Last time, I wrote an Initial Reactions to the iPhone 7. Something strange happened to me this go around. My iPhone 7 felt "good enough" for almost all my daily usage, and I nearly didn't buy my 2-year upgrade cycle on my iPhone that started with an iPhone 3G, then 4, 5, 6, and 7... what sold me was finally getting a dual camera on a smaller phone factor. I pulled the trigger.

iPhone XS

  • The iPhone XS is the first time I didn't buy the maximum storage option. I use my camera a lot, but I also have a fair amount of my old photos on iCloud. My iPhone 7 had about 90 GB free when it came time to upgrade. It's the first phone I wasn't struggling with storage, and that includes my massive photo library and keeping about 20 GB of music locally on my device.
  • I miss the headphone jack, and I found a case that offers one. I'll write a review as I have for the Incipio.
  • I miss the home button, but I like FaceID. It allows for some futuristic features like not displaying text message contents before looking at the phone. It seems a little less finicky than TouchID, but I miss unlocking my phone without having to look at it.
  • Not sure what the hell of having a glass-backed iPhone is. The iPhone 4 had it, and it was a mistake. Fortunately, I was able to replace the back with an aluminum back as the iPhone 4 was somewhat user serviceable. This is not. The glass is wonderful at picking up fingerprints but is less slippery that iPhone 6 or 7.
  • Oleophobic tech hasn't drastically improved.
  • The screen is amazing, and truetone is much less so. Going back to the iPhone 7 feels boxed in.
  • Organizing folders in iOS is still as annoying as it was in iOS 5. It's slow and cumbersome. Even a desktop app for managing the phone would be preferable.
  • The iPhone XS doesn't feel that much faster than an iPhone 7 out of the box.
  • The camera is a massive upgrade. I want to default photos to 56mm instead of the wide angle lens. The low light performance is much improved.
  • I'm not sure what sort of significant upgrades can be applied to the iPhone, you have gigabit LTE, 4 GB of RAM, optional 512 GB storage, Bluetooth 5.0, dual cameras, a 10 bit OLED screen, stereo speakers, much faster GPU, IPX68. The only display upgrade I can think of is 120 Hz like the iPad Pro, and possibly a 3rd camera lens. The other updates: CPU/RAM/GPU isn't going to wow consumers. Speed is great but at this point what I wouldn't give for LONG battery life and durability.
  • Giant phones are here to stay. I really miss the iPhone 5 form factor. If I could have that with dual cameras, I'd eschew the iPhone XS form factor.
  • The phone is heavy, like uncomfortably so for holding long periods.
  • I haven't had any social media apps (unless you count untappd and goodreads) on my iPhone since my iPhone 6. I'll be curious to track my usage on Screentime. I've managed over the years to dial back my phone addiction, limiting my notifications, removing social media and such although its omnipresent. The downside of screen time is it counts non-interactive experiences like listening to audiobooks, NPR, podcasts and music all the same. I'm not looking at the screen and usually engaged in biking, driving, running, exercise, chores, shopping, cooking. I don't consider this as "usage" as its not interrupting my life, but rather complimenting it like my iPod did.
  • I'm a bit worried about the durability of the iPhone XS. I'm active: I bike to work, go the gym 2-3 times a week, hike weekends, occassionally skateboard, cross country & downhill ski, kayak, paddleboard, and tried downhill mountain biking this summer. My iPhone 5 was the perfect size and I never used a case. I also went caseless with my iPhone 4, and managed to break it's voice attenna (but not wifi or even the screen) after a big longboarding crash that had me rolling on pavement. My iPhone 6 I broke twice, once with a case. My iPhone 7 I never broke but it felt delicate. I worry about the XS.
  • Animojo and Memoji are gimmicks. Do people use these more than a few times? It's a lot of effort to make one for not much gain.
  • Tranfering to my iPhone XS was pain free whereas my iPhone 6 to iPhone 7 was a nightmare. iOS 12 appeared to download recently apps first as apps like Gmail, Audible, Google Maps, Untappd, banking app, LA Fitness, HBO and a few recently played games downloaded first. That was pretty spiffy, especially when you have about 300 apps to download. You can read about my iOS upgrade issues with the iPhone 7 in Initial Reactions to the iPhone 7 .
  • The iPhone 7 feels more premium without a case than the iPhone XS in hand, it's thinner and more importantly lighter.
  • After a week, I kinda have a love/hate with the notch. the extended space for home screen and portrait apps looks fine but its pronounced as hell. It's an ugly concession.
  • The camera bump. Where do I start? It's awful.

iOS 12

  • Screentime is my new favorite feature.
  • It felt zippy on my iPhone 7 and thus feels the same on my XS.
  • Why can't I display battery percentage in the rabbit ears? What sort of Johnny Ive bullshit is this?
  • ARkit could be big, but I still haven't found a daily or even weekly use for it.
  • Siri suggestions seem nice but I really only use Siri to text while driving, sometimes change music while driving, and directions while driving. I don't use it in any other circumstance.
  • I'd uninstall Animojo/Memoji if I could, its wasted space for me.
  • I have so few notifications, (only I only allow Gmail and messages) that I didn't know notifications weren't grouped but that seems huge.
  • Password management is nice but it ain't 1password.
  • Apple's photo app is really an unsung hero,and its gradual improvements are fantastic. I love Highlights.
  • iOS 12 isn't hyper exciting, but smartphones updates are pedestrian.
  • I miss the iOS7 app switcher still.

Things I was wrong about

Looking back on my impressions of the 7, I figure it's fair I should self evaluate and self actualize. I'm hardly infalliable, and likely as wrong as I am right.

  • Force Touch isn't the equivilent of the right click. It's unpredictable as its so under utilized and not the easiest.
  • The Touch button the iPhone 7 was errie how well it simulated a click. I grew to love it, it wasn't really a gimmick.