As I was going through my phone thoughts yesterday, I thought about the phones I really enjoyed and wish I could have kept. Those tiny GSM phones at the turn of the century, the SonyEricsson K700 (which I never got), the Nokia 6230 (same), my little Z520 flip, the L2 candy bar, the Moto X–
The numbers are starting to firm up on the iPhone 12’s smaller 5.4 incarnation. The iPhone Pro is going from 5.8” and 6.5” to 6.1” and 6.7”, and the 6.1” iPhone is supposedly being joined by a current-processor 5.4” phone. It basically has the feature set of the mainstream iPhone, albeit squashed into a smaller handset – and if you look at the iOS 14 beta and extrapolate, you end up with a phone that is actually smaller than the iPhone 6/7/8. In fact, it fits between the sizes of the two iPhone SE models.
Just like the original Moto X.
The original Moto X, which had smaller bezels than an iPhone, an AMOLED display, a bigger internal battery, always-on voice activation and commands – I said the main thing it was missing was iOS, and even then, there were features Apple has yet to catch up with. Or rather, had yet to catch up with. The ability to mix apps and widgets and not have every app on the home page and to have a list and search view for apps is very nearly the last piece of the puzzle. (The very last is the ability to customize the trigger phrase. I could tell the Moto X “Listen up, Friday” and get a reaction. Until I can rename my phone Cyrano, they’re still behind where the original Moto X was five years ago.)
But here’s the 5.4” iPhone 12, roughly the same size as that Moto X, with an OLED display and smaller bezels and (one assumes) a bigger internal battery* and always-on voice activation AND iOS with all the improvements 14 has to offer. I know what I said before about TouchID in a time of masks, but that was when I thought we’d ever be able to leave the house again, and I can get by at (checks list) the farmer’s market and the drive-thru. The bigger concern is whether a physically narrower display is going to work with my trifling vision (glasses get raised to look at the phone these days more than I’m comfortable admitting) and whether not-ready-for-prime-time features like 5G and some sort of under-screen fingerprint reader will be shoehorned into a package without a lot of space for it.
The good news is, I don’t *have* to do it. I’m still very happy with the new SE, I’ve gotten used to the size, I enjoy having it as *my* phone and the only feasible thing that would make it better would be a couple of permanently-hopping group chats and the elimination of all the work apps (even if it meant changing numbers). And I wouldn’t say no to being able to take it abroad and engage the eSIM on a lovely trip to Ireland or the Swiss Alps. At this point, if it’s a choice between upgrading to the 12 and obtaining the latest Apple Watch, the watch is the winner.
But it’s interesting to know that six years on, what I want is finally possible.