The iPhone 5

I have been asked numerous times in the last few days: what do you think of the new iPhone 5? Will you recommend me to buy it?

Go, whet your appetite at the official iPhone page. It has a great design (thinner, lighter), it’s the same width but taller (4 inches now), comes with an awesome camera, has better battery life & comes with LTE connectivity. The feature list is impressive as are the tech specs.

Am I going to buy it? No, I’m happy with last year’s model. (ok, a little older – I’m using an iPhone 4 personally). It is a pity that I can no longer link to the site made by gina trapani & anil dash.

If you need to buy a new phone, my suggestion is of course to get the best & latest model, and that is the iPhone 5. If however your older iPhone 4S or 4 is working, I think my arguments work on why you don’t quite need to migrate yet. Put it plain & simple: the iPhone 4 I carry in my pocket “just works”. I have a mophie juice pack to extend its battery life. I have invested in the dock ecosystem tremendously (chargers for an office, two homes, as well as the travel kit; devices like a Withings BP-800 Blood Pressure Monitor, a whole lot more like music docks & those pesky things called in-car audio systems).

I wrote about the dock ecosystem a while back and Apple has decided to upgrade this, i.e. now with a Lighting connector. One has to buy a Lightning to 30-pin adapter. I understand that it was probably impossible to get the design to become much thinner, but we’re in a dilemma situation now especially when many people have i-devices, including an iPad. Gone is the ease of use of just having similar chargers. This transition period is going to be tough. Also, some countries get the adapter included for free, while others are forced to pay USD$30 for it.

Apple has decided to use a nano SIM (i.e. something smaller than a micro-SIM). People are still getting used to micro-SIM’s, and my travel kit even has a SIM cutter, because when you travel its pretty hard to find prepaid services that offer micro-SIM cards. Its impossible to cut a micro-SIM to a nano-SIM, so telcos have to support it by default. Apple doesn’t care so much about this because in their launch market (the USA), they have AT&T giving you international data roaming plans that don’t cost an arm & a leg. I have to pay anywhere between USD$12-19 to have data roaming per day.

No one knows if one of the major complaints about the iPhone is fixed – the dodgy home button. I know many iPhone users whom have owned a second phone turn on the accessibility functionality just so that they don’t have to press the home button. This is a workaround and does not work as expected. It is a disappointment for such a costly device that such things do not stand the test of time.

A lot of people sell the idea that its great to watch videos & movies on your iPhone. I’m sure many people do that, but I don’t. I watch movies on my iPad quite happily when mobile. Or on my huge LCD television when I’m home :-)

It comes with LTE. I’m sure LTE is meant to be awesome (in fact, I’ve use it regularly in South Korea, and it is fast, real fast), but my home carriers don’t support it yet. And it likely that by the time there is widespread support throughout the whole of Malaysia (heck, its still difficult to get reliable 3G access in the whole country if you step out of the Klang Valley) there will be a next generation iPhone, which is something I might pick up.

The camera on my iPhone 4 is sufficient. The camera on the 4S is awesome. And I bet the camera on the 5 will do wonders with easy panaromas, quicker photo capture, etc. It probably means I will find less need to carry a point & shoot, but this alone is not a good reason to upgrade.

I doubt that there will be much software that doesn’t run on the iPhone 4. iOS 6 will run on the iPhone 4. Apple continues to sell the iPhone 4, so it will be supported. 

So, am I compelled to upgrade? No. But if anything happened to my dear iPhone 4, I might consider the iPhone 5. Or with my investment in the dock connector ecosystem, I might just get an iPhone 4S :-) Happy not to be giving into the consumption economy!