iPhone Nostalgia

Why do I tend to miss older versions of tech years later?

Photo by Anthony Choren on Unsplash

As the days grow colder and the holidays approach, work becomes lighter, and stress is low. More conversations and chit-chat occur in my department, possibly because projects slow down at the end of the year. We still complete our work, but there’s more time for catching up.

During conversations with my coworkers, we discussed Christmas and New Year plans, travel intentions, and what gifts each parent is getting their kids. Since I am starting to feel the pressure as my son understands what Christmas means more and more each year. During these discussions, we usually share plans and gift ideas visually through our phones.

Curious as I am, I always glance at the devices my colleagues are using. Surprisingly, many have iPhone 15 Pros, with a few on iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 Pro. It’s intriguing how frequently people upgrade. While we geek out about new iPhones and gadgets when they’re announced, we rarely explicitly share our upgrade timelines.

What caught my attention was later in the evening, as I used my two-year-old iPhone 13 Pro. It struck me how impressive a device it remains, especially after spending the workday on a Windows PC with comparatively lower-resolution monitors and a laptop.

At work, my cubicle has 4K monitors, but due to a long-term project, I often work in a co-working space with 720p monitors at best. Returning home and using my iPhone for extended periods, I appreciate its ProMotion and Super Retina display. Display quality is crucial for me, as reflected in my previous gadget reviews.

The iPhone’s display has not significantly changed on the Pro models since the iPhone XS, except ProMotion which came on the iPhone 13 Pro. ProMotion ensures a smoother iOS experience, and the high resolution of 2532 × 1170 pixels at 460 PPI on an OLED display is remarkable. We tend to overlook how visually impressive our iPhones are compared to the past, which is also similar to many Android phones as well.

Photo by Thai Nguyen on Unsplash

This led me to reminisce about past iPhones I loved, realizing it wasn’t just the screen but the overall hardware that drew me to upgrade. Despite the appeal of the design changes from the iPhone 12 Pro to the iPhone 15 Pro, is the latter more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 11 Pro?

While some mention the improved feel of the iPhone 15 Pro with its rounded edges and titanium material, I can’t help but wonder if it surpasses the comfort of the iPhone 11 Pro. Smaller bezels and enhanced cameras aside, is the current device more comfortable to hold and use compared to when Apple introduced the iPhone X’s design?

I briefly held the iPhone 15 Pro in the Apple Store shortly after its release, but it’s challenging to argue based on actual use. Conceptually, a rounded stainless steel frame appears more comfortable than a slightly rounded but squared-off one.

Old iPhone 11 Pro in all its case-less glory. Image by author.

This brings me to my all-time favorite iPhone — the iPhone 4. Its perfect size, aluminum band sandwiched between glass, and high-resolution display made it the ideal pocket computer. Despite newer favorites like the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPhone X, the iPhone 11 Pro, particularly the Silver variant, stands out.

While displays have become brighter and bigger, and new features like Dynamic Island and improved cameras are superior, the iPhone 11 Pro, especially when used case-less, was a dream. The wear and tear added character, and I miss the comfort of its rounded frame during prolonged use.

Nostalgia for old tech is natural, and though tempted to revisit the iPhone 11 Pro, I’ll likely stick with the fantastic iPhone 13 Pro. Progressing in technology is inevitable, but it’s worthwhile to occasionally reflect on the past and cherish what was once great.

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Jamie Larson