iPhone 15 Pro

At a young age, a passing comment by a family member about its strength-to-weight ratio captured my imagination and led to a fascination with titanium that persisted into adulthood. Unfortunately titanium is not frequently encountered in adulthood. When Apple announced the latest iPhone 15 Pro, which has an outer band crafted with titanium and comes with a natural titanium colour, my curiosity was naturally piqued.

I eagerly acquired the iPhone 15 Pro 256gb in natural titanium on launch day. As I unboxed it I was struck by two observations. First, it felt noticeably lighter than its predecessors — beyond its stated reduction in mass. Second, the natural titanium colour imbued the device with a ‘tool-like’ quality — it exuded a sense of purpose, more like a crafted tool designed for productivity rather than a device for entertainment. The material and colour would be a great match for the Apple TV remote, for example.

The camera improvements are subtle, but discernible. Most notably, portrait mode now operates automatically on regular photos — all you need to do is snap away, and then you can apply portrait mode filters afterwards. Additionally, the main camera now offers a range of focal lengths that you can alternate through without sacrificing image quality — a welcome addition for those preferring a 35mm focal length.

In terms of performance, I measured a roughly 12% improvement over the iPhone 14 Pro. While current everyday tasks will not fully exploit this power, the new tranche of AAA games making their way to the iPhone will. I am mostly looking forward to trying out the new Assassin’s Creed title, and the prospect of console-grade gaming on an iPhone a-la-Switch could breathe new life into the mobile gaming sector.

Finally, the biggest outward change is the action button, which replaces the traditional mute switch. Its versatility is a potential game-changer. The action button lets you trigger an action on your device when it is pressed, the very nicely 3D rendered UI for selecting the action gives you a range of basic options such as muting, opening the camera, toggling a focus mode — but the most powerful option is the ability to launch a shortcut. I currently have mine setup to streamline task management, reminders, and manually logging health data.

Summarising, the iPhone 15 Pro is a solid, albeit incremental improvement and as such it is undoubtedly the ‘best iPhone ever’. The changes in material, and the addition of the action button subtly shift your perception of the device as you use it away from entertainment, and towards utility. It will be interesting to see if this silent nag will have any long term impacts in how people use their device.

The best tricorder ever.

written by Michael on 2023-09-26