The iPhone Pro Max should take signals from the iPad

The 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max and 12 Pro Max are the largest devices in Apple’s smartphone line. While both phones are significantly larger than the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 135.4 inch iPhone 13 Mini and 4.7-inch iPhone SE, they still run the same software as Apple’s smaller phones. If only there were more ways to take advantage of the gigantic screen of the Pro Max.

Fortunately there are. Apple should take inspiration from the iPhone’s bigger cousin, the iPad† Apple’s tablets are packed with extra features that make apps easier to use on a larger screen. The company even renamed the iPad’s operating system iPadOS in 2019 to distinguish it from iOS from iPhone. The iPad’s interface had evolved so much at the time that it no longer made sense to lump both sets of software together.

I’m not suggesting anything drastic like a rebrand to “Pro Max OS”. But I do think that both Apple and its customers can take advantage of new features designed specifically for larger iPhones. That could be all the more important given that Apple is rumored to be expanding its Pro Max line with a larger version of the iPhone 14 later this year.

That wouldn’t be easy. Changes should be made to bring iPad-specific features like multitasking to the iPhone Pro Max. But Apple already has a history of tailoring apps and software to specific products, as proved with the original iPad and Apple Watch† 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.


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

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The iPhone Pro Max’s large screen is ideal for concentrating on one app, such as reading or watching TV. But I’d also like to see some version of the iPad’s multitasking capabilities on the iPhone Pro Max. Being able to view more than one app at a time can save me from having to switch between apps so often.

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

If Apple brought any of these features to the iPhone Pro Max, I think Slide Over would be the most useful. Compared to Split View mode, it is a better way to use a smartphone-sized screen. You could devote most of the screen to one app while quickly checking another. I’d like to glance at my Slack messages in a column along the side of my screen as I use most of the iPhone screen to catch up on emails.

This is an example of an iPad feature that Apple should probably make significant changes to for the iPhone rather than adopting 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.

iPhone screen with widgets

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

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

One way Apple could make this work is by formatting 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’s 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 the iPad’s multitasking features onto the iPhone Pro Max is a long shot. Part of the iPhone’s appeal is that the software is consistent no matter what model you own, 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 actually introduced for the iPhone 6 Plus† For example, default apps like Mail and Messages take advantage of the iPhone Pro Max’s larger screen in landscape mode to display a column of message previews next to the currently viewed message.

We’re not getting any new iPhone Pro Max-specific multitasking features in iOS 16Apple’s new iPhone software update will be out this fall. But the update will introduce a revamped lock screen with widgets to see more information at a glance. While the new lock screen is available for all supported models, I imagine it will add some extra utilities to the Pro Max’s larger screen.

A mini Apple Pencil

Someone drawing on an iPad Pro 2018 with an Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil isn’t compatible with the iPhone, but it should be.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Yes, I know Steve Jobs famously ridiculed the idea of ​​using a stylus with a mobile device. But listen to me. The Apple Pencil has proven itself in recent years as a valuable iPad companion. Now it’s time to bring it to the iPhone Pro Max as an optional accessory.

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

First, consider the iPhone Pro Max audience. It’s for people who are willing to pay a top price 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 screen.

I imagine those who regularly update photos on their phones would benefit from editing with a stylus more accurate than their finger, especially since popular apps like Adobe Lightroom and Pixelmator Have Apple Pencil support. An iPhone-friendly Apple Pencil can also appeal to those who frequently take notes or mark up documents with their phone. The Rumors iPhone 14 Maxwhat would be a 6.7-inch version of the standard iPhone would also benefit from an optional pencil accessory.

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

Again, it wouldn’t make sense to 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 to a phone-sized screen.

A win for Apple and its customers

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, Pro 13 and 13 Mini lined up from left to right

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 world’s second best-selling phone in 2021, according to data from Counterpoint Research

There is clearly a demand for larger iPhones, such as proven by rumours that will Apple 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 differentiate the Pro Max from its smaller and cheaper iPhones. The extra software features would also give owners more for the price, while a pencil would provide another opportunity for Apple to monetize current iPhone Pro Max owners. It seems like a win-win scenario.

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

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