Finding Delight

My black iPhone 5 has always been my favorite iPhone as a physical object: I love how it looks, and the size and weight are pretty much perfect as far as I’m concerned… for a phone. As a portable computing device to get work done on, the typing experience and small screen left a lot to be desired. I still love it regardless, six years after it retired from daily use. Slow as it is by today’s standards, even using it for development is delightful.

In the weeks since the event, I’ve been struggling to decide which phone to replace my aging iPhone X with - the mini, which is the roughly 5-sized and 5-shaped all-screen phone I’ve been hoping for? The Pro Max, which gets me plenty of real estate for getting work done and the best possible cameras?

The logical choice of course would be to get the 6.1” 12 Pro (in graphite, because for some reason I love the look of it in person far more than I thought I would) which would seem to strike a balance on physical size and camera features. But it would be a not entirely satisfying compromise, and the reachability of the screen is just enough worse than the X to make one-handed use awkward.

The practical choice would probably be the Pro Max - more screen area for work, top notch cameras, and the awkward size isn’t a problem because I’m not going anywhere for the foreseable future anyway.

And I did have some concerns about the mini beyond missing out on camera features:

  • Is taking the screen layout of the X/Xs/11 Pro and shrinking it down to fit going to be a problem for my not-as-young-as-they used-to-be eyes?
  • How is the typing experience?

I was still undecided after having had a chance to hold* all three sizes, though it did alleviate my concerns about the mini.

✻ Sort of. I went to the local Best Buy to avoid going to a mall and the phones were strapped down tight enough to hardly move, apparently to avoid people trying to cut the security cables. Perhaps if the staff were more attentive, or the mobile department were not right next to the entrance, they could have a more customer-friendly experience.

Oddly enough, it was all the excitement about the M1-based Macs that gave me clarity: I was having a hard time because unlike every other time, what I wanted and was excited about was neither the most practical option nor the top of the line model.

So I’m going with my emotional choice and getting an iPhone 12 mini. It is not the most sensible choice. I will find the size awkward when the time comes to log in to a server and make some urgently needed change. There will be times where I regret not having the 2x lens, or Night Mode portraits.

But this time around I’m trading some practicality for that little bit of delight that will happen every time I pick it up, turn it over in my hand, or slip it into my pocket. I feel like I deserve that right now.

It’s worth noting that the decision was made easier by having a decent camera I can make a point of having with me when I expect a longer lens might be useful.

I do have to wait for that delight - since I’m doing it as a carrier upgrade this time and they’re backordered, it’s not 100% clear when exactly it will show up.