The web has had some harsh words for this phone before it even shipped. Now Apple is scaling back production based on weak demand. I had pre-ordered new iPhone SE the morning of March 11th and it was shipped to my home on March 18th.

Previously, I had been a pretty happy Android user. I first switched over with the Samsung Galaxy SIII way back when and then bought the Google Pixel 2. Both phones treated me well for several years. However, the Pixel 2 was starting to struggle in terms of battery life. Normal old phone stuff. I had been thinking it was time to start looking for a replacement, but I procrastinated as it was still performing relatively well and I was never far from an outlet or my battery bank.

However, it was back in February when I was suddenly without a phone. I was zooming down the ski slopes in… Western Illinois when my phone’s screen decided to quit. I had mistakenly placed the phone in the “vent” pocket of my snow pants. The moisture from sweating must have got to it and it just went blank. When I pulled it out I could hear sounds but couldn’t interact with it. People were trying to call me and I couldn’t answer. All I could do was perform a hard reboot which ultimately got me nowhere. It was a flashback to when I was young and got separated from my family at a big event. This time, I had to awkward ski boot walk all over the ski resort to find my wife and kids. I nearly turned myself in to resort staff so that they could make an announcement over the loud speaker. “Come get your husband!”

Anyway, all of a sudden I was without a working phone. I felt naked. It made me realize how much I depend on my phone every day. I am no stranger to turning my phone off for a bit while camping, but to not have it in my daily connected life was totally different. Our household didn’t have any old phones laying around that I could just pop my SIM card into. The biggest issue was I couldn’t use text messages for two-factor authentication. I was scrambling through my firebox for backup codes.

Thankfully, my brother-in-law came to the rescue with one of his old phones, but it was an iPhone, an iPhone 8. I was very gracious to him for the loaner. I popped my SIM in and after a ridiculously intensive iCloud authentication process I had a working phone again.

It was a clean break from my Pixel. I didn’t have a recent backup of my phone, not that it would have mattered being on an iPhone and my Pixel wouldn’t even register when I plugged it into my computer. I did go to the Google Play store to see my installed apps so I could download and set them up on the iPhone. Of course there were a few apps that didn’t have an iOS version but I got by.

Besides helping my family with their iPhones, this was the first time in a while that I experienced iOS first-hand. First off, the iPhone 8 was still handling my day to day pretty well. Battery-wise, it wasn’t making it through the day, but I was just happy to have a phone. I was also impressed with how a lot of the apps have come along. Apple has been slowly loosening the leash on what apps can and cannot do while still keeping their user’s security and privacy in mind. Most noticeably were the improvements to Google apps that had originally sent me to Android. I was deep in the Google ecosystem at the time and the apps were quite limited on my old iPhone. I started to realize that this time around, I could get the best of both ecosystems (Apple vs Google) and that I didn’t have to pick just one anymore.

This came into my mind as I thought about what phone to get next. Part of what had caused me to procrastinate earlier with getting a new phone was that I just wasn’t very impressed with the new phones that were coming out. I mean, there are some crazy cool tech out there, but to me, a phone is supposed to be a phone first and I couldn’t justify spending that much money for a flagship phone.

Alright, thanks for hanging on this far. Here is why I bought the iPhone SE 2022:

  • I needed a phone and I knew from the rumors that a new iPhone was coming if I could just wait a bit. The web insists that people just wait longer for the next one, but I just couldn’t.
  • Buying brand new, with the latest chip and basic 5G support makes me think that the phone will be supported with OS update for a good long while. Fingers crossed.
  • While borrowing my brother-in-law’s iPhone, I found I could get my git/ssh workflow set up without too much trouble for my Obsidian app, allowing me to capture notes and having them sync to my desktop.
  • I’ve become hesitant in adopting each new Google feature due to privacy concerns. I am very much still in the Google ecosystem, but I am starting to wonder why the need to have access to certain things all of the time.
  • I felt the pressure to get phone access to the Apple ecosystem whether it be participating in iMessages or approving app downloads for my kids’ iPads.
  • I didn’t want to spend too much. I am not a photographer that needs the new camera tech. I rarely play games that require processing power.
  • Call me crazy, but I prefer Touch ID over Face ID.

Now a couple things that still bug me about the iPhone:

  • The lightning port.
  • I haven’t found a suitable replacement for Boost for Reddit app. I am currently using Slide but in my opinion, it comes up short.
  • Speech to text compared to Android is lacking.
  • I miss the ability to dismiss an upcoming alarm without completely disabling it.
  • Safari is the foundation for all browser apps. I use Brave and I suspect that Apple’s control over apps is preventing my sync from working properly.
  • I really hate how the home screen places apps in the top left corner. Widgets are cool and all, but I miss being able to fix the apps to the bottom where my hand is so I don’t have to reach. The smaller size of the SE makes this less of an issue. Yes, I know about the weird half screen feature.

There you have it. A long rambling blog post about my recent purchase. Apple, please don’t send this phone to an early retirement.

Update: I forgot to touch on why I got the 64 GB model. Apparently, that is too small these days for a smartphone. It has been almost a month since I got my phone and I have only used 23.9 GB. I almost immediately sync my photos/videos off my phone, I stream most of my music except for a couple downloaded playlists and I’ve offloaded the Apple apps I don’t use (e.g. Garageband). With the risk of losing or breaking a phone, I cannot justify using phone storage as much as some people do.