Apple has, thank God, been dedicated to continuing to offer a budget ticket to its planet-spanning luxury home of entertainment: the iPhone SE 3. If they discontinue this useful element, I’ll have to switch to the iPad or back to Android, since the alternatives only have an ugly notch and ID the face that contains it. Fortunately, the new SE should carry reasonable people until Apple reconsiders its position on Touch ID, as it did with the USB-A and SD ports.
Why would me and other special people choose SE? Well, for one thing, it’s the cheapest iPhone you can get. For some, the argument begins and ends with that. For others, Touch ID is the watershed. But there is also a legitimate question about whether what you get when you pay more is actually worth it.
bigger screen? Sure, but that’s a burden for some people. The SE may not be as pocket-friendly as it was when it was the best phone Apple ever made, but compared to a lot of what’s out there, it’s pretty neat. And the idea of making it “full screen” didn’t appeal to me either. So the screen has rounded corners – where the buttons are supposed to be – and then a bit off the top? No thank you.
More and better cameras? Well, I don’t want to make the “640k should be enough” argument here (this one is for ’90s kids) but really…we’ve come to a stabilization point in camera quality and what you can get from a SE (and I’m talking about the latter) is More than good enough to do all the things we all normally do with these photos.
Let’s be honest: the only time most people see iPhone photos larger than their palm is at Apple events. Certainly, the camera in the iPhone 13 Pro is better. But everything on Instagram will be displayed for 3/4 of a second on a five-inch screen from two feet away. If you want to get good results from a phone camera, you can do it on any phone from the past few years.
What… computing power? Do you do a lot of video editing and FX on your phone? Or is it mostly messaging, social networking, and a bunch of casual games likely running on a high-end graphing calculator? While having enough resources to quickly switch between apps and not get bogged down by large web services is great, chips have long left that feat in the dust.
Think about what Apple says about its new processors, the A11, A12, A13 Bionic, etc., every time you step out. TWICE FASTER! Four times faster! Six times faster! These are cumulative, you know — by this point, our phones should be about a thousand times faster than they were a few years ago. Do they feel a thousand times faster? No, because the things people actively do on phones don’t Need It is done a thousand times faster. Of course, there are less obvious operations, such as computational imaging and language engines enabled by specialized chips, but performance hasn’t really been an issue on phones for years.
Then there is Face ID. Look, I know some people like this. But there are a lot of people who don’t. Part of it is the creep factor – your face, really? I suppose we’re just old-fashioned that way. But a large part of it is practical — there are many situations where I’d rather open my phone with my thumb, or one of my other fingers, than pick it up and stare at it. Situations where the opposite is true are few and far between, for me at least.
If the unlocking mechanism is an always-on face scanner, that’s out of your control. What if you don’t Wants to activate it? Placing your finger on the scanner is a deliberate choice, and it is a user’s stated intent that they want to unlock the phone. I can do this in my pocket, or while lying at my desk, with my hands. It’s simple – it works. Holding a phone and looking at it is something most people do half a day anyway – where is the user intent there?
Not to mention the design choice of having a single button and some secure grip edges, is a good choice. Since the early days of the iPhone, the simplicity that the home button has added has been the big draw. Whatever you’re doing, whether you’re on a call, a game, a work document… Press this button once and it’ll be gone, you’re home. Having a button is a file good Thing. Having a bit of an angle to grab that isn’t made of a touch screen is a thing good Thing.
I didn’t particularly like the iPhone 6-8’s design; Much like jellybean. Better than the newer ones though. I would have switched to the old 5S design or even the small form factor 13 without the bump, if only there was Touch ID. We had our doubts when it was first introduced, but it quickly became the method with the best balance of safety and comfort.
I don’t really care about any of the features that Apple has added over the past few years. I know there are many who will disagree with me, and luckily the new phones will be great for them. But as long as it’s an option, I’d go for the old school style with Touch ID.
Of course I realize that all of the above comes off as a little flaky. Good. I embrace the crust — and you can, too. Join me and let’s shout in the clouds together!