The wait finally came to an end as Apple fans across the country started seeing the big brown truck pulling up and handing off boxes containing the iPhone 5 to the millions who jumped on the upgrade bandwagon the prior week. As with any iPhone launch, this one came with plenty of hype and media coverage as fans lined up outside of Apple stores hoping to score one of their own. It really is amazing for a company to have a product that generates as much publicity as an iPhone does with its launch. Even people who do not generally follow tech news can tell you that there is a new iPhone in town.
Of course, all of this hype and attention does not come without a price. Apple is learning that when a company creates a product that is so universally loved as the iPhone is, that it is difficult to upgrade or replace that product and meet the expectations of the consumer. All weekend there have been story after story about the failures of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6. There have been complaints about the Maps application, the durability of the phone, Siri giving New Yorkers the weather in Texas, and even some complaints about the lack of weight (if you can believe that).
Whatever the complaints, one thing is for certain; the iPhone 5 is a big hit and very profitable for Apple. It has been reported that with pre-orders and the first weekend of the device being on sale in the US that Apple has sold over 5 million iPhone 5s. In addition, I was also told by a Verizon employee today that they had also had a run on the iPhone 4 and 4S since the prices have dropped on these models. So one must take all of the negative reports with a grain of salt, we complain about the evil company known as Apple and their horrific products as we line up outside the store to purchase these very same products.
But despite all of the different opinions that abound concerning the new iPhone 5, I thought I would take some time to give you my impressions of the device. If you are new here at ChristianDroid, you may find it strange that a website named after an Android would stoop to take about Apple products, but we are equal opportunity geeks here. I have used many mobile devices and operating systems and have extensive knowledge of both. But my daily phone that I use is an iPhone.
I received my new iPhone 5 on Friday along with the rest of the crowds. No, I wasn’t standing outside in line, but I did happen get in on the initial pre-order of the devices, so mine arrived via the big brown truck on Friday morning. I have used the phone since receiving it and actually used both the 4S and 5 Friday and Saturday, comparing the two. Here are my initial impressions.
- Size – the new iPhone size is perfect in my opinion. I love the fact that it is still narrow enough to fit in the palm of your hand but it is not too tall that you can’t use it one-handed. I have fairly small hands and am able to do most things with one hand, even though reaching the top corners require a little stretching of the fingers. The weight of the new phone is the first thing you will notice when you pick it up. There really is a considerable difference in the weight of the 4S and 5. And contrary to some reports, it is not too light. I think Apple hit a home run with the design of the new device.
- Speed – this thing is fast. There can be no denying that the new A6 chip that is incorporated into the new iPhone 5 is leaps and bounds ahead of anything else on the market today. It really is fast.
- Camera – the new camera on the phone is great. I have never been a fan of cell phone camera’s prior to my iPhone but since the 4S, I have not used any other type of camera other than the iPhone. No need to carry anything else around. And I can’t wait to test out the panorama function on some great landscapes.
- Space – the extra row of icons available on the iPhone 5 is really a great feature. I didn’t think that it would make that much difference to me but now that I have used it for a while I would not want to go back to the 4 rows on the previous models.
- LTE – Zoom! That is the best word to describe it. I have other 4G LTE devices so I was anxiously awaiting the iPhone’s entry into this network. The network is fast. This has little to do with the phone and much to do with the carrier. Based on my experience with Verizon’s 4G LTE network, it truly is faster than our broadband connection at work. I use their 4G network at home for our internet connection and you would not know we were on a cell network if I did not tell you. This isn’t a feature exclusive to the iPhone but iPhone users are now just discovering what Android users have known for some time now. LTE is fast.
- Maps – I’m not jumping on the trash the Maps app bandwagon, in fact, the maps app works fine for me. But I must admit that I very rarely ever used the old Google maps application on the iPhone and will probably not use the Apple version either. However, one can not dismiss the claims of incorrect and missing locations on the app. You should be aware, however, that the Apple maps application is a product of iOS 6 and if you upgrade any of your earlier devices to the new operating system you will end up with the new maps app.
- Durability – The phone itself is sturdy and does not feel like it is going to break in your hand. However, there are reports that the finish scratches very easily and even some complaints of the devices arriving scratched in the box. Mine was pristine out of the box and now resides in a very slim fitted case to protect the back and sides from scratches. I refused to take a key or paperclip to the back of mine for the sake of honest journalism, so let’s just agree that it probably does scratch. After all, every phone I’ve ever owned was prone to scratches if placed in a pocket full of keys and coins.
I have previously written about the upcoming changes in iOS 6 but I thought I would take a moment and list some of my favorite, less written about changes.
- You no longer have to key your password when updating apps from the app store. I hated having to do this and it never made any sense to me so I am grateful that it is gone. It is also helpful that the App Store doesn’t kick you back to the home screen when it starts downloading an application. This was another annoying feature that has been removed from the OS.
- Do Not Disturb – I love this feature. I no longer have to adjust the volume settings on the phone when going to bed. Do Not Disturb allows me to mute all sounds but still allow phone calls from my favorites to ring through.
- New font choices on Notes – I know that this is a simple thing but I have always hated the cartoon font used in the notes app. Now you have the ability to change the font to something that is a little more refined looking.
- Siri – Siri has learned a lot since iOS 5 was released and I am finding that I now use Siri more than ever. I never thought I would be using Siri to look up sports scores but I have found that extremely useful. It is also a great way to show off your geekiness. I have also found Siri to be helpful in locating restaurants that are nearby.
The iPhone 5 is the best phone that I have ever used. It is better than it’s predecessors, it is better than any of the Android phones that I have used. Apple claims that it is the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone. Not counting the size of the device, that is a pretty bold statement that Apple can proudly claim to be accurate.
But should you upgrade? I really think that depends on where you are in your network contract. If you have an upgrade available, then yes you should upgrade. You will get the increased screen size, speed boost, and 4G LTE (not available in all areas) to make the upgrade a sure thing. If you are not in the trade cycle then the answer would depend on the phone you currently have. Is the iPhone 5 worth $700 if you currently have an iPhone 4? I don’t think so. You will get all of the really cool features with iOS 6 free and the extra real estate really isn’t worth $700.
What if you are an Android customer? I guess this depends on how you use your phone. Is you phone stock and looks like it did when you opened the box? If yes, then stop by a store and check out the iPhone, you might be surprised at how easy it is to use. But if you have rooted, modded, or unlocked the bootloader on your Android device, then you should download a new Rom and install it on your phone.
If you are a non-smart phone user wanting to get a smartphone, the iPhone is a great place to start. With its ease of use and its almost foolproof OS, the iPhone is a great device. And if you don’t want to wait for an iPhone 5, now is a great time to pick up an iPhone 4S rather inexpensively.
What type of cell phone do you own?
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