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I’m Switching to the iPhone

Posted December 27, 2021 | Apple iPhone | iOS | iPhone 13 Pro | Windows

After evaluating the iPhone 13 Pro for over a week, I’ve decided to choose reliability and certainty over unreliability and misery. But that’s not to say that the iPhone is perfect. It’s just that the iPhone’s flaws are less problematic than the many issues I have with the Google Pixel 6 Pro.

So let’s discuss that briefly. And I do mean, briefly. I just don’t have that many issues.

The fonts are not consistent. This one isn’t necessarily Apple’s fault, but the system-wide font options (notably Text Size and Bold Text) are not consistently used by apps, especially the third-party apps I use, creating a situation in which some fonts are way too big and some are way too small. Google’s apps, which I use extensively, are the worst offenders. In Google Maps, for example, the on-map fonts are huge but when you select a location, that details shade (or whatever it’s called) has tiny fonts that are much smaller than what I’ve configured at the system level. This problem makes Gmail unusable to me, as all of the fonts are that tiny, and so I’ve switched to using Apple Mail instead. Dumb.

Big fonts (left), small fonts (right). Same app.

Notifications are broken. It’s an easy thing to say that Android and iOS handle notifications differently, and even those not familiar with both systems would likely believe me if I said that you could adapt to either system easily enough. Which is fine, as that’s true. But what I don’t really see anyone discussing is that iOS notifications are literally broken. I routinely pick up the iPhone and see a notification on the lock screen—Weather telling me it could flurry in the next 60 minutes, perhaps, an email message, or a social media comment—for an event that happened hours ago, or even yesterday, that I already dealt with. This has happened so many times across so many apps that I can only conclude that it’s a system-wide problem. And it’s unclear why it even exists, given how obviously broken it is. (Having not used an iPhone full-time in years, I don’t know when this might have started, sorry.)

The Ring/Silent switch is stupid. For a product that was hamstrung by Steve Jobs’ fanatical desire to have as few buttons as possible, it is incredible to me that the iPhone still has a hardware Ring/Silent switch that mutes sounds and alerts when in the correct position. I know, it sounds useful. But the switch is incredibly hard to use, especially so when you use a case (as you should), and even more so when you have big hands/fingers, as I do. It’s also hard to see what position it’s in because it’s so small, and, again, that’s especially true when you use a case. So what’s the solution, you ask? Simple: do what Google does on the Pixel and put the phone into Do Not Disturb mode when it’s face down on a table or other surface. No button needed, just as you’d think Steve Jobs would prefer.

The notch is a vestigial screen space stealer. It always cracks me up when iPhone owners claim that they “don’t even see the notch anymore” because that’s delusional and it misses the point. Even the slightly smaller iPhone 13 notch steals an enormous amount of onscreen real estate, and that’s especially problematic with any game, video app, or other full-screen experience. And it turns the already on the edge of being too small 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro display into something that is probably 5.8-to-6 inches at best when I’m watching a video while on the elliptical at the gym, a time when every percentage of an inch really matters. A truly full-screen iPhone will have no notch and smaller or no bezels, and it’s hard not to get excited about that day. Which is not today.

The sides are hurty. After years of using more comfortable, curved sides in its iPhones (versions 6 through 11), Apple returned to the unfriendly, hard edges sides it first debuted with the iPhone 4. I sort of get it, because this look is iconic. But you only have to hold an iPhone 13 in your hands to understand the problem: those edges are literally painful to hold, especially the bottom edge, which in my case rests on my now-sore pinky when held normally. To combat this, I fidget with the iPhone a lot, and I am trying to adopt a different way of holding it. Yep, you guessed it. I’m holding it wrong, as Steve Jobs claimed back in 2010. Sadly, the Apple leather case I use doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s possible a case with more cushion might.

And that’s pretty much it. At least all I think can think of now, anyway.

When you compare these issues to what I experienced on the Pixel 6 Pro—a slow and unreliable in-display fingerprint reader, an unnecessarily curved display with adaptive brightness problems, its size and bulk, and its too-slow “fast” charging—you can see the differences. The iPhone issues are mostly picky, the types of things you mention only because the basics are so solid. But the Pixel problems are mostly endemic, or at least unlikely to be fixed by software updates.

And so here we are.

In the future, I’ll discuss the broader Apple ecosystem. And then I’ll be reviewing the iPhone 13 Pro as well, of course.

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