Now there is new data about how the devices are being used, and it suggests a huge disparity in mobile data usage. Citrix’s newly-released mobile analytics report shows that owners of the iPhone 6 Plus, consumed twice the amount of mobile data as people using the iPhone 6. (Overall, iOS is far ahead of Android when it comes to mobile traffic. A research note from Piper Jaffray in December found that iOS accounted for 61.4% of mobile traffic in the US compared with Android’s 37.5% share.)
Many studies have correlated larger screens with higher engagement, and Citrix notes that usage of the phablet-sized iPhone is mirroring tablet use, with mobile subscribers spending more time watching video on the larger 6 Plus screen.
But there may be more going on that just video usage. Both phones tout very similar 8-megapixel cameras, but the image stabilization found only on the iPhone 6 Plus allows it to capture more detail, which translates to larger file sizes. BGR editor-in-chief Jonathan Geller recently posted full-resolution photos of the same dimly lit shot taken on both phones, and the 3MB photo he took on the iPhone 6 Plus was a full megabyte larger—a 50% increase. Multiply that by the number of photos shared to Apple’s iCloud, email, messaging apps, and social media, and the discrepancy could quickly add up.
Another potential explanation is much simpler: iPhone 6 Plus owners are early adopters and hardcore enthusiasts, and so the device is overrepresented for people who are glued to their phones at all times.