I used to have a pile of phones. And then the iPhone landed in my hands 12 years ago and that was the end of Phone Glee…for a while. But then things changed around 2013 when the Moto X dropped, and ever since, I’ve been prone to fits of dissatisfaction. To wit:
* I went for the iPhone 5 on Verizon, because they had the most viable LTE network in 2012. But their non-LTE network was slow and unsatisfying, and the battery issues with the Verizon version of the 5 once iOS 7 landed were legendary. I don’t doubt that was a big factor in casting my eye toward…
* The original Moto X, whose feature set in late 2013 included things like 2 GB of RAM, an AMOLED display or always-listening voice command that Apple wouldn’t fully get around to for years. And at 65mm wide, it fit a 4.7″ display into a smaller handset than Apple ever has, and the 2200 mAh battery is bigger than Apple ever managed to fit in a sub-5.5″ phone. But it was Android, and even if I’d been able to coax everyone to Signal (or even WhatsApp back then), the pace of updates was gruesome. It took over a year for Android 5 to be available and that was the last version upgrade it ever got.
* The iPhone 6 from work was a hair bigger than the Moto X, and thus just a hair too big. I kept being tempted back toward the Moto X, and as soon as the iPhone SE shipped, I threw the 6 in a drawer at work and never pulled it out again.
* The iPhone SE was perfect, and mostly snuffed the glee for a long time (not that I wasn’t tempted by the Moto X until it became completely untenable as even a shutdown-night device). I put in for work to buy me the iPhone X as a goof – and then they did. And now here we are.
So as it sits right now: the iPhone X is locked, and too large for me. A hair too big to be a hair too big, and yet because of the modern nature of phones, it’s the primary device and difficult to move away from. The iPhone SE is the perfect size and is perfect for travel (as proven in London, Ireland and Patagonia) but the 6S chipset and camera are starting to show their age, and there’s a real prospect that iOS 13 may be its last hurrah.
The next time I’m eligible for a replacement phone through work is 2020, assuming they still provide phones by then at all. But it would be locked again, which means international travel is a non-starter. If I lose my work phone for any reason, the iPhone SE (and self-paid service through T-Mobile) is the move until September 2020, when we presumably get a new wave of phones and iOS 14.
And that is when things get interesting. Because the Great Mentioner has a 5.4″ iPhone on the cards for 2020. If you follow the proportions of the iPhone X, that would be a phone roughly the same size as the current iPhone 8, but full-screen. And I wouldn’t even be that bothered about the AMOLED if it packed the same cameras (and computational effects) as the XR, along with replacing 3DTouch with a 2000mAh battery.
At that point, a 5.4″ iPhone, unlocked, would be enough. International ready (camera and all), plausibly one-handable, still more than big enough for video watching or Kindle reading or even writing a blog post (as I am on the iPhone X right now). And more to the point, it would have me down to one device. One thing that’s 100% of what I need instead of two things that are 80%. Which is really my whole approach to acquiring stuff in the last ten years or so.