I’ve used iPhones of various sizes throughout the years. My first smartphone was a 3.5-inch iPhone, and I’ve owned every size screen since—the 4-inch iPhone 5s, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s, the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, the 5.8-inch iPhone X, the 6.1-inch iPhone 11, and, most recently, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 small.
So, when the iPhone 13 was out, I automatically got the one that wasn’t on the list: the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. That’s 1.3 inches larger than the iPhone 12 mini I’d been using for the previous 11 months, so it took some getting used to. But, in addition to the size and weight—both of which are important obstacles to overcome—I’ve discovered some interesting distinctions between Apple’s smallest and largest iPhones.
Phones can truly last all day
This may sound apparent, but prior to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I had never used an iPhone that lasted all day. With the iPhone 12 mini, I kept a charger accessible at all times to guarantee that I didn’t run out of power. That is not at all a worry with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a battery beast, easily going through a day of really heavy usage without falling into the red thanks to the larger battery, A15 power handling advances, and adaptive refresh display. I could definitely get through a weekend without charging if I used it sparingly. It’s the single most important reason I’d suggest the Max to anyone looking to buy an iPhone.
Stainless steel looks nice in renderings but is unworkable in real life.
Because the iPhone 13 Pro has the same design as the iPhone 13, Apple needed to differentiate it in some manner, so it chose stainless steel over aluminum, which looks wonderful in mockups but isn’t all that great in actuality. It’s hefty, it scratches easily, it gathers smudges, and, to be honest, it doesn’t look much better than the iPhone 13’s brilliantly colored metal. I understand why Apple would utilize a different material for its higher-end phones, but I’m hopeful that the titanium rumors for next year’s Pro models are real.
iOS should support bigger displays
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is obviously larger than the iPhone 12 small, but aside from the physical size of the screen, there isn’t much difference between the two phones. The usual Pro-to-non-Pro distinctions apply—better camera, better display, greater battery—but for everyday chores, the Max doesn’t provide much more than the small. The iPhone Max uses the same interface as the iPhone mini, unlike the Apple Watch Series 7, which includes upgraded UI components to take advantage of the bigger screen.
That means to say you’re getting the same icon grid, widgets, dock, and App Library. The iPhone 13 Pro Max could easily fit an extra row of icons, but Apple instead has a large swatch of blank space at the bottom go the Home Screen. The same goes for the Dock, which could fit a fifth icon if Apple wanted. So the only things you’re giving up with the mini are larger photos and a couple of extra lines of text. Apple should take a page from the Apple Watch Series 7 here and retool iOS to take advantage of the extra space.
Apple Pencil support is required for the Max
You don’t need me to tell you that the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a massive device. Its display is just approximately an inch smaller than the original iPad mini, with a 6.7-inch screen. A large display is terrific for viewing movies, but it’s also a great productivity tool for tasks like drafting long emails and editing images. However, you must continue to utilize your fingers for everything.
The Apple Pencil is a terrific iPad attachment, and it would be just as useful on the iPhone 13 Max. With a 6.7-inch display, it’s roughly the size of a tiny notepad, and a smaller Apple Pencil would be ideal for swiftly jotting down thoughts and marking up papers. Furthermore, it would distinguish the iPhone 13 Max from the rest of the range and position it as a pro productivity gadget, similar to the iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Note.
The tiny iPhone is deserving of a spot in Apple’s range.
According to multiple rumors, the iPhone 13 small will be the last of its kind. Due to poor sales, the smallest iPhone appears to be on the chopping block, as iPhone customers gravitate toward devices with bigger screens. While I enjoy the iPhone Max’s 6.7-inch display, I mourn the iPhone 12 mini’s one-handed use.
If the iPhone small is indeed being phased out with the iPhone 14 series, I hope Apple maintains it in the pipeline for a future iPhone SE. After all, Apple now offers the 12 mini for $599, and it is expected to be reduced to $499 next year, similar to the current iPhone 11. While reports claim that the 2022 iPhone SE will have the same vintage appearance, the following generation is virtually guaranteed to feature a Liquid Retina display, in which case the iPhone small chassis would be an ideal match.