IPhone 12 Two Months On

After I announced my move to the dark side I promised that I’d come back and offer up some thoughts. I’ve had my phone since April 22 and have some opportunities to put it through its paces. Below, I’ll summarize some good and bad points I’ve found in my personal use case.

GOOD: Device runs very smooth on long uptime. After 30 days without a reboot, the phone runs as it did on day one. I brought a reboot to update to the next version of iOS and updates as well are very smooth.

BAD: Due to the device’s physical size, battery leaves a lot to be desired. This probably the largest bad thing for me but its more of a limitation of the form factor. The physical specs of the phone remain the same as other mainline 12 models, but with a smaller battery. Unfortunately this means 8-10 hours of moderate use is enough to nearly drain the battery. I had to really eyeball on my vacation to California and I am annoyed that I am doing that on basically a brand new phone.

GOOD: iCloud. The platform is very slick, its straightforward with a simple and clear web interface and very tight integration with the device. So far I am not planning on buying a higher tier and have considered syncing my files with my Fastmail WebDAV instance because I already pay for it and so I’d get a de facto 10GB instead of 5GB without paying for more service. The cost for iCloud is good though and its a compelling offering.

BAD: Some facts of the device are extremely well hidden in the OS and its a huge pain to figure them out. When I was diagnosing my father in law’s wireless network, I wanted to eliminate a problem with the wireless bands but nowhere in the device could I see if I was connected to a 2.4 or 5 GHz band on wireless. Best of luck finding the right iOS app to see all of this information. Android exposes a lot more information to me and I do miss that.

NEUTRAL/MEH: Adapters. I thought this was going to annoy me more than I expected but mostly the lighting to jack adapters basically “just work” and stay out of the way. I don’t like having to be aware of where my adapters are but luckily I haven’t lost any or been without them yet. That said, I can’t support closing off the garden and eliminating long-held standards. Furthermore needing to buy them produces waste and locks us into a proprietary format.

NEUTRAL: iMessage. It works very well and offers a rich text communication platform right off of the bat, as long as other devices support it. Too bad you cannot customize it at all though.

GOOD: FindMyPhone. Being able to see where other users are is very useful in terms of planning or getting around town or organizing travel. I think Google has a similar experience but its not nearly as tightly integrated.

BAD: FaceID. WHY WHY get rid of the Touch ID? In a world where I have to wear masks during a pandemic, the fact that I have to key in my PIN every single time to unlock my phone is bonkers. It was so bad that even in light of the security concerns, I still shorted my PIN because its such a usage hassle. This works better if you ….surprise, buy an Apple watch, because using NFC it can approximate that you’re the owner of the device but I don’t really find this to be satisfying because they eliminated a superior technology.

SUMMARY: In short, I am decently happy with the phone but I will be honest and say that I am not yet committed to buying another one. I am still living in the Windows/Linux world and I don’t really expect to become a Mac user. I understand why people love these phones but Android 12 is coming right along and continues to modernize the UI in a way that I find pretty encouraging, at least without any deep usage of it yet. I am glad I’ve gone to the effort of trying out the platform so that I can speak more comfortably to it.