September 21, 2023

Yesterday’s diminished Apple particular occasion was an entire ‘lot of nothin’ in some ways. However one system stood out. And I shall be upgrading.

I’m referring, in fact, to the iPhone 15 Professional Max.

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My present iPhone is a (non-Max) iPhone 13 Professional, which I bought in December 2021 after being sad with the Pixel 6 Professional I anticipated to make use of. Since then, in fact, the a lot improved Pixel 7 Professional arrived, and I’ve gone forwards and backwards between that and the iPhone, partially as a result of I acquired an Apple Watch Sequence in September 2022. However apart from a Pixel Fold drive-by in July—a close to miss—I’ve been utilizing the Pixel 7 Professional full-time since April, and I swapped out the Apple Look ahead to a Pixel Watch after which my Fitbit Cost 5, which does what I would like and will get a number of days of battery life, not 18 hours.

And yeah. That’s what issues are like right here, I assume: I transfer forwards and backwards between units and ecosystems. And I achieve this on two ranges. Personally, I choose the extra open Android platform and the alternatives it offers, although I stay open to the iPhone and a few Apple companies, with an enormous emphasis on the images capabilities. However professionally, I additionally have to sustain with the platform makers. And I skipped out on the iPhone 14s and iPhone 14 Professionals final yr fully. Which may be very uncommon for me.

Most iPhone 13 Professional homeowners would by no means think about upgrading this yr and for good motive: a lot of the enhancements to the iPhone 14 line are modest, year-over-year, and as is so usually the case as of late, holding onto an iPhone, or any flagship smartphone for no less than three years might be the candy spot. By that time, the improve shall be significant, as the brand new telephone may have 3 or extra years of enhancements.

However I’m not simply any iPhone proprietor, and whereas I resisted upgrading final yr, this yr presents a much less avoidable problem. And so I’m going to improve.

Whatever the timing, that improve was at all times going to be one of many larger iPhones, as one among my massive regrets with the iPhone 13 Professional is its small dimension. This telephone is, in actual fact, the primary and solely time I bought the smaller iPhone Professional when a bigger mannequin was obtainable: I beforehand used, in flip, the iPhone 6 Plus (with its flexible points), iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 11 Professional Max, for instance (and examined the iPhone X and iPhone XR in there as nicely).

The problems with an even bigger telephone are apparent: with its 6.7-inch show (iPhone Professional Max or Pixel Professional), it’s heavier/denser and extra unwieldy, and it could typically be laborious to hold round in a pants pocket, even for an enormous man like me. However I discovered the iPhone 13’s 6.1-inch show too small for my middle-aged eyes. Pixel or iPhone, I’d choose one thing between the smallest and largest shows, one thing just like the 6.3-inch Pixel 7/8, all different issues being equal. However I additionally need the perfect digital camera, and which means going massive.

And on that, I significantly thought-about shifting to an iPhone 14 Plus over the previous yr, a number of instances, in actual fact. The problems there, nevertheless, are apparent. Along with not having the Professional digital camera set, the 14 Plus was additionally working a previous-generation Apple Silicon chipset, the identical one in my iPhone 13 Professional, and it didn’t have among the then-latest Professional options, just like the Dynamic Island. (I feel it’s foolish, sure, but it surely’s price testing and reviewing.) And so I did nothing.

However now I’ve a brand new era of iPhones to contemplate.

As soon as once more, I thought-about the Plus. However whereas the iPhone 15 Plus has the larger display and the Dynamic Island, it additionally lacks the Professional—and now, Professional Max—digital camera set and another new options (like Motion button), and it’s once more utilizing a previous-generation chipset, making it a non-starter. That stated, I may save some huge cash going this route: the bottom mannequin iPhone 15 Plus I’d purchase, with 128 GB of storage, prices $899, about $300 lower than the bottom iPhone 15 Professional Max. And with my iPhone 13 Professional’s $480 trade-in worth, I’d solely pay $419. Not unhealthy.

However, no. It needs to be the iPhone 15 Professional Max.

Just like the iPhone 15 Professional, it comes with numerous benefits over the iPhone 14 Plus, and a few notable variations. The brand new Motion button, for instance. The extra highly effective A17 Professional chipset. 8 GB of RAM (vs. 6 GB). A superior digital camera system with optical zoom, macro, and LiDAR capabilities. And a USB-C port that helps USB 3.0 speeds (10 Gbps) and never simply USB 2.0 speeds (480 Mbps). That final one, specifically, is an enormous deal to me, although simply having the fitting connector makes a distinction too.

The iPhone 15 Professional Max’s titanium exterior building (additionally current on the non-Max Professional) permits a lighter weight, which may assist with the heaviness subject, although it’s price mentioning that, at 7.81 ounces, it’s nonetheless heavier than the iPhone 15 Plus (7.09 ounces). However the iPhone 14 Professional Max weighed a lot extra, at 8.47 ounces. And my earlier massive iPhone, the iPhone 11 Professional Max, weighed 7.97 ounces.

And the iPhone 15 Professional Max begins at 256 GB, not 128. That’s not an enormous deal to me, but it surely is a bonus, because the iPhone 15 Plus begins at 128 GB.

And there may be one really distinctive benefit, one that basically issues to me. Key amongst them is the 5x optical zoom by way of its periscope digital camera, vs. 3x for the iPhone 15 Professional and 2x for the iPhone 15 Plus. (My present iPhone 13 Professional has 3x optical zoom.) I first skilled a periscope digital camera, with 5x optical zoom, no much less, with the Huawei P30 Professional 4 years in the past, and its high quality nonetheless impresses. (The Pixel 6 Professional had 4x optical zoom, and the Pixel 7 Professional has 5x optical zoom, each with periscope cameras. And in response to rumors, the Pixel 8 Professional will proceed ahead with the identical optical zoom capabilities, giving Apple this opportunity to catch up.)

And there are additionally some detriments, none of that are particular to the Professional Max. As with final yr’s iPhones, all iPhone 15s solely include eSIM capabilities, so there’s no bodily SIM slot. This is a matter for me in Mexico, as I’ve but to seek out wi-fi entry there that doesn’t require a SIM card, and the provider I do use is SIM card-only.

It’s OK. I’ll at all times have a number of telephones. And that’s type of the purpose: over the subsequent two months, I’ll improve to the most recent flagship iPhone and Pixel. We’ll see which I choose utilizing.