Upgrading From an iPhone SE to an XR

Michael Tsai (whose SpamSieve I used for a very long time) writes about his experience going from an iPhone SE to one of the newer iPhones. I currently use an SE, and this paragraph on the tradeoffs between physical size and screen space is particularly relevant:

I wasn’t sure whether I would like the size of the screen. With the iPhone SE, I could easily reach everything with one hand, and this wasn’t the case even with an iPhone 6s. The iPhone XR is quite a bit larger. In fact, I found that it’s so large that I hold and use it in a different—unapologetically two-handed—way, and the adjustment has been easy. Being able to see so much at once is an incredible advantage. I’ve long known this on the Mac, where I’ve always tried to get as much screen space as possible. But, in a way, it’s more true on the phone because it’s so cramped to begin with. Modern iOS and apps are less information dense than before, and they no longer seem to be optimized for 4-inch displays like when that was the flagship size. I miss those days, but at this point I don’t think even a new small phone would bring them back.

FWIW: I shifted from Android back to iOS to return to a smaller form factor, and that very same year Apple released the iPhone 6, inaugurating a new “standard” size for the iPhone. I am doubtful that we’ll see an update to the SE-class size.

But perhaps that isn’t something to mourn too deeply. As Om Malik notes while surveying the advent of foldable phones:

We have gone from voice to app-centric form factors. The next form factor will be multi-modal and very visual. A device that marries a wearable, a pocketable and a hearable could become the catalyst of the next shift. Let’s use Apple as an example. Imagine an Apple Watch, AirPods, and augmented reality (AR) glasses married to a phone serving as an edge server. That could be the next form factor, and who knows if we would even need the intermediate device.

Jon Hicks on Using an iPad Pro

In his post “Using the iPad Pro as my main computer” Jon Hicks writes:

The iPad Pro wouldn’t have had any attraction for me if it wasn’t for the Pencil – it’s all about this ‘new’ input method. It feels just right. With a keyboard and mouse my hands are rested and fairly static, but something about designing on the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and gestures feels a bit like how the graphic design process was when I first started in industry. The Pencil could be a scalpel, chinagraph pencil or Rotring Pen, the iPad surface a paste-up board or draughtsmans table.

Jon captures a lot of what I love about using the iPad Pro (I had a set of Rotring drafting pens growing up, a gift from my folks when they noticed how much I loved to draw.) 

For me it’s not about replacing everything I do with my laptop — it’s more that for certain things (sketching/illustration, editing photos) the iPad + Pencil works so much better than a mouse (or trackpad)-driven solution. I often say that I think of the iPad as the accessory to my Pencil, not the other way around.