Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Apple criticised for designing phones ‘too big’ for women’s hands

'It’s entirely usual to forget to design for women. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok'

Olivia Petter
Saturday 15 September 2018 13:47 BST
Apple event: All the new releases

Apple has come under fire for creating phones which are too large to fit in the average woman’s hand.

The tech giant recently announced the launch of the iPhone XS Max, its largest and most expensive model yet, which boasts a 6.5” screen size, an inch larger than the iPhone 8 Plus, which came out last year.

However, campaigners have argued that the company’s latest product - and several of its predecessors - ignore the needs of its female consumers, whose hands are on average an inch shorter in width than the average male.

Apple also revealed that they will be discontinuing the smaller iPhone SE, its cheapest model which had a 4” screen.

Feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez, who led the campaign to put a statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, argued that the majority of Apple’s phones do not accommodate women’s smaller hands.

“Apple has once again failed to update the only phone it makes that fits the average woman’s hand size,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Weak applause all round from my arthritic hands. Anyway I guess I’d better upgrade now before they DISCONTINUE the only phone that fits the average woman’s hand size.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Apple? Women. Buy. Smartphones. In fact, more women buy iPhones than men. DESIGN FOR OUR BODIES.”

Others have weighed in on the debate on social media, with Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker tweeting: “To the boys at Apple, we know you are all obsessed with size. But performance matters too.

In addition to the iPhone XS Max, Apple unveiled two further models with screen sizes of 5.8” and 6.1”.

Even these smaller sizes are likely to provoke discomfort, argues Criado-Perez, who developed a repetitive strain injury from using an iPhone with a 5.5” screen.

I’m not saying Apple is being evil and deliberately setting out to design phones that injure women by being too big for the average female hand,” the campaigner and journalist tells The Independent.

Apple Event: The big news in 108 seconds

“They are simply part of an industry - and a world - that consistently fails to remember that women are 50 per cent of the population.

“From medication only tested on male bodies, to iPhones that forget to include a period tracker, it’s entirely usual to forget to design for women. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok.”

She described it as “extremely odd” if the company isn't taking its female consumers into consideration when designing new handsets given that research has shown that women actually buy more iPhones than men.

“This is a great opportunity for them to step out ahead of their competitors and design a top of the range phone that women can use as comfortably as men.

“I really hope they grab it with both hands - pun intended.”

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, concurred that technology companies rarely design products for women.

"In so much design and technology development the default standard is always that which suits a man.

“Companies have got to get better at recognising that their idea of normal should account for all their customers."

The Independent has contacted Apple for comment.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in