For those of you that weren't aware, my iPhone 13 Pro got smashed. It remains as such, and in the meantime, I’m using an iPhone 11 Pro that I’ve been kindly lent by someone on my team. It’s made me realize something – the iPhone 11 family was really the peak of iPhone design.
I’ve also been lucky enough to try out an iPhone 14 Pro Max in recent weeks. I absolutely love the features like Dynamic Island and the power at my disposal, but I just can’t help feeling that the design itself has some problems. Problems that I think could be rectified by a return to a curvier time. A more … iPhone 11 Pro time.
The Problem at hand
See, the way that I hold my phone means that my pinkie finger sits under the charging port of the iPhone, supporting the device as I use it. It takes a lot of weight, and the bigger the phone, the greater the weight. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, in particular, weighs a lot. It’s a 240g (or 8.47oz) slab of metal and glass, filled with all kinds of mad gubbins that make it work. That’s a lot of strain for my poor little finger to hold, let alone when you look at the edges on the device that dig into my digit.
Those edges make the iPhone 14 Pro Max look magnificent. There’s a kind of regal splendor to the Purple, and the sharp angles lend the whole affair an industrial feel. The problem with that feeling is that it can become uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.
The edges of the phone that sit on my pinkie finger are sharp and painful. It digs in when I’m using the phone, and makes scrolling through Twitter a whole lot more horrible than a simple doom scroll. It’s not the worst, but it's not very pleasant.
It’s a problem that’s been around on iPhone devices for a little while. I have the same problem with the iPhone 12 I use sometimes, and while the smaller device is less heavy, it still becomes rapidly uncomfortable. I’m not a fan. It’s not going to make me change to Android, and find a new device that doesn’t have square edges, but it does make me think thrice about buying a new iPhone.
The solution is curvy
Because I would like to go for the Pro Max model next time. The display, for one thing, on this 14 Pro Max is stunningly massive and intoxicatingly beautiful. I just can’t get enough of it – until it hurts my finger, and I drop it on my face while scrolling Instagram in bed. No one likes that.
I use the svelte iPhone 11 Pro again, however, and all my worries wash away. It’s those curves. They’re so smooth, and they leave no sharp edges for my fingers to get caught on. The phone just melts into your hand, as if the screen were always just stuck to your palm. It’s organic in all the best ways, whilst being premium enough to remain an Apple experience.
I firmly believe that the iPhone 11 Pro was the peak of Apple’s iPhone design. It’s a simple device, with no extraneous details to detract from the rest of the device. Those sumptuous curves, that satin glass back panel that sits slightly proud of the stainless steel frame. It’s an experience, and one that I feel is missing from the new iPhone models.
iPhone models now are just a little bit too ‘much’. The camera bumps are almost comically big, and the metal surrounds are gaudier than ever. These are not badly designed phones, but they are, in essence, the very image of excess in the smartphone landscape.
Don’t get me wrong, pulling one of the great monoliths from the box is a reassuringly weighty experience, but it's one that’s not only getting a little old, but also ever more uncomfortable. And honestly, if I have to put up with my iPhone digging into my finger, then Apple had better make a pinkie finger iPhone pillow to take the weight and the pain. Because I don’t think I can do it for much longer.
What should the iPhone 15 look like?
So I’m no designer, but I am a user, and I know what I want. I wouldn’t review tech if I didn’t. First and foremost, I want a return to those lovely, svelte edges from my new beau, the iPhone 11 Pro. Make using my iPhone 15 Pro Max easier on my little finger, and we’re flirting dangerously close to having a deal, Apple.
Trim that camera bump down while we’re at it, because at the moment it’s leaving me in a constant state of iPhone breakage panic. I love how good the cameras are, but it's ludicrous how far these things stick out. It’s not even funny. Bring them in Apple, trim a little off the top so that they fit more easily in a pocket, and so that cases don’t have a ridiculous lip anymore.
I want these things not out of nostalgia, but because my current experience is telling me they’re better. If I was waxing lyrical about the iPhone 11 Pro without using one for a while, then yes, it would be. But I am using one, and it’s simply a nicer experience all around. I just wish it had the internals of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Actually, Apple, scratch all that. Make me an iPhone 15 Pro Max but put in an iPhone 11 Pro Max body. You needn’t sell it to anyone else, just me. Please. And thank you.
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As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.