Should I buy a new iPhone?

The pickles and cookie gave me the answer

It was all due to the pickles. And the cookie.

This week, after I saw the before and after shots of pickles and an almond cookie taken on my iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. the wife’s iPhone 8, there was no question. She needed a new phone, and fast. Even though she was happy with the 8.

People ask me all the time. Can you really tell a difference between the new iPhone camera and the old one?

In bright daylight, not so much. But in low light, it’s quite apparent. Plus, the newer phones have the Portrait mode, which is so much fun to work with, and worth the price of admission. For her food blogging, Ruth needed it. Even if she didn’t really want it.

So the photos really are better. And despite my reluctance to accept the hype from Apple about the speed of the phone, and what an impact it could make (I never thought people would really care that much) Ruth was playing “Candy Crush Saga” the other morning and remarked how faster the game was going. “Everything on it is faster,” she said.

The phone turns on quicker. Apps open with a zip.

What isn’t as fast as Apple advertises, of course, is the connection to T-Mobile’s 5G network, which both Apple and T-Mobile boasted of lightning speed. It’s no quicker opening a webpage than 4G. For now, as I explained in the last newsletter.

So should you buy a new iPhone? If you have an older phone and like to take photos, the new one will get you a way better camera. Portrait Mode lets you blur the background like on pro-level cameras, but the best thing about it is, you can adjust the blur and effects after you take the shot. That’s fun.

Samsung has Portrait mode on Galaxy phones as well, as my USA TODAY pal Mike Snider pointed out this week, but for my money, Apple’s looks more realistic (within limits) and less fake.

You could wait for the fall to get a new iPhone, because the new one will surely be faster, smaller, bigger, lighter, more advanced, etc. All the usual things Apple says when the new models come out.

But if you wait, you’ll miss all the great photos you could be taking in April, May, June, July, August and September.

So that’s my verdict. Don’t wait.

(BTW, speaking of iPhone and photography, if you haven’t checked out my top 20 smartphone tips yet, please take a read!)

What about used?

We bought the phone from Apple.com and picked it up at a nearby Apple Store, paying full retail price. The question did dawn on me afterwards: could we have gotten a better deal buying a used model?

The major savings just aren’t there, unless we went backwards to an 11, but why do that? Apple basically makes their models unusable after a certain point.

Apple: $979 with 256 GB

Gazelle: $809

eBay: $879

So, the savings were around $100 on the low side to almost $200 on the high side. It was probably worth it to look a little harder, but there’s something so convenient about picking it right down the street.

And we get another free year of Apple TV+ for our purchase.

Besides, Ruth says she prefers having the new one. She feels more comfortable with a sealed box. (Bargain hunters: when the iPhone 13 gets introduced in the fall, Apple historically lowers the price by $100 of previous models.)

The week in Tech

Cheap phones. Apple rival Samsung updated its budget Galaxy A series of phones, which use cheaper parts and have less bells and whistles than the higher end Galaxy S line. And they start at just over $100. Check out Mike’s Galaxy A run-down.

Home Internet: T-Mobile, as I noted earlier in the week, unveiled home internet based on its 5G wireless network. Good news: you now possibly have a competitor to high priced cable systems from Comcast and Spectrum. The bad news: your cable internet is as much as 4 times faster than T-Mobile 5G.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips: The worldwide chip shortage could affect the production of new iPads and MacBook computers, reports the Verge. So if you were on the fence, buy now. If you wait, they might not be there available for you at the second half of the year.

I/O: For years I traveled to San Francisco to attend Google’s I/O conference, when the company revealed new things about upcoming software and hardware. Due to COVID, last year’s even was canceled, and this year will be online. The good news is it’s free to attend, so if you have any interest in what’s up with Google, you can click here to register. And no, I don’t miss being there in person. Too crowded, getting internet access too tough, and way easier to watch online instead!

Wix vs. WordPress. Matt Mullenweg, the young developer who dreamt up WordPress, the dominant software for blogging, posted an interesting teardown of his way smaller rival on his blog. In a nutshell, he says Wix is rotten and steals code from WordPress. I have blogs on Wix and WordPress, so reading this opened my eyes. For me, the Wix experience has been way better (faster, less cumbersome) than WordPress. And Wix has fantastic customer service, whereas WordPress is open source, and thus has no customer service. So now I don’t know how to feel.

More Pickles! Thank you Brent’s!

If you can’t get enough of pickles, Brent’s in Northridge, California gives you a more generous plate than does Canter’s. And it has better lighting too!

And how about the size of that pastrami sandwich?

Yes, I’m out doing a Deli Photowalk again. I’m updating the original, with new segments. Look it for when Photowalks launches the second season episodes on Tubi, hopefully by summer. (If you haven’t tuned in yet, what are you waiting for?)

And speaking of Photowalking

We had a great turnout for last Saturday’s 6:30 a.m. jaunt through Manhattan Beach. So by popular demand, we’re scheduling anther for May, on May 6. You sleepyheads have no excuses now. We’re doing an evening sunset Photowalk, again in Manhattan Beach, starting at 7 p.m. You can register from the link below.

Thanks as always for reading, watching and listening. If you enjoyed today’s edition, please let me know with a reply or by clicking the HEART.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Jeff