Looking For My Next Smartphone
The device I currently keep on or near my person, both at home and on the go, is a first gen iPhone SE smartphone. First released in March 2016, it's a nearly 6-year-old phone. At the time of this writing, it runs the latest version of iOS and still receives updates from Apple. It does everything I need a smartphone to do, and almost everything I want one to do. While I have tinkered with different smartphones here and there, I keep coming back to my little iPhone. I know it's not going to be usable forever, so I've been thinking for a long while about what will take its place.
As of right now, I'm pretty much committed to purchasing either a refurbished Android phone and installing /e/OS on it, or purchasing a Murena Teracube 2e from the /e/ Foundation. I actually managed to purchase a Teracube from them before and I found it to be decent, but I sold it because I needed the cash more than the phone. But I really liked /e/OS and the eCloud services that came with it. I still use eCloud for some things.
Whatever phone I end up getting, there are a couple features that it absolutely must have.
3.5 mm Audio Jack
Whatever smartphone manufacturers may claim, removing the 3.5 mm audio jack from their devices is all about money and has little to do with improving the design of their phones or doing what's best for their customers. The 3.5 mm jack is a universal audio standard that spans billions of devices and multiple decades. They removed the jack because they wanted people to buy their wireless earbuds/headphones. Wireless earbuds are generally more expensive than their wired counterparts. They are disposable by design, because they have non-replaceable batteries. That means wireless earbuds are a guaranteed source of recurring income for the companies that manufacture them. They have a vested interest in making it less convenient to use wired earbuds, hence the removal of the audio jack.
On principle, I refuse to use wireless earbuds. And I also refuse to use a dongle just to be able to use wired earbuds. So if a smartphone doesn't have an audio jack, that disqualifies it from my consideration.
As with wireless earbuds/headphones, smartphone batteries degrade over time and eventually go bad. I want to be able to easily replace my smartphone battery as desired and it shouldn't require me to take the phone apart to do so. This is a no-brainer feature for increasing the useful life and repairability of any device.
It's also a good security feature as most phones don't have hardware kill switches. Nobody can use your phone to track you or steal your info if the battery is physically removed from it.
Why Not A Newer iPhone?
Aside from the fact that new iPhones have neither an audio jack nor a user-replaceable battery, I don't believe any single company should have the degree of control that Apple has over all of its products and services. Granted, that control has allowed them to produce products that are excellent in both form and function. But I believe they have abused that power in more than one area and I don't trust them with it.
My Last iPhone
I'm determined that my 6-year-old iPhone will be my last. I will switch to something else this year, definitely before Fall 2022, as I am pretty sure my iPhone will not run iOS 16.