Wednesday, August 17

iPhone 14: Apple needs to fix this big iPhone 13 design problem

We think the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max are some of the best phones you can buy today. With great cameras, great OLED displays, and an overabundance of horsepower, the iPhone 13 series is really hard to beat. Even the best Android phones have a hard time comparing in some areas.

But one advantage that various Android phones have over the iPhone 13 comes down to ergonomics. Phones like the Pixel 6 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro feel much more comfortable to hold, even considering their large chassis. How do they do this?

They have rounded backs around which your hand can better shape. The iPhone 13 has a blocky design with sharp edges, which makes the newer models uncomfortable. The sturdy iPhone 13 Pro Max (which weighs 8.5 ounces) is especially bad, even though I have big hands.

With a phone as big and heavy as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, shortcomings in ergonomics are noticeable very quickly.

I honestly hate picking up the iPhone 13 Pro Max and it’s a feeling that continues to fester the more I use the phone. Smaller models have a similar problem, only on a smaller scale. But with a phone as big and heavy as the Pro Max, shortcomings in ergonomics are noticeable very quickly.

Early rumors are that Apple is firmly sticking to the flat edges of the iPhone 14. I think it’s a bad idea, as I explained above. While “sharp” may be a bit of a hyperbole, I just don’t like the design Apple has stuck with since the iPhone 12. As for why it’s done it, only Apple knows.

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo | Cover Tech)

But we are almost a year away from the next iPhone. Apple has likely finalized many of its details, but I am still hopeful that we will get a more comfortable and ergonomic iPhone 14. In fact, I find the iPhone 13 Pro Max so awkward and unwieldy that I switched to the Pixel 6 Pro for my main phone. Operating system differences aside, it’s a night and day switch between the two physically.

Cases certainly help with the edges, but I don’t like to use cases if I don’t have to (one of the benefits of rarely leaving the home office). Saying they can make the phone easier to hold is a band-aid solution, and one that doesn’t translate into usability considering that even the thinnest cases add varying degrees of bulk.

We’ve seen that the iPhone 14 could be a hodgepodge of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 4 and I find it a bit daunting given what I’ve said here. Apple doesn’t seem to listen to our design opinions most of the time, especially when it comes to the design of its smartphone. And the rare times Apple listens, the changes can take years to become a reality (as with the 2021 MacBook Pros, which took five years to make).

Rounded backs are a good thing. Smartphones are already pretty big for the most part, why make it even harder to handle? Some Android phone makers have caught on to this and it’s about time Apple did too.

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