The Absence of a Key Feature Makes My iPhone 15 Pro Max Fall Short Compared to its Predecessor, the iPhone 13 Pro.

iPhone 15 Pro Max, old iPhone 13 Pro

The concept of patina may seem like an unlikely association with an iPhone, but it is an intriguing and often overlooked aspect of the aging process for materials, particularly metals. Patina refers to the natural discoloration that occurs over time as a result of exposure and age. It is the green layer that forms over copper, giving the Statue of Liberty its distinct appearance. It is also responsible for the natural wear on the brass top plate of a Leica camera, adding a touch of character and charm.

Recently, I upgraded to the impressive iPhone 15 Pro Max, bidding farewell to my trusty iPhone 13 Pro. As I packed up my old device to send it off to my colleagues in the historical city of Bath, a beam of sunlight spilled into the office, illuminating my iPhone and revealing the vibrant hues and colors that had developed on its stainless steel sides over time. A mix of purple, blue, silver, and even a hint of bronze danced before my eyes.

Although I had noticed this rainbow-like discoloration on my iPhone before, it took on a new significance after months of using the sleek and modern iPhone 15 Pro Max with its titanium housing. While the new device was certainly impressive in performance and design, it lacked the potential for the development of patina. And it is this potential for patina that adds a certain depth and soul to a device.

I understand that there may be some readers who find the idea of a discolored iPhone unappealing. Many people strive to keep their devices in pristine condition, opting for robust cases to protect them. However, to me, the patina brings a certain charm. It transforms a seemingly flawless and impersonal device into something fallible and imperfect, which, in turn, adds a sense of soul and character.

Perhaps my appreciation for patina stems from my interest in mechanical watches. In this digital age, traditional timepieces may seem outdated to some, but they possess a beauty that comes from their imperfections. They chip, scratch, and age with grace, telling a story of time passed and experiences lived. There is nostalgia in looking at a well-loved object—a worn leather jacket or a beloved timepiece—and appreciating the marks of wear and tear that have accumulated over the years.

If the comparison to material objects seems far-fetched, consider the wrinkles on our faces as we age. They are a testament to the life we have lived, the lessons we have learned, and the experiences we have had. They tell a story, just like the patina on an iPhone or the wear on a leather jacket.

Of course, one could argue that I am assigning too much significance to the stained stainless steel of a phone. And yes, perhaps I am indulging in fanciful thoughts on a Friday evening. However, there is value in finding beauty and meaning in unexpected places.

While I do not necessarily believe that the iPhone 16 should return to stainless steel after the impressive introduction of titanium in the iPhone 15 Pro Max, I will miss the patination found on my iPhone 13 Pro. It marked a journey of transitioning from Android to iPhone, and served as a touchpoint for memories and experiences. Perhaps, in the future, Apple can find a way to incorporate new colors and finishes that allow for the development of unique patina on their devices.

In a world that often emphasizes perfection and flawlessness, embracing the beauty of imperfections can remind us of the passage of time and the richness of our experiences. Patina is more than just a discoloration; it is a glimpse into the story and history of an object. And in a society that is constantly chasing the latest and greatest, taking a moment to appreciate the patina that develops over time can be a refreshing reminder of the beauty that can emerge from age and use.

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