Nothing can beat spending some time with your new iPhone
iPhone 15 has surprised me – it’s as simple as that!
I’d been all over the build-up to the release of this year’s new iPhone and thought I pretty much knew what to expect. If you read any of my stories about the iPhone 15 then you’ll know that there was a certain apathy – it sounded as if the changes were to be so minor as to not be that meaningful. I wasn’t hyped for this year’s iPhone 15.
But I was wrong – and for once I am over the moon to be proven wrong! It’s hard for me to put my finger on any one thing, but the sum of all the small parts is what makes the iPhone 15 so special.
In a year where I have been fortunate enough to try most of the new phones, I figured Apple would just play it safe and follow the tried and tested formula and we’d just end up with more of the same – just another iPhone.
Although subtle, some changes have made the iPhone 15 a winner and one that may yet go down as a classic.
More than skin deep
On the surface, my iPhone 15 looks almost identical to my iPhone 14 – putting to one side that this year I’ve chosen the 6.7-inch Pro Max whereas last year’s model was the smaller 6.1-inch Pro.
But then the small differences begin to surface.
The first subtle design style that has changed is the rounded edges that the iPhone 15 now sports. It’s odd how such a seemingly tiny change can make such a difference.
Similar to when a car manufacturer makes a small change to the front grill which makes the whole car look fresh and new, so it is with these rounded edges – it suddenly looks years younger. This is an iPhone that’s had Botox pumped into it and smoothed out.
And it’s more than simply lovely to look at – it also makes the phone a damned sight easier to use and hold. As I mentioned I have the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year so in theory, it should be bigger and more cumbersome to hold – yet the opposite is true.
I hadn’t realised how uncomfortable those hard, square edges were on the hand. I guess we had become so accustomed to them that we didn’t give them a second thought – that was how iPhones feel – but hell the new 2023 design feels great.
It’s a lovely phone to hold even for long periods it feels beautiful.
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Slimmed down iPhone 15
I have never been that worried about bezels.
A dirty secret is that it wasn’t until I started writing and making videos about Apple gear that I even realised it was such a hot topic. The chin on the iMac has never worried me, the colour of the bezels on my Studio Display has never been a concern and similarly, the bezels on an iPhone have not been anything I’ve worried about either.
But in another minor master stroke from Apple this year those slimmer bezels just work and come to life with those rounded edges. It still doesn’t have quite that wrap-around feel of the Pixel 7 Pro but it looks way tidier now, Optically the screen seems almost edge to edge and you truly forget it’s there.
Dynamic Island which this year makes its way to the entire iPhone 15 range sits much neater under these slimmer bezels.
As I said, all these small details begin to add up…
An issue of weight
How can such a small change make such a big difference?
The frame is what, possibly 5mm or 6mm wide, yet swapping that over to titanium has made a world of difference. I wrote in my last story that titanium must be the stuff of the devil, and I stand by it!
Again when you add the titanium rail to the rounded corners it all goes towards making the iPhone 15 a thing of beauty. I was out and about with the phone for about 2 hours yesterday and it was so light that I almost forgot I was holding it! The combination of the titanium and that it’s no longer cutting into your hands makes this iPhone about the most comfortable to use yet.
I had always assumed it was the glass that was making the phone so heavy, but in truth, it seemingly had as much to do with the stainless steel bands as it did with the cameras.
Also, the brushed titanium lasts the day better aesthetically too. Fingerprints are a thing of the past. As I mentioned, I was carrying the phone yesterday, case-free, and when I got home it looked as clean and fresh as it did earlier in the day.
As much as I used to think I loved the weight of my iPhone 14 Pro – it was so heavy it had to be good was my thought back then, in honesty, the diet that the iPhone 15 has been on works.
The design or construction of the iPhone 15 has been changed this year as Apple chases down its emission goals.
The back glass is now much easier to remove & repair – and feels different as well. I wouldn’t say it feels cheaper, but different.
Earlier this year I made a mistake when I said the glass on the back of the Nothing 2 felt like plastic (it is glass), well that’s how the back of the iPhone 15 feels to me now too. I think it’s down to that construction change – when you tap the back of the phone, there now sounds to be a gap. Last year, the back glass on the 14 felt as though it was bonded directly to whatever was behind it. It felt more solid. This year though, there sounds to be a gap – presumably to help with the repairs I mentioned.
The colour I ended up with, White Titanium, was not my original colour of choice. I had originally chosen Natural but come pre-order day Natural Titanium with 256GB of storage was already out of stock.
So, to make certain I got a phone on release day, I had to choose the White Titanium version and as it turns out it was the right choice. Much like the titanium frame, this colour doesn’t so fingerprints. The colour also has a deep iridescence and shimmer to it – gorgeous and practical.
Lights, camera, action
I have not had that much time to use the cameras fully yet, but from what I can tell they are building on the great cameras from last year’s 14 Pros.
I am not much of a zoom person, but the 5x 120mm lens does a good job as you can tell from the pictures below.
I will be writing more about the results the cameras give me over the next few days and weeks, but launching the camera is better and faster than ever now thanks to the Action Button. The first few times I launched the camera I forgot about it – old habits die hard – but soon enough it became second nature.
Some have mentioned that the Action Button seems to be in the wrong place – being at the top of the phone – and I kind of get what they mean. I guess in an ideal world it would be where the volume down button is, but it only takes a tiny shuffle to get your thumb on to it. And it works too – the camera app launches with no delay.
Although I have the button mapped to the camera, you can of course choose any of the 9 choices that Apple gives you – or even use shortcuts for an almost unlimited choice.
And in case you were wondering, the mute switch is now in your control centre.
Making it personal
All the changes that Apple has made this year have affected me too!
For the first time, I have made my iPhone feel more like, well, mine! Using Android this year I liked how you could refine the phones to better suit your mood or style. One of the criticisms of iOS has always been that you are stuck with what Apple gives you.
Well, with a little delving around and fiddling you can personalise your iPhone 15. I have decided to swap out the icons and bought a wallpaper pack. I now have matching wallpaper across all my devices and have decided to have only the three main apps in the dock on my Home Screen – not only does it show off the beautiful wallpaper design, but I love the uncluttered, free, fresh look. All the other apps are in my App Library. It’s surprising how many apps we build up and equally how many we rarely use! It’s a very liberating feeling!
I’ve only had the iPhone 15 Pro Max for three days – and I didn’t expect to be feeling as excited by it as I am.
As I wirelessly charge, funnily enough, the USB-C port is the feature I am least excited about – apart from the fact you can now use the ProRes video in a professional workflow. Hooking the phone up to an SSD means you can move files around now quickly and efficiently.
The battery life is something I am keeping an eye on – I seem to have good and bad day with it – that is something to watch.
Never has an iPhone made me want to personalise it before – but this one is too gorgeous to not be shown some love!
Yes, it’s early days I know, but Apple is on to a winner here. They got it right this year with the iPhone 15!
I’m now writing regularly on Substack too – informal stories about things that randomly cross my mind. You can follow me here.