My Thoughts on the Apple announcement, and What I’d Like to See on iPhone 15
I watched Apple’s latest announcement a week ago on the new AirPods, Apple Watch, and last but not least, the iPhone 14, and I have a few thoughts. At least when it comes to the new AirPods and Apple Watch, they’re brief.
As a wearable user since the Pebble, when I switched back to an iPhone with the 11 in October 2020, I realized quickly that if I wanted to continue to have a smart device on my wrist, it would need to have an Apple logo on it, so I bought the first generation SE. And it’s… fine. I miss having an eInk display so I don’t have to flick my wrist dramatically to get the screen to turn on. An eInk display delivers always-on functionality without needing to fork over more cash to Apple to get the upgraded model, plus the battery lasted a lot longer. I could get nearly a week of battery life from my Pebble, and a month out of my Amazfit Bip. This SE gets almost a 20 hours. That’s a dramatic decrease. When Pebble died, I tried hopping on the Android Wear train with a Fossil watch, which was terrible as it was insanely slow with a similarly terrible battery life. Regardless, the Apple Watch gets the job done. I just want to check the time and date, maybe the weather, notifications, and having the ability to walkie-talkie people is kind of fun. Is it $249 fun? No. Is it worth upgrading? Not in my opinion.
And AirPods, yeah I get it, it’s nice being wire-free. Would I like them? Yes, but not for $120. Especially when they can very easily be lost.
So that leaves the iPhone 14. Now, as a 12 Pro Max user, you might think I’d be itching at this point to update. And no, I’m not. Frankly, the only reason I’m on a 12 Pro Max is because T-Mobile had a really good deal if I traded in my 11, which I was happy with. I got more than I would’ve had I sold it myself, $400, plus T-Mobile’s horrible trade-in value of about $120. Plus, I had been wanting the Pro’s fancier camera and the Max’s gigantic display, just without paying the extra price, so it was a no-brainer. But since I have the phone size I want, the better camera, and a battery that still lasts the whole day, I really have no interest in upgrading. However, there was ONE thing I wanted to see. The one thing that has me peeking over the fence at Samsung’s house: periscope zoom.
I have a Sony a6400 for when I want to take better phones, but I also have two other cameras in my bag. They won’t necessarily take a better than either the iPhone or the Sony, but they fill a niche that I would very much like for my phone to take over: long zoom. The 12 Pro Max’s telephoto lens is a nice step-up from my 11, but it is no where near the zoom I get from my Sony HX99’s 30x zoom and Panasonic FZ80’s 60x zoom. Now, they’re not great for taking photos you’d want to hang on your wall, but for quick shots that you can’t reach with a camera phone, it’s better than nothing. And it’s great for video which is far more forgiving with a lesser quality. I recorded some great video clips from baseball games over the summer that I couldn’t get with my phone.
Again, the HX99 and the FZ80 can’t take a superior shot compared to a modern phone at any focal length with their high aperture and small sensors, at least not without editing. And while my 12 Pro Max has a smaller sensor than these cameras, the phone’s processing power can produce a far better image. And when I see the photos that come from the periscope lens on a Samsung Galaxy, it looks far cleaner than my point-and-shoot cameras, and it fits in your pocket a lot easier than the HX99.
So, when I heard the rumors of a 48-megapixel camera on the 14, I assumed what better way to pair that than with much longer zoom. That didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, the camera upgrades look fantastic, but it’s not enough to get me to upgrade. And while the Dynamic Island is intriguing (and oddly named), it too is not enough, no matter how much I hate looking at the notch.
So if anyone at Apple is listening, if you want me to consider a 15, I do have a few things I’d like to see, with the periscope lens as the biggest. Beyond that, most of my concerns are software related, specifically RCS messaging. Now I know Tim Apple made his joke when asked why Apple doesn’t support RCS, but really there’s no good answer to why they don’t. I would very much like to be able to text message any phone, regardless if they are a blue or green bubble, and have the experience be similar. For him to say RCS isn’t a highly requested feature is only true because most people don’t know what RCS is. Once you explain that it’s iMessage for every other phone, you’ll quickly find support. And in general, a de-junking of iOS would be nice. While I don’t have a ProMotion display, something I’d very much like to have, iOS could be a lot more smooth with animations and scrolling than it currently is.
Until then, the 12 Pro Max will be my device of choice. As someone who for almost ten years hasn’t owned one phone longer than a year, it will be interesting to see what this feels like.