new Apple gear

I’ve been thinking about buying some new Apple gear lately. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about replacing my iPhone, iPad, and Watch.

My old iPhone SE is almost (but not quite) three years old. The battery life on it has been pretty bad lately. If I go through a whole day without getting a chance to recharge, it’s usually at about 20% by the end of the day. And if I use anything that drains the battery, like Uber, Lyft, or Apple Maps, it can drain down enough that it shuts itself down. (I had this problem one day during NYCC this year, where the phone was dead by early afternoon, largely because I’d used Uber to get to the con.) And it’s been getting noticeably slow lately too, in some apps.

The iPad I’m using now is an iPad Air that I bought via eBay in 2014. The battery life isn’t good, and it’s acting a little funny sometimes, but overall it’s still OK. I’d like to replace it, but it’s not top priority.

And my Apple Watch is a “Series 0” that I bought not long after I bought the iPhone SE. There’s really nothing wrong with it, but it won’t run watchOS 5.

I’ve been looking at the iPhone XR, but I haven’t been really enthusiastic about any of the current crop of iPhones. They’re all too expensive, too big, and none of them have headphone jacks. But, well, I decided to give in and buy an iPhone XR today. I ordered it via the Apple Store app on my old phone, for pickup at my local Apple Store. I got the “(Product)Red” 128GB version. We’ll see if I can get used to the size and the lack of a headphone jack. The total price, including AppleCare, the $9 headphone adapter, and a Belkin Rockstar adapter (so I can use headphones and charge it at the same time), came to just under $1000. Which seems like a crazy amount of money to pay for a phone. But oh well. I’m too old and set in my ways to switch from iOS to Android, so I have to pay that Apple premium.

And a friend dropped by today with a Christmas present for me: a new Series 3 Apple Watch! So now I have that taken care of too. The Series 3, physically, is pretty much identical to the Series 0. I haven’t done enough with it yet to tell whether or not it’s any better than the Series 0, in any noticeable ways, but I’m happy to have it, and to now be running watchOS 5.

Setup on the iPhone XR was a little painful, but could have been worse. It took several tries to activate it with Verizon. And, since it was running a slightly older version of iOS than my SE, I had to set it up as new, update iOS, then restore from backup. Setup for the Watch was comparatively easy. It paired with the new iPhone easily, and restored from the previous Apple Watch backup pretty quickly.

Over the next few days, I’ll have to see if I can get used to carrying and using a larger phone. The XR is significantly bigger than the SE. While the larger screen is nice, it’s a bit harder to hold than the SE, and it’s noticeably heavier. I haven’t put it in a case yet, and I’m not sure if I’m going to; it looks nice as-is, and I don’t know if I want to add to the weight. (I’ll probably write a cranky follow-up post about the phone in a few days…)

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