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How the iPhone 6 Plus is changing people’s reading habits

iPhone 6 reading
AP Photo/Vincent Yu
We just wanted to shed a little light on the subject.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s too early to tell what long-term effects Apple’s new, bigger-screened iPhones—the 6 and the monster-sized 6 Plus—will have on its shaky iPad tablet business. But according to Pocket, the popular service for saving web articles to read later on your phone, the new iPhones are already taking screen time away from iPads.

Specifically, Pocket found:

  • iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners are reading more on their phones. “Those with the 6 now open 33% more articles and videos inside Pocket than they did with a 5/5S, and those with the 6 Plus open 65% more items than they did with a smaller phone,” Pocket says.
  • The larger phones are cannibalizing iPad reading share. Previously, iPhone 5 and 5S users opened about 55% of their Pocket articles on their phone, versus about 45% on a tablet. With the iPhone 6, that changed to 72% of activity on phones. And with the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s about 80%—the same ratio seen among Pocket’s Android population.
  • But the iPad is still popular at night. “Regardless of which iPhone they have, users still reach for their iPads around 9pm for some late-night, bedtime reading,” Pocket says.

(See Pocket’s blog for some more interesting observations.)

A few caveats: First, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are brand new, so it’s possible this reflects new-gadget lust more than the long-term trend line. Second, this is one company measuring a subset of its users performing specific activities—primarily reading articles and also watching saved videos. It’s hardly representative of the entire ecosystem. And third, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated clearly that he’s fine with cannibalizing his own products. He will be especially glad to do so with the iPhone, which is significantly more profitable than the iPad.

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