Time for the occasional fretting about phones.

Some things I love or have loved:

  • I love my iPad mini 6. It sort of snuck up on me how much I love it.
  • I loved my iPhone mini. I wish they still made those, and I wish they came with the Good Cameras.
  • I sort of loved my Mennonite-made flip phone. It has some issues, but it’s a nice device in a very “just does the one thing” sort of way.
  • I love my Garmin Instinct 2X Solar.

Something I once thought I loved, but have reappraised:

I haven’t missed my Apple Watch for one second after several weeks of use. It is feature-packed, nice to look at, etc. but I wasn’t using many of the features and I didn’t care for the charging hassle on vacation or long camping weekends. This last week when, on a brief vacation, I put the Garmin into low power mode and it reported 96 days of remaining battery, I swooned a little. Back in smartwatch mode and a few recorded walks with GPS, having not had it on a charger for a week, it’s still showing 23 days of battery life.

It does the things I liked about my Apple Watch: It has contactless payment and it shows texts and phone calls. But it’s a profoundly undemanding device. Time to go for a walk? Press the GPS button once to go into workout mode, once more to pick my default workout, and once more to start. Same button to pause. I was disoriented by the button interface for my first day of use, then it all made perfectly good sense and I don’t miss swiping a tiny screen, and I really will not miss it in the winter.

One ambivalent thing:

  • I feel profoundly ambivalent about my iPhone 14 Pro. The camera is amazing. Everything else is fine and all, but it makes my left thumb hurt sometimes.

Freed of the Apple Watch, the iPhone is also an anchor for one less thing: The Apple Watch requires an accompanying iPhone.

Now, I like iOS/iPadOS a lot. But it is entirely conceivable to me that I could live the parts of my digital life that do well on iOS on my iPad mini. It has cellular data, etc. etc. and I don’t tend to leave the house without a bag or sling of some kind, so I could do all my iPhone things with it and enjoy a better screen than an iPhone for reading stuff. Upsize my bag to fit my wireless Magic Keyboard and my Twelve South Compass, and I’ve got a work device.

Leave it all behind, and my flip phone is there as minimum viable tether … texts, phone calls. It even has maps and turn-by-turn — if I am feeling a little masochistic, anyhow — and a weather app. But the folks who made it are super privacy oriented, so it won’t do much else, and unlike a lot of low-end minimalist phones it doesn’t add a cheesy Facebook app you can’t get rid of.

I dunno. It’s just coming around to “New iPhone Season,” and I thought a little about how annoyed I am by iPhones since Apple stopped making the mini. Even the “normal” ones are a little too big to be one-handed without straining my thumb, and the big ones are barely pocketable but still smallish for reading. Comparatively, the iPad mini has a huge, gorgeous display.