes? It seems that every time I turn around, there is another version of Apple technology. Yet, it's not so much about features, it's all about size.

When mobile phones were first introduced, they were about the size and weight of a quart of milk. Sure, they were mobile, but not really convenient. Over time, the goal was smaller and lighter. Cell phones morphed from awkward encumbrances to thin, convenient devices such as tiny flip phones or Razrs. As technology mastered the smallest phones, users came to expect more. Simply making calls was no longer enough. Phones needed internet connectivity, calendars and an address book. But as smart phone functionality has blossomed, phones have gotten larger again.

Consider the ever popular desktop computer. It was revolutionary when first introduced. Prior to that time, mainframes were available only to large, wealthy institutions. As personal computers became more widespread, the desire for greater portability grew. Laptop computers provided a nice alternative. Now we also have the options of notebook computers and tablets. Yet, tablets don't have built-in DVD or other drives, and it isn't convenient to lug around dual screens.

When it comes to technology, we all want it all: convenience, high resolution, fast speed, voice commands, instant communication, apps at our fingertips and entertainment. But we all can't agree on size. iPhones range from 4-inch screens like the 5s or the new SE to the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 to the largest 5.5-inch screen of the 6 Plus. Some people like the one-hand ease of the smaller phones while others prefer the more readable screens of larger phones.

iPads also are available in small, medium, and large, with models ranging from the Mini to the new larger Pro, offering screen size options of 7.9 inches, 9.7 inches and 12.9 inches.

Is it better to have more functionality or smaller size? Is more functionality truly better? Is smaller size more desirable? Is it a personal preference or dependent on the situation? If you use an iPhone 6 Plus, would you still need an iPad mini? Are there occasions when you might want the huge iPad and others when you'd choose the regular one? As in life, I tend to go with moderation. When on the move, I use my iPhone 6s and an iPad Air with a modest 9.7-inch screen.

Sheryl Rowling is head of rebalancing solutions at Morningstar Inc. and principal at Rowling & Associates. She considers herself a non-techie user of technology.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video


How are broker-dealers helping 401(k) advisers adapt to a changing market?

Bryan Hodgens, co-head of LPL Financial's Retirement Partners group, says the industry is getting much better at connecting advisers to wealth management opportunities and helping scale their businesses.

Latest news & opinion

Centerbridge said to be in talks to buy Advisor Group

Advisor Group's independent broker-dealer network in the U.S. has more than 7,000 advisers.

The drawback of Richard Thaler's 401(k)-Social Security idea? Social Security itself

Observers think Congress would need to address Social Security's funding levels and offer enhanced protections for the concept to work

Social Security funding outlook improves slightly

Retirement reserves extended one year; disability fund by 20 years

IBD report: Another impressive year

Despite a stock market decline, revenue is up. And the streak isn't expected to end anytime soon.

IBDs with the most CFPs

How many of the more than 83,000 certified financial planners are employed by the big independent broker-dealers?


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print