Why I had to switch to iPhoneSE

I gave up on my beloved iPhone 7+ — the most amazing device I have ever used, a fantastic camera with endless potential and a day long workhorse to switch to a phone that seems to be stuck in the Apple past. Yesterday, I bought a new iPhone SE. Not that I wanted to buy it, but I had no choice. Here is why!

Why? Because as a friend pointed out — I wear shoes that are customized to fit my not so perfect feet and shirts that are made to measure, so why would I carry around a device that is ill-fitting and causing me discomfort. And yet, I spent as much as 10 hours a day on the phone – writing emails, blog posts and editing photos. Without the iPhone7+, I probably wouldn’t read news, watch Netflix or a baseball game. It has been my most essential device.

Over past few months, I have been experiencing increasing pain in my left wrist and thumb. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night in extreme pain. I thought it was a broken bone or something like that. I mean it was painful and it forced me to visit my doctor. According to my doctor, it was because of overusing my left thumb on the phone. She pointed out it is only a matter of time before this turns into a full-blown case of carpal tunnel syndrome and I will need surgery to fix it. So I have a brace on my left hand and a smaller phone will allow me to do a lot less than the big phone and hopefully I will heal sooner.

I remember when the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 were released, and somehow they felt perfect at the time. However, the Android ecosystem unable to bring out anything remotely as good as iOS based devices, turned to screen sizes and processor speeds, turning this into race of the biggest phone. My former colleague Kevin Tofel was a huge fan of those phablets. Apple eventually joined the big-screen party and we ended up with the “plus” size screens and phones.

As an aside, I wonder how many new age, post touch interface injuries are cropping up because our devices are getting bigger and bigger, more entrenched in our lives. I mean I can’t be alone on this? Aren’t our kids growing up with these devices essentially as an appendage? I wonder if Apple (or Samsung) studied the detrimental impact of mega-sized devices and their addictive nature on average people?

By having a clear discussion about design decisions and how they impact our long term health is an issue Apple can take a leadership position in our industry. Apple CEO Tim Cook often talks about health related applications and the role of Apple Watch, but why not talk about preventive meansures as well? Or is the threat of legal issues too much for anyone to speak about the impending issues.

Anyway back to Marie Kondo-ing the phone and what’s on it. I don’t really have many apps on the device now – only the bare essentials to help manage daily life and a handful of photo apps. I have given up on social on my device with the exception of Instagram.

The device is noticeably slower than the iPhone7+, though I appreciate the TouchID and a decent camera — too bad it doesn’t have a portrait mode. It gets noticeably hot when charging the device and the screen isn’t as nice as the big phones. What I find amazing is that a few years ago, we argued that 4 inch screen was too big and would cause issues. And now I am complaining. Go figure!

Still, it has one thing — ability to make me not stretch my thumb and put stress on my wrist. Let’s see if good things come in small sizes and my thumb and wrist heal over a period of time.

July 9, 2017. San Francisco.

A letter from Om

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