108 points
16 days ago 89 comments reply
16 days ago 10 comments reply

When I got the iPhone X, it was the first time that I thought the design was "good enough" for my purposes. (I had previously had an iPhone 1, 4, and 6S.) I could imagine further improvements, but I didn't really feel a desire for them.

Unfortunately, I managed to destroy it during the iPhone 13 generation. Since I use my phone extremely heavily, and am not particularly cost sensitive, I assumed that I would go with the Pro model. But the weight of the 13 Pro very much turned me off... yeah, it's on the scale of ounces, but I do enough backpacking to at least think that I care. And it just wasn't as comfortable in the hand. So I ended up with the base model -- a pretty big misstep on Apple's part, down-selling an eager customer to a lower price, lower margin part.

I just ordered the 15 Pro; this is the first time I'm using the trade in program, since my 13 is in perfect shape. (My 1 and 4 are sitting on a shelf somewhere, and my 6S was given away.) I didn't think there was anything that was going to drive me to upgrade, but the satellite-based roadside assistance is enough to get my dollar. I'll still keep the 406 MHz PLB in the glove compartment registered, but I'd much rather go through AAA than the coast guard if something comes up away from cell coverage.

16 days ago 8 comments reply

Be careful with the satellite SOS feature. I accidentally left my 14 pro on the roof of my car when way outside of cell reception in rural Utah; it fell off and triggered the crash-triggered SOS feature. Wasted a bunch of emergency responder's time, which I felt awful about. Manually triggered SOS is great but I think enabling the crash triggered one is irresponsible.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

It's a trade-off. I'll probably have the feature on when I'm in the small plane (although the chance of it getting a signal post-incident is nearly zero, I imagine), but yeah, I don't think it's the appropriate trade-off for me on regularly-trafficked roads.

It sounds like the emergency features enable two-way communication, which is great, but I wonder if the procedures around that lead to more false positives. If they get an emergency signal and no further response, I suppose the appropriate assumption is to assume the worst, and send out responders. The PLB is unidirectional, so the procedures involve using the (regularly updated) contact info to see what the heck is likely going on. That'll get them to my cell phone (wouldn't have worked for you) and, failing that, to my emergency contacts -- and my parents (in my case) can reasonably say "try calling so-and-so, he should be with them", etc. Still takes responder time, but at least not a physical response until all other avenues are exhausted.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

although the chance of it getting a signal post-incident is nearly zero, I imagine

Not at all. The phone probably will be mostly intact - it has your soft squishy body to absorb the sudden deceleration.

16 days ago 2 comments reply

Surely it’s pretty hard to use satellite SOS by accident since you need to point it at the satellite overhead? Was yours the normal crash or fall detection?

16 days ago 0 comments reply

You are supposed to but there was a story about it working in a canyon after a car crash 400ft down (https://www.macrumors.com/2023/07/24/iphone-14-saves-man-at-...) saved his life and I’ve shared location and just tossed it down on a picnic table in a forest and it eventually sent.

It definitely makes it connect faster (a min or two) vs the 10-20 it can take when you don’t

I’m impressed and it’s nice to have that additional level of safety

16 days ago 0 comments reply

If the skies are clear and the phone falls of the car it shouldn't have any problem reaching a satellite.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

people who’ve been saved due to automatic crash detection would beg to differ

16 days ago 1 comments reply

I sometimes feel like the only person that never drops or misplaces their phone in these ways.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

That doesn't say much. People use their phones in many ways. Some are clumsy, some are more risky.

I've been on a bicycle with a loose pocket or used it to check the map while biking. Great idea? Probably not. Happens to everyone? Absolutely not. Happens? Very much yes.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

I also found the 13 Pro to be too heavy, and since the mini had all the features of the regular 13, I went with the cheaper/smaller mini.

Apple missed the chance to sell me a phone that costs 50-75% more because it was just too much of a brick. And I say that as someone who has had other Pro iPhones in the past, and is generally an Apple early adopter.

16 days ago 2 comments reply

> One answer is that people are just more sensitive than we give them credit for being. A 9–10% drop in weight may seem like a small amount to our brains but a large amount to our hands.

This has been my experience. I finally upgraded my Garmin Fenix 3 watch to a 7 (titanium). The 3 weighted 82g while the 7 is 73g. You would think the difference is negligible.

You would be wrong. It changes everything. I used to be extremely conscious of the presence of the 3 on my wrist. With the 7 I forget it, I don't even feel it anymore.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Honestly I would make a strong generalisation here that in matters of dexterity, small changes are profound.

The "jump" in phone size from the iPhone 5 to the 6 was extremely jarring (and the 12 mini) to me, despite being "only a little bit larger" than the 5.

I think our hands are so used to fine motor movement that small changes can have substantial effects.

See also: the entire mechanical keyboard industry.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Its interesting that the weight is such an issue. I have 13 pro it weighs a lot and i love it and the case actually adds some weight. Cant name all the reasons why i like it ( just a feeling i guess) but one reason is that i know for sure when the phone is in my pocket and i didnt forget it.

16 days ago 28 comments reply

This is a shame. I am going to have to migrate to an Android-based handset for the first time in 15 years because of this change.

16 days ago 13 comments reply

How could this possibly be the deciding factor? I know this is Hacker News but that seems like the smallest possible thing to care about.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

It's satire. This article being posted on HN is a small unimportant and uninteresting thing. The reply is in the same vein.

16 days ago 8 comments reply

I guess that's the joke. Nobody cares about phone rotational inertia, the fact that someone would measure it is funny as is.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

The point of the article is that Apple made the phone feel much lighter than a straight up mass reduction would indicate.

It's actually something that Apple's design team is really good at. If you've ever held an IPP or ipad air without its case you'd know what the guy was talking about.

Alas, reading isn't a required skill for commenters.

16 days ago 6 comments reply

People actually care, this got investigated because early reviewers “felt” the phone was much lighter than it actually is (which is quite welcome). The lower moment of inertia is the cause of that difference.

16 days ago 5 comments reply

Reviewers are not just "people", they are people desperate to squeeze out as many words as possible praising and nitpicking the product in exactly the ordered proportions.

I refuse to believe anybody at all cares about how light or heavy their phone weighs or how light it "feels".

16 days ago 0 comments reply

The points that you don't care about is not essentially the points that other people don't care about. If you are strong the weight may not matter, but otherwise there is a significant difference imposed on fingers & wrists. I at least know a few of my friends who care about this more than the fancy cameras & dynamic island.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

I refuse to believe anybody at all cares about how light or heavy their phone weighs or how light it "feels".

My vision’s poor, so I hold everything closer to my face than the average, to get a better look. For items with a lot of text (or other reasons for prolonged near-face use), this can put a small yet noticeable strain on my wrists, elbows and shoulders. You’d think that years of repetitive phone ise would have built up small muscles to compensate, but it hasn’t. I would definitely appreciate a light phone.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

Reviewers are not just "people", they are people desperate to squeeze out as many words as possible praising and nitpicking the product in exactly the ordered proportions.

Nice IMAX you got there.

I refuse to believe anybody at all cares about how light or heavy their phone weighs or how light it "feels".

Oh yeah, it’s really unbelievable that people would care about the weight of something they carry and move around a significant fraction of their day and people definitely haven’t been complaining about how heavy the 13P / 14P design is since they were released (https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/pw875n/does_anyone_e..., https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/13-pro-too-big-and-heav...) but hey I’m sure you can just call them weak shills or something.

16 days ago 0 comments reply
16 days ago 0 comments reply

?? that's the exact reason I didn't buy an iPhone 13 Pro. A heavy phone is really annoying and paying more for it is even worse.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Phones are a toy that people have in their pocket 24/7. They’ve put fidget spinners out of business already. If they’re going to be worse at serving this market, well, there are lots of Android options.

16 days ago 8 comments reply

You want to shift to Android because you want higher moment of inertia and/or higher weight in your phone ? You would be a dream customer to many phone companies. Or perhaps you say all this in jest.

16 days ago 7 comments reply

My daily driver weights nearly half a kilogram and has a 13,200 mAh battery that literally actually truly lasts for four days of mixed use on a charge.

I also have an iPhone, but be fucked if I can keep hold of it, it's so light I can seem to actually get a grip on it for longer than about two minutes at a time.

I've had my eufges phone for over a year and still haven't broken the screen. I mate dropped his, same brand, different model, from a second story access platform from where it fell face down on concrete, the glass screen protector was cracked but the phone was fine.

I do not understand the obsession with lightness and thinness, but that's just me, and I suppose the other few thousand who've bought phones that aren't ultra light ultra thin ultra breakable.

16 days ago 3 comments reply

My daily driver weights nearly half a kilogram and has a 13,200 mAh battery that literally actually truly lasts for four days of mixed use on a charge.

I also have an iPhone, but be fucked if I can keep hold of it, it's so light I can seem to actually get a grip on it for longer than about two minutes at a time.

Your half-kg phone has trained your motor neurons in such a way that they are not prepared when you hold a ~100g phone. I suggest mixed-interval training. Use both phones regularly (you mention the half-kg one is your daily driver). An anti-slip silicone case for your iPhone should also help.

When I hold an iPhone, it sometimes feels heavy to me. I would say my experience is more representative of the general population than yours.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

You're wrong.

I had exclusively iPhone's for ten years prior, I couldn't keep hold of any of them. A pop socket help a lot.

And I'd argue I'm not alone, how many phone screen replacements do you reckon repair shops across the globe perform every day?

They're too fragile, and too difficult to take care of.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

Mixed interval training for phone holding, I sincerely hope that was a joke, but judging by the last paragraph, I'm not sure :-D

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Mixed interval training for phone holding was indeed meant as a joke. Means “use both phones regularly” and you’ll get used to holding them both competently.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

I have a 13 Pro, the small one. It lasts a day fine. Put a TPU case on it and it's not slipperly. I dropped it at least 100 times, once down a mountain in central asia. It's fine.

As for battery, stick a powerbank in your bag. Anker do some nice ones. I got 9 days out of one.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

This is easily solved with a tough protection case.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Right.

So there’s a proven market for a rugged iPhone.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Maybe there is a market for iphone 15 cases that correct the loss of rotational inertia by adding weight around the phone.

Potentially there even is a secondary market of YouTube reviewers that discuss handling properties of lead vs tungsten cases.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

SerntimentAnalysisRumorsObserverReport notes that the reception to this phone was unpopular.

16 days ago 2 comments reply

Can you give more background? Why?

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Parent doesn't actually care; it's all just spin.

15 days ago 0 comments reply

It is an edge use case.

16 days ago 18 comments reply

I look forward to seeing the difference from the X!

... And then wrap a huge ass ugly cover on it and never feel it again. /s

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Probably won’t feel any: the issue this corrects is that the Pro models got much heavier with the 13 gen breaching 200g, this change brings them back to something more reasonable. The X is 174g, the 11P/12 are ~190, the 13P/14P are ~205g, the 15P is back down to 187.

16 days ago 16 comments reply

I used to do this, but then I realised I only ever drop my phone because it has a case on it. Now I have it bare and never drop it.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

I'm the opposite. They're too slippery without a case. Also helps get rid of the camera bumps.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

I've got an iPhone Xs Max (how old? no clue) Despite the camera bump if I have it on a flat surface playing audio it will scoot off and take a dive. (I ended up putting a case on it for that reason alone)

16 days ago 3 comments reply

Not in my case. I never ever used a case since iPhone 4. Then I dropped my slippery XS Max two months in, cracked the back glass, and “repair” cost like 70% of a new phone. So it’s been living in the silicone case since, it’s no longer slippery and I don’t see the crack.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

I guess the XS Max would be well outside of AppleCare+ territory, but for those of us who upgrade every 2-3 years, AppleCare+ is great.

It's literally insurance for your phone except you don't have to deal with the insurer.

I've only used the Express Replacement Service part of it twice, but when I've used it, it's been like magic. I get a brand new (refurb probably, but who can tell) phone within 2 days, and then I send back the old one.

No questions asked, no weeks of wrangling with the insurer.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Yeah, now I get AppleCare+ (or whatever tier that covers accidental damage as well) on everything since the 50%-70% “repair” (i.e. replacement) cost on the slightest damage is insane. It seems you can now pay to extend the coverage indefinitely after the standard period, according to an Apple Store employee when I got a new iPad Pro recently.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Starting with the iPhone 6, iPhones became slippery due to the rounded sides. This stopped with the iPhone 12, with the return to flat sides. Except for a short stint with the iPhone 6, I skipped the whole rounded-sides era, and never used a case.

16 days ago 8 comments reply

I've never dropped my phone. But my wife has dropped hers many times.

After the 2nd screen repair the phone has never worked properly, and the face ID stuff stopped working. All in all repairers couldn't do anything about it. That's why I think it's worth putting a cover on it.

I also hide my ID in mine (between cover and phone) so that I do not have to wear a wallet...

And my kids occasionally handle my phone, I don't want to hold my breath every time I see them walking with my phone in hand.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Not sure who you went to, but the mall repair guys do a terrible job of telling you that the repairs never leave your phone the same.

Truetone for example, 100% of the time will start working, that one is for sure on top of the random things that’ll break, sometimes the phone also gets way heavier.

I learned that lesson the hard way which sucks - my iPhone 12’s internet speed was great, but after I had to upgrade it because of the screen, the 13s was shit and Apple never did anything about it - story for another time I guess.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

How is this a reason "After the 2nd screen repair the phone has never worked properly, and the face ID stuff stopped working. All in all repairers couldn't do anything about it" for putting a cover on it.. its already broken. It won't get anymore better. Or, you feel ashamed and cover it with the cover so no one can see?

16 days ago 0 comments reply

His phone isn’t broken.

16 days ago 2 comments reply

> I also hide my ID in mine (between cover and phone) so that I do not have to wear a wallet...

That's interesting, are you legally required to carry ID where you live?

15 days ago 1 comments reply

If you want to drive you are. And much of America there's nowhere to go without driving.

15 days ago 0 comments reply

Ah OK that makes sense, we have a similar requirement in the UK.

A difference would be if you don't have your licence, insurance, etc. on you at the time you were stopped you can be issued with a "producer" document which requires you to produce your documents at a local police station within seven days.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

Put a case on it with a lip around the edge. The JETech TPU clear ones are good. I dropped my 13 Pro down a mountain in central asia and it went ping pong ping pong like Homer Simpson falling off a cliff for about 20 seconds. There wasn't a scratch on it! I've dropped it face down a hundred times at least. Still looks like the day I bought it!

Also take it to Apple to get repaired, not some independent repairer that sticks crap parts on it. If that's too expensive buy AppleCare! At least you'll get a phone back that actually works.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

ooooh trust me that didn't solve it, the surface finds a way ;)

16 days ago 0 comments reply

I much prefer not having a case, but screens crack from the most peculiar falls. Literal edge cases I guess. I just can't be bothered replacing any more screens.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Saving 20 grams of stationary mass is equal to saving possibly 200 grams in quick movement, such as taking the phone out of a pocket quickly. This is going to be quite noticeable. Add in to this the authors calculations of rotational inertia savings of 15% the effect might be even more pronounced.

So when moving the phone from pocket to quickly see a message or phone call, those savings reduce the weight of the phone during this motion by almost the weight of the phone itself.

Definitely noticeable.

-----

A few years ago I tried to work out the stationary weight limit of my roof rack on my 4wd, for example if I wanted to mount a rooftop tent with two adults (I'm overweight at the moment) and wanted to know if my size was an issue. Assuming a stationary weight of tent and other stuff and me and my partner I pushed my estimate to 400kg.

The roof rack is rated at 100kg carrying capacity.

What does 100kg equal to when going up and down sand dunes?

I found a forum post where someone worked out with calculus the "weight" that 100kg turns into 700kg - 800kg whilst off-roading aggressively, the roof rack experiences almost 80% of a ton due to the acceleration/deceleration pressing into and away from the car in a vertical diagonal motion.

With that I could rest easy knowing I'll never approach those numbers whilst the vehicle is stationary.

------

I figure that quick motion moving the phone from pocket to in front of your face involves similar forces. Intuitively this checks out. Hold your phone in front of your face. Now move quickly side to side. Your phone is easily exerting 1kg of force as you wave it around.

That 20 grams saving will make a huge difference.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

The article claims much less certainty than implied by the post title. (“iPhone 15 Pro 10% lighter but 15% lower rotational inertia because of edge mass” is what it currently is.)

16 days ago 7 comments reply

"iPhone 15 Pro 10% lighter but 15% lower rotational inertia because of edge mass"

The "but" in the title confuses me. Both are good things and make the phone feel lighter, so shouldn't it be "and"?

16 days ago 0 comments reply

The “but” is there because a 15% reduction in rotational inertia is more than you’d expect from being just 10% lighter.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

The “but” is to indicate that while you’d expect to feel a 10% difference owing to mass, you actually feel a larger difference as most of the removed mass is at the edge, so the phone has a significantly lower moment of inertia.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

It's not intuitive that those values don't match up.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Lower rotational inertia is definitely a downside, it is absolutely a downgrade in the critical fidget-spinning-your-phone experience.

16 days ago 2 comments reply

Nowadays, I consider heavier -> better. Phones can be somewhat an exception, however it usually comes at the expense of battery, overall rigidity.

There are exceptions - using lighter materials - notably Al, Mg alloys vs steel.

16 days ago 1 comments reply

A lighter phone should mean less energy applied to your screen when you drop it.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Alternatively, it means a ticker, metal infused glass pane... or there is a shock absorbing layer to prevent all the stress to be distributed through the glass pane. If you take some tools - e.g. multimeters, dropping them from 2m height is a rather standard test for their build quality/durability. Not saying I'd expect most phones to survive that, yet it's quite common to prefer the minimalist, throw away devices.

16 days ago 3 comments reply

One thing I haven't seen discussed is the thermal properties of this expected Ti-6Al-4V alloy.

According to these specs, the alloys thermal conductivity is 6.7 W/m-K: https://asm.matweb.com/search/SpecificMaterial.asp?bassnum=m...

Whereas 6063-T6 aluminium has a thermal conductivity of 200 W/m-K: https://asm.matweb.com/search/SpecificMaterial.asp?bassnum=M...

Even if the alloy in the iPhone is a bit more of an exotic blend, won't it still impact the cooling ability of the phone quite significantly?

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Good point! Maybe that explains why they chose it only for the bands. People touch the phone the most at the outsides, so this sounds like a great trade-off between allowing the phone to cool itself (via the aluminum back) while not being hot or cold to the touch when holding it.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Well, the predecessor is stainless steel, which I imagine is closer to the Ti number, and in my experience with 12/13 Pro it's always the back that throws off heat, not the frame.

Anyhow, just the frame is this material, inside its Al.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Probably a little, but the titanium is only the outer side bands. Most of the heat dissipation happens from the front and back of the phone.

And Ti-6Al-4V is not an exotic blend, it’s a standard alloy.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

On the contrary to many other comments, I think this article is quite interesting. As a mechanical engineer, I know moment of inertia is very important for many designs, albeit often for more functional reasons than the user’s feelings.

It is a short and quickly written article with back of the napkin maths but its good enough (and what most engineers are doing at work anyway). And it reminds us that the spec sheet is not everything. It’s nice to have a lighter phone, but is it really what matters ?

It shows once again how Apple design teams are focused on user experience. I know they aren’t perfect and Apple gets a lot of criticism on HN (mostly deserved), but at least they are great on pushing the extra mile on this kind of things.

It reminds me of how much people were surprised about EV acceleration capability because they compared vehicles on HP, overlooking sometimes torque and often jerk curves.

15 days ago 0 comments reply

I'd love to see first week sales numbers of the iPhone 14 Pro vs the iPhone 15 Pro.

N=1, the missus wanted a new phone last year and opted to wait for the iPhone 14 Pro. We had to wait to get it as it was out of stock in the larger Los Angeles Metro.

Now, iPhone 15 Pro, 4 days before launch, I can still buy it today and get it delivered on 9/22.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Minor nitpick: the title would read better if it said "because of reduced edge mass".

15 days ago 0 comments reply

As far as I remember humans can tell a 0.5g difference between two objects. Obviously this is when holding each object in one hand, but I am still not that surprised that we can tell that a phone is 19g lighter than the other.

16 days ago 6 comments reply

The most salient part of the entire article for me is this line: "[...] it’s also used in medical implants, so you know that skin contact won’t be a problem." - if I hold my iPhone 12 Pro for too long I get blisters on my palm.

16 days ago 5 comments reply

You might be allergic, I would get that tested, but it's nothing to worry about, just nice to know. AFAIK most people shouldn't react badly to prolonged skin contact with aluminum in the range that is holding a phone.

16 days ago 4 comments reply

I am - I have an extremely sensitive nickel allergy. The iPhone 12 Pro is a stainless steel body but I think with such a low nickel content that it could be classed as surgical grade, it takes holding for a long time for it to cause blisters. Coins on the other hand (no pun intended) can cause my skin to start bubbling like a burn in no time at all. As far as I'm aware, titanium is almost never mixed with nickel, it's my favourite metal.

16 days ago 2 comments reply

Wow that's truly unfortunate. I hope one day health science can solve that problem for you.

Have you travelled to Europe where there's a lot more usage of coins (eg euros/franc)? Do you just have to wear gloves?

15 days ago 1 comments reply

Technically I'm in Europe (the continent, but no longer the economic zone) in the UK. It's been years since I've really had to handle coins, but even so, it takes holding it in my hand for maybe 30 minutes to cause the blistering and that's not something I've needed to do very often. Nickel allergy is fairly common but I understand mine is a fair bit more sensitive than most. The main inconvenience from it is having to be very careful about what I buy if I'm going to need to touch it - no metal framed glasses, my wedding ring is zirconium, and the rivets on most jeans will burn me even through my underwear. When a few years ago I found a pair that I liked the fit of, and also had nickel-free rivets, I bought 10 pairs.

15 days ago 0 comments reply

I live en Europe too (northern countries) and we almost never handle coins anymore, but nickel itself is in so many things as an alloy. So I can imagine it must be very annoying to buy something and suddenly realise you can't use it due to a rash, that does indeed suck.

16 days ago 0 comments reply

Watch out for “golden” titanium. It could be a titanium nitride coating.

15 days ago 0 comments reply

Titanium is good, very good. If you ever had titanium based glasses, you never want to go back. I lost count how many times I sat on my glasses and just bent everything back in place.

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