I realised something over the weekend: I haven’t once thought about buying a case for my iPhone 13 mini.
This is unusual. Like so many people, I’d gingerly carry my new iPhone everywhere, and would only place it on super-soft surfaces until my inevitably delayed case arrived. Then, I’d place it in the case and breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Occasionally, I’d whip it out and caress the beautiful industrial design (stop laughing at the back), but it wouldn’t be long before that expensive piece of tech jewellery would return to the safety of its overpriced Apple case.
So, why have I left my iPhone 13 mini as naked as the day it rolled off the production line?
The joy of Apple design
As much as I have indeed joined the majority of people who cover their phone in some form of protective shield pretty much as soon as it arrives, I’ve never quite understood the practice.
This is why I would occasionally unearth the device from its case: I wanted to experience Apple’s design as they had intended it. And naked Apple devices really are quite something – this is also why I never place a case on any of my MacBooks.
It’s easy to poke fun at Apple (lord knows they give us plenty of opportunities to do so) but it’s hard to ignore just how impressive their industrial design is. This is particularly the case with the iPhone. Sure, I’d love to see a flip version or something slightly more inventive join the lineup, but the years of intense focus on building a chassis that is bullet-tight, flex-free, and totally devoid of a single creak is partly why we pay so much for these devices.
Certain manufacturers are edging closer. Samsung’s recent smartphones have significantly upped their game in terms of build quality, but they’re an anomaly.
Take Google’s Pixel line, for instance. They are wonderful smartphones placed at compelling price points and with what many would argue is the best camera system on the market – but they feel a bit cheap.
This is understandable – both Apple and Samsung have been at this longer. It’s a bit like the automotive industry; there’s a reason Teslas rattle across uneven road surfaces and feature questionable panel alignment; the likes of Ford, BMW, and Audi have spent decades perfecting the art of car design and construction.
After months – years, even – of ownership, Apple’s resolute focus on industrial design remains one of the joys of picking up your iPhone at the start of every day.
So, why hide it away?
Am I tempting fate?
I’ve already dropped this phone twice.
One of those times resulted in it submerged in water, upside down, gasping for air, in my toilet.
I’m aware that a naked iPhone is an accident waiting to happen. But as noted during the story of my iPhone’s brush with a treadmill running surface and that of the bathroom throne, this appears to be a tough little device; there isn’t a mark on it.
It isn’t invincible, though. I’m pretty sure that I’d be pushing my luck if I were to be quite so careless with it a third time.
However, there’s a reason I’m more confident to leave this particular iPhone naked, and it relates entirely to its size.
A note on larger iPhones
I have been absolutely blown away by how good the iPhone 13 mini is. I desperately hope this isn’t the form factor’s swan song; Apple has landed on a combination of device size, screen estate, and battery life which has made it the most useful, fascinating, and downright enjoyable iPhone to own.
There’s something else that has made it an absolute joy, though – and that’s the addition of the MagSafe Wallet.
I bought mine purely out of curiosity, but it has barely left the rear of my iPhone 13 mini since. As I noted recently, beyond its primary role of removing the need for me to carry around a traditional wallet, it also acts as a semi-case for the iPhone.
However, unlike the larger iPhones, the 13 mini is ideally proportioned for the addition of the MagSafe Wallet. It fits perfectly around its rear casing and extends to all three edges below the car insert. It also adds a pleasing amount of girth and grip; two elements that give me oodles of confidence while operating the 13 mini one-handed during a dog walk.
The same can’t be said for the regular iPhone 13 or its Pro and Pro Max siblings. On those devices, the MagSafe Wallet sits rather awkwardly (and, often, out of alignment) on the back of the phone, with a sizeable margin around the entire accessory.
That wouldn’t be enough for me. Indeed, it wasn’t on the iPhone 12 Pro; I felt the usual need to add a case, purely for peace of mind – MagSafe Wallet or no MagSafe Wallet.
Larger iPhones, by their very nature, don’t really suit being naked. They’re too large, cumbersome, and slippery to offer the same degree of confidence I get from my iPhone 13 mini with its magnetic wallet companion.
So, for the foreseeable future – and for as long as Apple makes their mini iPhone – It’ll remain naked(ish).
What about you? Are you a naked iPhone kinda person? Let me know in the comments.