For years, my early childhood only included me and my younger sister. We lived with our parents near Lake Michigan in a small Indiana town. We enjoyed the temperate summers and were buried in snow each winter. It was an idyllic time, nary a care, just us two little kids being adorable.
In the second half of 1958, life morphed in a new direction. My Mom began to expand. She had always been tall, slim and athletic, but now she waddled about with what appeared to be a watermelon hidden beneath her clothes. We learned that Mom was growing babies, not just one, but two. And, as predicted, early the next year, Mom disappeared for a few days and returned with a little brother and a little sister. They were really cute and really small, but they could not do as much as bigger kids.
After a memorable blizzard in late 1960, my father moved us all to California, only 27 miles from Disneyland. We visited the park many, many times. While I could run alone to the Matterhorn bobsled ride, the twins were pushed around in their stroller. When another sister appeared in 1963, she was likewise hampered. While the little ones remained restrained, I was off to "Mister Toad's Wild Ride." I could go everywhere and do anything. My size, agility and speed were my natural advantage. Lesson learned? Bigger was better.
Six months before the first lunar landing, my Dad accepted another job, this time in Houston, Texas. So, we moved again. What a culture shock! As a young outsider from California, I had to quickly adopt the local vernacular if I was ever going to fit in. I began to use words like "Y'all," "Daggum" and "Howdy." My survival instincts dictated that I quickly abandon some West Coast cliches such as "That's beautiful!" and "Far out!" Some words, like "Dainty" were never incorporated into my new Texas lexicon. In fact, until this writing, I don't believe I have ever even typed that word.
Beginning with my first blog for AppleVis in August 2015, I have encouraged people to "Think Small." Sometimes, small can be a huge advantage. For example, computers need not tie you to a secured machine room, an office desk, or fry your lap while sitting in a chair. In my humble opinion, an ideal computer should fit in your pocket, giving you access to the world, providing you with a platform to be creative, and keeping you entertained while waiting out, let's say, a global pandemic.
I discovered my first pocket computer in July 2010 with the iPhone 4. Except for the fact that it took me two weeks to reliably hang up phone calls, I quickly fell in love with the new technology. I almost immediately graduated to the 4S because I saw the utility of having access to Siri. TouchID drove me to the 5S. And then I lost my mind. My next iPhone was the iPhone 6S Plus. I gave up a sleek, lightweight device for a behemoth. Bigger is better, right? The 6S Plus was nice, for a while, until it started baking my chest and constantly dragging down one side of my shirt. Too big and too hot. I finally upgraded and downsized to the iPhone 8, but it was still heftier than I would have preferred. However, even though I understood that the iPhone 8 was still a bit of a beast, I decided that I needed FaceID. I bought the iPhone Xr, a bigger, heavier, hotter monstrosity. With a leather folio case, the Xr extended well above my straining shirt pocket. That made it top heavy, which gave gravity an unfair advantage should I ever bend forward. Was that a problem? Only when I set down a dog bowl on a hard tiled kitchen floor, which occurred many times a day. And, heaven forbid if I tried to balance the expensive slab on my comfy chair's arm rest so as to take the weight and heat off my chest. Do I hate my Xr? Of course not. My Mom used to say, "Hate is too strong a word." However, it is fair to say that this iPhone and I have never grown close.
I really wanted a change.
When I first began to read rumors of the purported iPhone 12 features, I was a bit underwhelmed. Like so many others, I've been in lockdown since March, so the potentially faster cellular speeds meant nothing to me. I have Wi-Fi at home. The multiple fancy cameras would get no more use than a single one. I have taken perhaps three-dozen photos in ten years and never purposefully saved a one. Sharper, more energy efficient displays would not impress me as my screen is always turned off.
The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro appeared too much like my current phone. Massive. The iPhone 12 Pro Max looked like an invitation to herniate myself. Maybe it was worth waiting until the next product cycle. Still, there was one Apple model that stirred my interest.
At first, I mentally dismissed the iPhone 12 mini. Too small. I love my customized four-finger gestures and could not imagine having to swipe or tap without them. I pulled out my retired iPhone 5S and realized that by including the display space used by the old Home button, the 5S was only a bit smaller than the new iPhone 12 mini. And, it appeared that I could perform all the multi-finger gestures I had learned to love. I kept comparing the mock mini to the Xr and found myself very tempted. I began to carry the 5S with me everywhere. I would execute a task with the Xr and then pretend to do the same with the smaller 5S. A few days after iPhone 12 mini online purchases were being accepted, I finally ordered my own in Pacific Blue with 256GB of storage. Small on the outside, packed on the inside.
Two days after that fateful decision, I found a review on TechRadar that referred to the mini as a "dainty delight." Initially, I was concerned that they were going to suggest that the new phone was too delicate or frail. Not so. Overall, they found the iPhone 12 mini to be a very powerful and capable machine. I thought about what "dainty" might mean to me. I remembered my attendance at past wine events, accepting proffered canapés from a server's silver tray. Those were dainty, and those were great.
A new rugged leather folio case from Nomad arrived the same day as my iPhone 12 mini. Unpacking revealed a delightfully dainty phone. So light, so small, so perfect. I slipped my new mini into its case and it felt very classy. I found myself exclaiming, "That's beautiful!" and "Far out!"
Has my new iPhone 12 mini met my expectations? Absolutely. I love the size, weight and responsiveness of the new iPhone 12 mini. It is both powerful and gorgeous. And, it is just plain comfortable to handle and use.
One much noted concern with the iPhone 12 mini is its smaller battery. Will it last as long as the larger iPhone 12 models? Probably not. However, I prefer to carry a pocket friendly phone that may occasionally require a bit more juice. Needed or not, I just top off the battery in the late afternoon at my convenience and don't think about it for the rest of the day. If I were traveling, I'd simply bring one of my portable batteries, just in case.
I am exceedingly pleased with my iPhone choice this year. The iPhone 12 mini is the very device I've been wanting. It's often the small things in life that make us happiest. For the last twenty-five years, my wife and I have enjoyed our home on the top of a Texas hill, surrounded by steep cliffs, large trees and abundant wildlife. I don't think of this house as being particularly big. Bigger is not better if what you have is already perfect.
This is my twenty-sixth blog for AppleVis. Previous contributions include "A Dozen Dozen: Dreaming of iPhone 12 and iOS 14," "Staying Home: Already A Pro," and "Blind Santa: Audible Books from me to me."
Please feel free to share in the comments how your own technology is helping you stay connected during these challenging times. And, dear friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.