I have been gone for months, letting this blog lag and rot. Not much has been happening in my personal life to discuss, nor have any local or national events that happened in the last few months interested me enough to detail my thoughts, whether as a man, a transsexual, or the intersection of being both. I’ve instead been journaling my thoughts, basically BS that I often just repeat or ramble on and on in a quality unbefitting of a public-facing blog. Hosting everything myself allows me to use my site in additional ways you don’t see, so I haven’t completely unused it. Anyways…

Last week I plunged and splurged, upgrading my iPhone 13 mini for the 14 Pro Max. Let me get this out of the way; there is NOTHING wrong or bad with the Mini. I loved its small size—the nostalgia factor for the iPhones of the Steve Jobs era, how easy it was to use one-handed, how it could easily fit into the same back pocket with my EDC box knife, how the Wallet attachment could match up with the edges and not slide all over or easily detach when entering or leaving my pockets. Since the first iPhone I’ve ever bought (the 5S), I’ve tried to keep to the smallest possible model, because I’ve tried to make sure I saw my iPhone first and foremost as a phone device, rather than as a laptop or tablet replacement. The only time I ever stood in line for an iPhone was the XS Max…which I sold two months later because it was “too big” for me, and eventually bought a refurbished 1st-gen SE. I tried to finance an 11, only to return and refund it a week later because while it was a bit smaller than the XS Max, it still felt “too big”. When my SE broke, it was cheaper for me to buy the 2nd-gen SE than to repair the lightning port, as Apple was going to stop supporting the 1st-gen model weeks later. (And then I literally sold it to get the smaller 12 mini, simply for the fact it was smaller than that SE, really than because of the bigger and better screen, FaceID, all of those other “upgrades”.) I would upgrade to the iPhone 13 mini a year later because the battery was soooo much better.

However, long since the pandemic shutdowns have ended, I’ve been using my iPhone more and more. I simply didn’t see it anymore as just a mobile device, that I would use mainly on the go or at work to communicate, stream music, or use for GPS. I was using her to watch videos while working out at the local gym. I spent way more time on social media, browsing, reading, work-related purposes—even at home, where I would primarily use my iPad. That small screen I long defended for mobility just no longer cut it. So…I traded in my Mini for the 14 Pro Max.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max was definitely worth the splurge.

Yes, this iPhone is quite hefty; I’ve also had to readjust the phone mount in my car just to adapt to that added weight. It’s harder to fit into that same back pocket with my box knife; the Wallet attachment often detaches, too, but the beep from my iPhone lets me know, and I will reattach it. I’m shimmying to reach the top of the phone, though I am remembering to use reachability much more if I am insistent on using one hand. Because I am using my iPhone way more, that bigger battery is lasting as long or even not as long as before. Updating from my physical SIM card to an eSIM (for whatever reason, iPhones specific to the US are eSIM-only) was a little bit of a challenge, because I had to do the process twice before service was accepted—despite what US-based techtubers complain about, as they are always rotating between new phones, it’s a process average consumers won’t have to worry about, as most only upgrade every few years.

The splurge was worth it. (I paid the difference of the cost for my new iPhone upfront, rather than finance, after trading in my Mini.) Watching videos feels so much better on that bigger screen, whether when on the treadmill walking, or when slouching on the lazyboy. It’s more enjoyable to read or view content on social media. The audio is louder, so I can enjoy playing music when on a forklift, loading trucks, showering, lip-syncing to uplift my mood. FaceTiming with family is also more enjoyable and immersive.

About that 48-megapixel camera…I’m not serious about photography. The LiDAR feature, however, helps me measure packages and pallets accurately (within about 1/2” or 1cm) when shipping to international destinations when I don’t have a tape measure on me. It makes scanning documents to email others easier, while the larger screen makes cropping and editing those documents much easier. The telescope makes taking pictures for quality control easier when I need to a close-up shot, without the jaggedness of digital zooming. Augmented reality is something so do use on occasion, whether it’s virtually trying out a new product, to information overlay, so having LiDAR make it more accurate is great.

With iOS 16 and this new phone, I can enjoy always-on display again. With AOD, the app drawer, and widgets, it’s now one serious less reason for me to even think of ever jumping over to Android again. (Sure, no USB-C support yet, but most iPhone users use AirDrop to transfer between their devices anyways, and it’s more about charging things. I think the whole deal is overblown; carrying an extra cable does NOT add any kind of weight to your bag.)

iOS produces an ecosystem that no other company has been able to replicate, nor does it involve any kind of DIY to make my devices be able to communicate with one another as easily. I stream constantly from both my iPhone and iPad to my TV from the comfort of my lazyboy or bed, while still browsing or using social media. No other smartwatch matches that of Watch with interoperability, notice updates, app integration. With FaceTime I can now even videochat with family and friends who don’t have an iPad or iPhone—while other services like Zoom and Skype also allow communications via a link and browser to non-users, I want to use what comes with my iPhone and iPad to initiate calls (and if I’m sent a link, I can always reply in kind and work through the Safari browser). And with the larger screen, it’s much more enjoyable and immersive.

It’s also great that Apple finally moved away from that antiquated notch and went to the hole punch. Dynamic Island, even six months in, is still in its infancy, as many apps haven’t integrated into it. All the animations are amusing, from FaceID verifying who I am, to charging, to playing music. I’m still learning how to interact with it, and I don’t really use any apps other than maybe the timer for “live animations”. Seeing the turn-by-turn animations, or the caller’s face, makes for quite some fun; and being able to control my music from long-pressing the hole punch, rather the control center, when in another app is a quite-needed addition.

If you got an iPhone that’s the 11 Pro Max or later, really there is no need to upgrade—just the desire or flex to having the newest model. Dynamic Island is just a neat gimmick, and you can still control media from the control center, or things like Maps and phone calls can still be accessed when in use from hitting the time in the upper left corner. Unless you’re a serious photographer or “influencer”, I really doubt you need a 48-pixel camera, and the upgrades are minimal at best—plus, we all know when posting to social media, your photos and videos will just get super-compressed anyways. Big additions like lock-screen widgets come on all supported models that can use iOS 16; if you have an Watch already, there’s no need to upgrade for AID just to glance at the time or see if there’s new notifications.

After three years of lockdowns and COVID this-and-that, I’m as mobile as I used to be pre-pandemic. I want the larger phone to act as my daily driver and entertainment hub. Something not just for calls, texts, emails, and some browsing and streaming, but something that I would definitely interact with on a daily basis.

Sure, I could’ve saved a bit of money going with an older model, but I couldn’t otherwise subsidize with my Mini and pay for the remaining balance in full, on the spot as Apple doesn’t carry in-store those older models anymore. I’m not patient enough to pay full price upfront, and then wait two or three weeks for the difference or trade-in value of my Mini to be mailed back to me. Sometimes it’s worth the trade-off.

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