iPhone 12 Diary Stories December 15, 2020

Although my iPhone 12 Pro Max and the MagSafe leather case arrived on day one, the MagSafe wallet I ordered with them only turned up last week.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of it. It was a neat idea, but early hands-on videos suggested it might not work too well in practice …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories December 14, 2020

My initial plan for an iPhone 12 Pro Max video test was to shoot handheld using the stock camera app. However, given that I’m a video novice – as I will amply demonstrate below – I decided I could use a bit of help. In this case, from the Zhiyun Smooth X gimbal and the FiLMiC Pro app.

While some might object that such a test is unfair, I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Watch absolutely any YouTube tutorial on shooting video with a smartphone, and they will recommend the same two things: shoot with FiLMiC Pro, and get a gimbal. If you care enough about the video capabilities of the iPhone 12 Pro Max to read a diary entry this long, you probably care enough to follow exactly the same advice I did …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories December 7, 2020

One of the headline features of the iPhone 12 lineup was, of course, 5G support. I said beforehand that 5G coverage is barely a thing yet, even in London – and subsequent tests have demonstrated I was right.

I’ve been conducting periodic speed tests at various locations in central London, and while it does occasionally deliver impressive speeds, this is far from the norm …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories November 24, 2020

I highlighted the promise of Apple’s ProRAW photo capability as one of three key differences between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The others were the larger sensor, and LiDAR scanner for low-light autofocus and Night Mode portraits.

Night mode portraits already blew me away. I couldn’t immediately test ProRAW as it wasn’t available at the time, but the format was added in the iOS 14.3 beta. My colleague Jeff was impressed by his first look at it, and I headed out last night to try it for myself…

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories November 19, 2020

Millions of people buy Apple’s largest iPhones each year for one main reason: they love the large screen.

That’s something to which I ought to be able to relate. I’ve always owned the largest MacBooks Apple offers: from the 17-inch MacBook Pro back in the day, through to the 16-inch one today. I also own and love the largest iPad available, and am on record as saying that I’d buy a bigger one if I could.

Then there’s my monitor, which is … quite large. I think one can reasonably conclude that I’m generally a fan of large screens …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories November 17, 2020

I said yesterday that the differences I’m seeing in night shots, compared to my outgoing iPhone 11 Pro, are subtle. But there is one feature that is not only new to this year, but found only on the two Pro models: Night mode portraits. That’s something I wouldn’t get with the iPhone 12 mini.

A test on Friday night quickly revealed the main drawback to these: both photographer and subject have to keep very still. But I was impressed enough to want to experiment further, so last night I headed out into the darkness with a volunteer to see what night portrait results could be achieved with a little care…

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories November 16, 2020

I could take a lab test approach to my dilemma of choosing between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras. Buy both phones. Mount them on a tripod to ensure I was getting pixel-perfect alignment. Take test shots in all conditions. Compare 100% crops.

But there have already been enough of those to persuade me that the differences are real, if small. The question for me is all about whether I can cope with the size of the Max.

Taking one of my favorite walks, with photos along the way, provided one opportunity to find out. I took my iPhone 11 Pro along too, so I could compare the results …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories November 13, 2020

I don’t want the headline to imply that I will buy future giant iPhones — the jury is very much out on whether I even keep this one — but it really does feel like I’m trying a whole new product category here.

In the old Apple days, there were small screens, aka iPhones; medium screens, aka iPads; and big screens, aka Macs. But things are not so simple these days…

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories November 10, 2020

Yep, after being all set to buy the iPhone 12 mini – the phone I’d wanted for years – I found myself going to the opposite end of the range: pre-ordering the largest model, not the smallest.

I explained last time the reason for that, but the tl;dr version is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the only way to get the best camera …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories October 14, 2020

Steve Jobs famously said people don’t know what they want until you show it to them, and he’s still being proven right. After repeatedly calling for a modern iPhone SE, Apple finally made one – but I’m not buying it.

The rumor that I thought likely to change my mind was indeed correct: the iPhone 12 Pro Max does have a significantly larger sensor. And that’s not all …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories October 12, 2020

I made an early start on an iPhone 12 Diary back in July because reports as of then were leading me to suspect that I was going to choose what we now believe will be called the iPhone 12 mini. But there is one rumor which might change my plans very significantly.

The appeal for me of the mini was the pocketability. As I’ve explained before, if I’m planning to do any significant device usage while mobile, I’ll take my iPad, so the key role of my iPhone is to be as pocketable as possible …

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iPhone 12 Diary Stories July 28, 2020

Yep, it is a little early to trade in my iPhone 11 Pro Diary for an iPhone 12 one. But I’ve been thinking about my options and whether I might finally get my true iPhone SE 2 this year.

I always buy my iPhones outright, rather than on any kind of contract or finance deal, which means I’m not on a predetermined upgrade schedule. Each year, I need to choose between sticking with the phone I have, buying the latest flagship model, or buying a lower-end one.

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