We’re reaching that time of year, folks; the iPhone event is probably only a few weeks away!
I couldn’t care less.
No, really. If there’s one piece of Apple hardware I’ve written about the least, it’s the iPhone. The reason is simple; I can’t think of anything to say about it.
Back when I bought the iPhone 12 Pro, I decided I’d conduct an experiment by running it for six months before switching to the iPhone 12 mini.
That never happened. Because I couldn’t be bothered.
In fact, the most fun I’ve had with a smartphone in the last 12 months was when I ditched my iPhone for a £350 Google Pixel 4a.
With iPhone 13 rumours beginning to intensify, I’ve decided to ditch the ‘Pro’ iPhone for a year.
Here’s why I’ll be going for the regular 13.
The iPhone 13 Pro (and, indeed, the regular 13) will come with a new super-fast chip.
It’ll be really fast. Like, stupidly fast. Better than anything the competition offers and the best iPhone we’ve ever made.
The iPhone 13 Pro will apparently have the same three-camera array as the iPhone 12 Pro. So, no big changes there.
However, supply chain leaks suggest it’ll feature a better sensor, improved zoom, and “more powerful LiDAR”. Sorry, are you still awake at the back? No, I said LiDAR. No? Don’t remember? It’s got something to do with augmented rea… never mind.
We’ll also probably see a better ultra-wide lens with an f1.8 aperture and a subsequent boost in low-light performance. Again.
I’ve just double-checked my camera roll, and the last three photos I’ve taken are of a cup of coffee, my girlfriend stroking a dog, and myself holding a pork pie (separate instances, I should note).
I don’t need a better camera on my iPhone. I haven’t since about 2017.
The new features
Let me quickly round up my opinions on the new features we’re reportedly going to see on the iPhone 13 Pro:
- Touch ID under the display or power button: why?
- A slightly smaller notch: we all got over the notch ages ago.
- 120Hz screen refresh rate: nice, but in no way life-changing.
- ProRes video recording: biblically pointless.
The above are the most likely-to-happen rumours I could find about the iPhone 13 Pro’s tentpole features.
The 120Hz screen is probably the most interesting, but trust me, as someone who doesn’t miss ProMotion now that he’s switched to an iPad Air 4 as his daily driver, it really has been rendered as nothing more than a ‘nice to have’ in my mind.
Ok, I really like the Pacific Blue colour on my iPhone 12 Pro. But, every single year, I always find myself longing for one of the non-Pro colours.
I have no idea why Apple thinks iPhone Pro owners are so dour and lifeless, but we’re always dealt such a boring hand when it comes to colour choices.
It sounds like it’s going to be the same story with the iPhone 13 Pro. The new kid on iPhone Pro Colour Street is expected to be bronze, which will probably resemble the shade you’ll find on your nan’s 1970s fireplace.
By comparison, you can bet your bottom dollar that the regular iPhone 13 will have some funky new colours. That’s what I’m interested in, thank you very much, Tim.
What Apple needs to do
Make it fold. Add a mini Apple Pencil. Do something interesting.
I am so bored of slightly improved camera tech, a new A[whatever] BiTriNeurotic chip, and endless faffing about with biometric security. Just like its inane determination to avoid experimenting with features that have long been highlights of other platforms, Apple needs to get over itself and give us an interesting iPhone.
Samsung is doing some really cool stuff with its phones at the moment, and I’ve always lusted after the Note, simply because it has a stylus. And, yes, that’s mainly because it looks cool (I know I’d barely use it). Sometimes, that’s all we need.
It looks like the iPhone will continue to be the boringly perfect brother among 2021’s smartphone lineup, which is why I’ll be saving some money this year and plumping for the slightly more interesting non-Pro version. Mainly because it’ll come in a different colour.
I might even get the little one.
What about you?
Actually, I’m a bit over flagship phones. I have a (an?) XS and it’s the longest I’ve had a phone, mainly aligning with your comments above, an upgrade is pointless for someone like me and a little boring. I’d consider switching to Android (I’ve had and liked Huaweis in the past) but every time I jump on the forums, while there are new and exciting things, there are also seemingly heaps of issues. The most boring part of iPhones is they just work. I’d love an upgrade but I’m done parting with AUD1500 for a phone!
Yeah Mark, I can relate to much of the “real life” actual usage of a smart phone you described so engagingly.
But before I get into all that, let me first offer a little context – possibly shocking, possibly not? I currently don’t use a “smart phone”. My current mobile, (or cell phone for our American friends), is a new, but old-fashioned push button “feature phone” I believe they are called. Why would I use something like that I hear you laughingly ask? Well, there is one simple reason. The reality of my own phone usage is such that on the occasions I do actually use my mobile, (and I do mean “occasions”), it is never for anything other than making or receiving calls or texts. Or at least, that was the case up to the last eighteen months or so. Now, I do increasingly see the need to carry a device that will be able to receive push notifications, or indeed be able to access the internet easily. Hardly bleeding-edge technology, I think you would agree. That personal context provided, I am a keen consumer tech observer, and have a certain admiration for some of the products offered by Apple. Anyway, back to Smart phones.
Being interested in consumer tech, I watch as we all do, Apple and their often high-quality innovation. Predictably, this combined with their slick corporate marketing of devices has me easily convinced of how I will most definitely be shooting and recording Hollywood, Oscar nominated material anytime I’m out and about. Yeah, right! And for those readers who are still reading this, yes I do understand their is a difference between photo & video. But, you get my point.
The New Features
Why Touch ID? I guess a sense of choice between Touch and Face ID for the user, and also getting around those “pesky” masks that are so fashionable for a particular reason at the moment. The notch! Oh, you really got me going on this one. I never saw anything particularly wrong with the notch apart from the hysteria that was generated on YouTube because some users didn’t like it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the notch up to now is far better looking than the rumoured smaller notch for the next iPhone. There is something about the speaker being crammed into the top border of the screen that just doesn’t sit well with me at all. I’ll be straight – an adaptive 120Hz screen refresh is very nice, (and some would say well overdue). But that said, I don’t have the benefit of your experience. Pro Res video recording? A must for my next Hollywood block buster about queuing outside my local take-away for a bag of chips. I refer you to the earlier admission about my real usage above. Very nice, but will I ever take advantage of it??
I would like a top-spec iPhone in Gold. But, not with a White back to all intents and purposes as to be found on the i Phone 12. I can’t be more honest than that.
What Apple Needs To Do?
I don’t mind boring. In fact my experiences of the opposite to boring in tech terms could be pretty accurately described as panic when it doesn’t work, and you don’t know why? Give me boring, reliable, and dependable any day of the week. There is one thing Apple should unarguably have done with all their iPhones a few years ago. And yes, I’m going to join the chorus of many others on this one because of its legitimacy – USB-C on the iPhone!! Just do it Apple. (C’mon EU).
So there you have it! Just my humble thoughts as an interested observer of iPhones.
I bought the 12 pro max when it came out for several reasons. First is I like new shiny things. Second is my near field eyesight is not what it was and the bigger screen was useful for me ( Had the iPhone X previously, my wife now has that). Third and more importantly was the camera. Whilst Im not a super keen photographer I do like taking photos. I have the much lauded “big camera” for taking those perfect shots when out and about, on holiday etc. But guess what, it’s never with me when I want it, so I use my phone. Sooo many people on YouTube laud the Canon this, the Nikon that etc. But to my eye you can take 95% of what they do on an iPhone and be extremely happy with the results. So my “big” camera will be up for sale soon, and if the new shiny 13 pro max or whatever its called has a significantly better camera then I might go for it, otherwise the 12 pro max I have will do me until the next big upgrade on mobile photography comes along.
I got the iPhone 12 mini. I usually upgrade every other year when my contract is up for renewal so iPhone 13 wasn’t really in the cards for me. And unless something dramatic happens I’ll probably stick with the 12 mini a few more years simply because it just suits me. I rarely do much on it except talk, text and pay for stuff and its plenty fast for that and will have iOS support for many years. Maybe iPhone has hit the iPad plateau phase?
I have an iPhone 12 (I’m not going out much during the pandemic. Why bother with a better camera?). There’s no reason to upgrade from that after just one generation. Smartphones are boring now. All the low hanging fruit is likely gone. The really hard stuff takes years to get any return on. When was the last time you were really that much more excited about your laptop? Your TV? Smartphones are at that plateau point now. Sure, you can go for some Android models that have certain features but it ends up being gimmicky after the newness wears off. A folding phone is something I will just use as a regular phone after unfolding it. It doesn’t fundamentally change how I interact with the device. Apple and others are looking for the next big thing, hence its push into services lately.