Recently, the dynamic iPhone 14 Pro debuted. With it, iOS 16 released, rendering my teens’ iPhone SE and iPhone 7 officially unsupported. My iPhone 8 Plus — now five generations old — still works well. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” I’m not immune to upgrade-itis and am trying to stick with what I have. After all, it’s an iPhone. What more is needed, right? That said, my wants are tough to moderate.
Wanting to keep things simple, I minimized my iPhone, so it’s mostly a phone and an iPod — calls, texts, music, podcasts. I use it for a few other utilitarian things too, like the Camera and Notes apps. And I started methodically adding back a few features I had taken away, for example Apple News and Pages.
Minimal usage mitigates power drain. Critically, battery health is at 81%, just above the recommended 80% minimum. Battery life is decent except on workdays when I stream audio via AirPods for several hours; I’m usually near a power source anyways.
My iPhone 8 Plus performs with aplomb. Its A11 chip doesn’t seem sluggish even on the latest iOS 16. Basically, any currently supported and working iPhone should work for me. If I upgraded, I’d want a lot more, but The Verge thinks the low cost iPhone SE is all one needs.
“Apple’s iPhone SE is the small, low-cost phone that’s so good it makes us question the entire concept of $1,000 phones..." — Allison Johnson
Though having a dated design, the iPhone SE is an iPhone with reliability and quality. Apple’s other handsets offer more useful and nicer features, like MagSafe or Night Mode, and are certainly desirable. But I also don’t want to spend a small fortune for them when all my basic needs are met in the 8 Plus or could be met in the SE. Thrift for the win!
“The iPhone SE shines a bright, clarifying light on the entire smartphone industry, putting even Apple’s own top-end phones in sharp relief. What are you paying for when you spend $800 or $1,000 or even more for a phone? The list turns out to be more about niceties than necessities.” — Dieter Bohn
It’s like saying, “This iPhone SE lets you do all the Apple things for $400; this iPhone 14 Pro lets you do all the Apple things for $1,000.” Are the extra niceties really worth the extra $600?
Frugal, sure, but I wrestle with needs versus wants. On principle and in practicing contentment, I focus on my smartphone needs. But I’m human and sometimes cave to my wants — niceties are nice after all. Thrift cedes ground to Apple Marketing.
My iPhone 8 Plus has at least one more year of official support. As long as it holds up, I could hold off buying a newer model. But the longer I wait, the more I feel a need to upgrade; the battery will wear down eventually.
I won’t rush to either the fancy iPhone 14 Pro or the no-frills iPhone SE. If anything, I’ll likely pick a refurbished yet new-to-me model. Again, it’d be an iPhone; nothing more is needed…but maybe I’ll cave to some of Apple’s more flashy features. Either way, I’m sticking with my trusty 8 Plus for now — it just works.
Are you tempted by iPhone 14 Pro? Do you cling to Android? Or could you get by with a “dumb” phone?