How the iPhone Became the Most Boring Phone You Can Buy in 2023

It says a lot about a phone when the most talked about thing about its next iteration is its new volume buttons. This is the Apple iPhone in 2023. It doesn’t fold, it doesn’t have a periscope zoom lens, it doesn’t charge quickly, the design has been the same for years, it’s uncomfortable to hold, and its cameras aren’t the best anymore — as evidenced most recently in Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro camera test.

In recent years, iPhones haven’t seen any major new innovations. Dynamic Island had the potential to be the innovation we’ve been waiting for, but that hasn’t come to fruition. When you add all this together, the iPhone becomes the most boring phone you can buy in 2023. Here’s why.

The iPhone has a folding problem

Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

Samsung has been in the foldable category for four years now. Additionally, several Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are making foldable designs that are better than Samsung’s. Heck, even Honor and Tecno are cracking the foldable niche with the Honor Magic Vs and Tecno Phantom V Fold.

Apple is just playing it safe at this point by ignoring the folding market. The company has all the R&D money in the world to develop a foldable iPhone. Apple fans, please don’t tell me, “Apple will release it when it’s ready” or “Apple never releases a half-baked product.”

The argument that Apple releases products when they are mature is … wrong. Just one look at the jumbled mess that was iOS 16 at launch is easy proof of that. Plus, folding has been on the market for four years, which is plenty of time for a segment to mature, in my opinion.

Apple not releasing a foldable iPhone for the next couple of years just drives the success of the iPhone to offer mediocre products until it comes out with a big leap. We may already be on the Galaxy Z Fold 7 or so by the time the first foldable iPhone is released.

The argument that Apple releases products when they are mature is … wrong.

And if Apple intends to stick with the slab phone design, it needs to come up with a better one. The move to flat edges with the iPhone 12 is one of Apple’s most non-ergonomic design decisions in recent years. And surprisingly, the company has stuck with the same design ever since.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, OnePlus 11 and Xiaomi 13 Pro are all more comfortable to hold, thanks to the curves on the sides. I’ve used the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro Max as my primary devices and it wasn’t uncomfortable to hold them all. For a company that aims to only make “normal” smartphones, its current design direction leaves a lot to be desired.

Apple’s camera crown has been stolen

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is surrounded by other flagship phones.
Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

Most people in the US don’t realize that the iPhone camera is no longer the best. It lags behind the Vivo X90 Pro in night mode. The telephoto lens is of limited use compared to the Galaxy S23 Ultra with 10x optical zoom. The Xiaomi 13 Pro’s natural depth of field has no competition, thanks to its 1-inch sensor. Oppo and OnePlus have the fun XPan mode to discover more perspectives with wide shots. Xiaomi and Realme phones have a wide range of options with high exposure and star trails.

In contrast, an iPhone does not have any separate camera function. There’s a 48MP camera with ProRAW, which is amazing for someone who has the time to play with details in Lightroom, but not so much for an average user. It’s the most boring set of cameras you can carry around.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has also significantly narrowed the iPhone’s video lead with its super stable mode. Any Chinese-made or Galaxy phone focuses on portrait mode faster than the iPhone. Does any of this matter when iPhone sales are at an all-time high? Probably not. But for those of us with access to non-Apple products, we see just how far behind the company is currently on the camera front.

No fast charging in 2023 is great

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is surrounded by premium phones.
Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

I stuck with iPhones because the Pro Max series was the smartphone with the longest battery life on a single charge. the iPhone 13 Pro Max was the gold standard for battery life. But that’s not happening in 2023.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra lasts just as long – if not longer – than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Combine that with the fact that you’re still stuck with slow charging patterns on the iPhone and the battery/charging situation isn’t the best. We have smartphones that fully charge in less than an hour or offer 50% battery life within 15 minutes. And that’s not taking into account the 240W fast charge on the Realme GT 3 that offers a 0% to 100% charge in less than 10 minutes.

There is a misconception that fast charging degrades battery life in the long run. But I’ve been using the OnePlus 7T 2019 (with 30W charging, which was considered fast back then) for three years and didn’t have a problem with battery life until I updated the OS. The same goes for the OnePlus 8T with 65W fast charging. It’s going strong. Saying that Apple doesn’t provide fast charging above 27W for safety reasons is a tired excuse when the industry has clearly found a way around it.

Apple, make the iPhone exciting again

The iPhone 14 Pro Max in the middle with the Galaxy S23 Ultra on the left and the Honor Magic 5 Pro on the right.
Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

The latest iPhones are still among the best smartphones for 2023. The shutter speed on the camera is top-notch and it processes the image quickly, while the competition takes minutes to learn the details during processing. I love the fact that I can easily and quickly edit photos in Lightroom without lag.

But until there. I can’t multi-window on iOS and in everyday use, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is more responsive. The OnePlus 11 is more comfortable to hold and the Xiaomi 13 Pro has a better main camera sensor.

There is not a single outstanding feature in an iPhone. It’s an average phone, or even mediocre in some areas, which makes it the most boring phone you can buy in 2023. I hope we get exciting new features with the iPhone 15 this year, but if the rumors are anything to go by, we’re in for a disappointment.

Editors’ recommendations

Leave a Comment