Smartphones are immensely powerful computers. When you factor in the capability of outsourcing work to the cloud where required, the top-end phone can handle any computing need that I have or expect to ever have. Interface-wise, though, the phone has severe limitations. Given the choice, I still prefer to type on a physical keyboard rather than talk. I like to see my words on a screen—the bigger, the better. Will that change? Maybe. Who knows what the clever boffins will produce to surpass the keyboard and screen paradigm. But as of now, I love my desktop and laptop.

Like everyone else, the phone is a huge part of my life. I do all my banking on it. Voice calls and messaging happen through cellular networks or through applications like What’s App and Signal. I value listening to music and podcasts and even meditating in the morning using the phone. Triaging e-mail and checking something on the web or in the news is a definite advantage of a computer in the pocket. A map app can be a lifesaver in an unfamiliar city, and a camera is nice for a quick snap of the high life. The thing is, all of those functions are table stakes for a smartphone. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one that can’t achieve all of the above effortlessly.

I’m not sure I’ll need all this power to listen to Spotify. I resisted the steady increase in phone size until updating my beloved iPhone 13 mini for my current beast, the 15 Pro Max. I figured that if I was going to go big, I might as well go the whole hog. Now, I look at Mrs L’s 13 with envy. Perhaps she’ll swap?

Assuming no swap, what would I replace my phone with? I could buy back an iPhone 13 mini. Or I could pick up a Pixel 7a and buy some earbuds with the savings against the mini. The mini is my favourite size, but the Pixel offers me the green grass of the “other” side. The reality is that I have no use case for a premium smartphone.

Phone manufacturers will tell us that to fully benefit from AI, we’ll need to pack as much power as possible into our devices, and I’m sure they’re right. But as things stand, I’m OK not harnessing AI. In the meantime, I’d like a phone that fits in my pocket and does the few things I need. I'll wait and see if there's an AI offering that I desperately need to have in my pocket.

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