When my dad called me a month ago to tell me we were getting new phones because we were switching cell phone providers, he informed me that he would be getting the iPhone 15. I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly. “Wait, you’re getting an iPhone?” I asked, twice. “Yeah, what’s the big deal?” he countered, as if this was normal, as if he hadn’t been a decades-long Samsung devotee.
After just over a month with his new iPhone 15, my dad’s got a respectable list of things he’s enjoying, and some things that he believes Samsung did – and does – better.
My dad loves Costco
My dad is the kind of person who goes to Costco for food and comes home with a new piece of technology accompanying the groceries that he bags in his thermal Costco-branded tote (he’d want me to tell you that it keeps the rotisserie chicken warm).
He’ll go home, unload the groceries, and promptly set up his new speaker/headphones/television that he’s purchased, and you’ll hear about how great whatever his newest piece of technology is the next time you see him. As a musician, he understands and respects the intricacies of technology that a lot of people don’t – he’s had a lifetime of pedals, amps, speakers, headphones, and microphones that have accompanied his guitar playing and singing over the years, making him an astute observer of what feels and sounds good versus what feels and sounds bad.
Knowing how much he enjoys and understands technology meant my interest was piqued when he got his iPhone 15 – I couldn’t wait to show him everything iPhone had to offer. The picture-to-sticker pipeline! Sent with confetti! The Notes app! FaceTime!
While he thought a lot of iPhone features were cute when I was showing them to him, I also knew he wouldn’t actually send anyone a text using invisible ink. When I asked him what he thought of his new phone so far – a question that came up frequently – he’d say that he needed more time to get used to the 15.
Now he’s had his iPhone for just over a month.
In preparation for this article, I shared a Note with my dad with which he could add his list of pros and cons for his iPhone 15; he didn’t use the Note (classic) and instead sent me a semi-sarcastic, semi-strongly-worded email detailing iPhone features he dislikes as well as iPhone features he appreciates.
The first thing he noted was the lack of ease when calling a contact. He points out that on his Samsung Galaxy, he was able to punch in the first few digits he could remember of someone’s cell phone number before the phone would suggest the contact to him; on iPhone, this feature doesn’t exist. He goes on:
By the same token, why can’t I type in Charley’s name and have it show me his number as soon as it recognizes who I am trying to bother?
This technology is 20 years old, Tim! Get with it. I have to go to contacts, search, type in a name. Sheesh, like I have nothing but time.
Fix this please.
My dad’s next point of contention with his iPhone 15 is the lack of widget and app autonomy, specifically in terms of screen placement. He doesn’t like that they snap into place row after row and that they start on the left side:
Why does iphone make me start them at the top, where I can’t reach, and then cascade them down until I can finally reach them? If that’s not stupid enough, they start on the left side. Each new row! Pardon me for living, but most people over 45 are right-handed. Please let me put my most-often-used widgets where I want to. I have to pile a lot of junk on my home page just to bring down my often-used items. My android had a pic of my grandson and I could place the widgets out of his face.
I loved this particular feedback because as someone who has had an iPhone for over a decade, I would never think about how the widgets or apps snap into place without allowing us more control over where they are allowed to go on my screen. But now that I am thinking about it, why is that?
His remaining gripes include the white-on-chartreuse color palette when texting with Androids (he has no idea about The Discourse), not having the ability to pinch-to-zoom allowing for increased text size in iMessage, a lack of numbers and symbols on the texting keyboard, a missing back button, and the iPhone’s clunky form factor. “Galaxies are sleek, modern, sexy. This thing feels like a brick.”
Gary’s good list
The first thing my dad listed as a plus was the ability to turn his iPhone 15 on by simply tapping the screen, which funnily enough, is something I only learned about a year ago. It’s a small, seemingly meaningless feature unless you – like me – had been pressing a side button to turn your screen on, in which case tap-to-wake is a revelation.
My dad appreciates how quickly Face ID works and said that swipe is “a lot smarter on iPhone,” something he has always preferred to use while texting, but claims that Samsung “wrecked swipe several years ago.” He admits that talking to Siri is less embarrassing than talking to Bixby, which is a funny thing to comment on, but it also makes sense: My dad is objectively a Cool Guy, and for better or worse, the cool kids use Apple products.
When it comes to wearables, he says that the Apple Watch is cooler than the Galaxy Watch, even though he doesn’t yet have an Apple Watch (but he will soon). He likes that the Apple Watch is square, and he tells a quick story about his neighbor, a hotshot techy guy, who only wears his Apple Watch as a prop to meetings because it’s part of the “online entrepreneur wardrobe.” Even though I don’t know this particular neighbor, the watch-as-prop story tracks. Whenever I see someone I know wearing an Apple Watch – or any smartwatch, for that matter – who isn’t a particularly active person, I wonder why they’re wearing it and for what purpose, except to serve as a status symbol. (Unless you have a GPS + cellular Apple Watch, in which case perhaps you’re using your watch to help you reduce time spent on your actual iPhone.)
I’m very much enjoying watching my dad navigate his first iPhone journey, but more importantly, I’m happy for me. Gone are the days of texting a photo or a video and knowing that the quality will be compressed and reduced (I know this is Apple’s doing). Gone are the days of having to FaceTime my mom because I wanted to show my dad something. Gone are the missing 30-second Spotify samples when I text my dad a song so that he doesn’t have to open Spotify separately.
Hello, Memojis. Hello, Find My. Hello, AirDrop – I can’t wait to show you off. Next up, my incredibly uncool younger brother (love you).
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