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iOS & iPhone 15 Pro Max – the almost perfect platform

I’m not saying it’s without its flaws, but now I know why iOS is right for me

iPhone and iOS - almost perfect

iOS makes the headlines every fall when we get that year’s major update but for many months of the year it kinda just sits there in the background just doing its thing.

I’m as guilty as the next person for overlooking it too, but then yesterday I realised that to some degree my iPhone 15 Pro Max is only as good as the platform it runs on – iOS.

Earlier this year I thought I was getting tired of iPhone and iOS and dabbled with Android. I wanted it to work – I really wanted it to work. I gave it a good go and whilst it teased and toyed with me it didn’t take me away for good – and now I think I’ve sussed what that is…

They didn’t think it through…

My first taste of Android was when I borrowed a Pixel 7 Pro during the early part of the summer.

I liked what I saw so much that I bought the Pixel 8 Pro when it came out.

The design was fresh – to my eyes at least. Part of the problem was last year’s iPhone – the 14 Pro. I didn’t realise it at the time but in many ways, it was just not a good phone – no that’s not fair – it was a good enough phone but it just had enough going against it that I began not to like using it.

I don’t think it was iOS that I was getting jaded with – but the phone itself.

Part of its problem was of my own making – I bought the smaller 6.1-inch iPhone Pro and not the larger Pro Max. I say it was my fault, but my hand was sort of forced…

The only iPhones available on the launch weekend with enough storage in the UK at least were the Pro’s – the Pro Max’s were on backorder. So yes, I did choose the Pro but only because the Pro Max wasn’t available – so technically it wasn’t my fault if you see what I mean…

I bought the 14 Pro with video very much on my mind. The idea was that I’d use it as the camera for my YouTube channel and I intended to shoot in ProRes.

Well, that little dream didn’t last too long!

It was all well and good that Apple gave us ProRes but it turned out to be a tease and feature that was almost unusable. I guess if you only shoot very short social videos with ProRes on last year’s iPhone then you’d get away with it. 10-bit ProRes files are huge – a minute of 4K video at 24FPS is around 6 GB.

I always assume that Apple thinks of everything but last year they proved that either they hadn’t thought everything through or they were aware of the shortcomings of ProRes but decided to ship it anyway. Whatever the truth was ProRes on iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max was doomed for professional use from the get-go because of the bottleneck it caused.

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Lightning but no thunder

The bottleneck of course was storage and file transfer.

If you planned on shooting professionally with ProRes then you’d need to spec your phone with a good amount of storage on it. Even if your file management is perfect and you delete files from the iPhone the moment you’ve got them off the phone you’d still need space for temporary storage – 10 minutes of ProRes video equates to around 60 GB. That also becomes an expensive choice – we know how Apple loves to charge for storage. My 1 TB iPhone 14 Pro was a hefty £1700!

But even with copious amounts of storage, it was a real struggle to ever get the files off the phone. Initially, I tried the easy route – AirDrop – that was quite obviously a no-no.

Okay – so then I thought the lightning cable would do the trick…but with speeds of 480 Mbps (USB 2) again that was soon trashed.

The only way I could get 10 or 15-minute ProRes files over to the Mac was using Image Capture – yup, I’d forgotten it was there as well! It did work but geez it was slow!!

iPhone design

The design was also a letdown.

The screen size to one side – those square edges were mighty uncomfortable if you were holding the phone for any length of time. And although bezels have never troubled me the thickish bezels and the smaller screen just looked clumsy.

The 14 Pro felt less than premium. The colours on offer weren’t great and the front glass tended to scratch too easily (a problem they still haven’t addressed on the iPhone 15s). It felt as if the 14 Pro was left a bit unfinished.

And then there was Pixel. It tottered into my life with this giant almost wrap-around infinity screen and it felt and looked high-end. The screen itself put the iPhones to shame – it was brighter, sharper and somehow punchier.

I’d started to find ways to work with the Pixel and a Mac – nowhere near as seamless as it is with iPhone & Mac of course but they were good enough.

The cameras were very comparable – so too was the video particularly taking into account the ProRes problems I’ve already described. Android felt quick and snappy and overall it was a good phone to use.

So was I about to pivot? For a time I genuinely thought so…for a time but then the penny began to drop – well that and the iPhone 15 came along just at the right time.

Android games

Part of the ‘fun’ and appeal of Android I was told that you could tweak and personalise your phone – you could make an Android feel unique – a one-off.

So I spent a few nights on the sofa playing with new wallpapers, layouts and app configs. I even went on the Playstore and bought some bits and bobs as well – whenever I try something I go all in at it. I honestly thought I wanted or needed a fresh start.

But then it dawned on me – playing with app layouts and wallpapers just wasn’t me! If a phone is going to reflect your personality – then Android wasn’t me. I realised I didn’t give a flying fig about all that stuff – I needed form over fancy features.

Using my phone in a professional arena means I need to get stuff done – and that is where the iPhone wins out. If that means by implication that I am a bit of a dullard – so be it. While some sit playing I’m working.

Once that had dawned on me the appeal of Android started to wear off pretty quickly.

15 reasons…

Apple has nailed it this year with the 15 Pro Max.

All the bits I’d started to dislike about the 14 Pro had been put right this time around. I played my bit by making certain to tick the Pro Max box and get the bigger screen, but after that, it was all Apple – they had listened and delivered.

The thin almost invisible bezels made the screen appear as if it were edge-t-edge. Those sharp edges had been replaced by unctuous flowing curves. The tactility of the iPhone 15 Pro Max is amazing. That titanium rail we’d heard all about does more than simply making a huge saving to the weight – it feels bloody amazing and remains fingerprint-free day long.

Whether or not Apple’s hand was forced into dropping the lightning port or not is to miss the point in my opinion. Even if they were following the EU’s mandate the way the USB-C port has been integrated is the stuff of genius.

Recording ProRes directly to an external SSD makes using the CODEC both viable and quick. The Pro moniker has never been more deserved than on this phone. Now that I have kind of got my head around shooting log and how to process it in post has seen me transition to using the iPhone 15 Pro Max as my main camera on the channel over the past 3 or 4 videos. I am using a phone in place of my Canon. I’ve even had comments asking me what I’m shooting on – and that has never happened before.

I am glad I tried Android – it made me realise what I wanted from my phone.

It turns out that getting the job done is more important than playing with app layouts. Each to their own – Android is a great platform and the Pixel 8 Pro a helluva phone – but give me the solid, tried and tested iOS with the iPhone 15 Pro Max any day.

It feels good to come home…

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