In 2007, thousands upon thousands of people stood in line for hours to witness the advent of Apple’s first iPhone. It was considered to be revolutionary (and marketed as such). Being only 15 years old at this point, I remained unenthused. To begin with, I didn’t have an income to afford such a luxury. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with my SideKick 3, but I knew that only the richest students in my school would buy the iPhone. Few would, especially knowing there would be connectivity/signal problems given how isolated we were, nestled between the mesas in Sedona, Arizona. I didn’t give in to the pressure of everyone around me using the same technology provided by the iPhone until I finally asked for the iPhone 4 as a birthday gift from my mother nearly two years ago. I am not much for following ‘fads’, but I quite like my iPhone. The question now becomes: Will the iPhone 5 be worth the switch?
The biggest problem that I’ve heard people might have with the phone (which isn’t due to be released until September 21st) is the change in charger plug. Traditionally, since the original iPod classic, Apple has used a wide 30-pin plug in all iPhones, iPads and the majority of iPods. The iPhone 5 features a new kind of plug, which they call the ‘Lightning connector’. It is very small, comparatively, and the price for an adaptor is currently $29. To put this into perspective, though, the 3rd generation iPod classic started using the same 30-pin plug in 2003. Almost ten years later, I think it is time for a change. Android, HTC and Google phones have changed their charger ports at least from mini-USB to micro-USB, and as far as I’ve heard, very little stink has been made about that. Why do Apple customers have the right to complain? We’ve had it good, people, stop complaining. It’s about time we upgraded, and maybe we’ll have another ten years to go before we have to buy new adaptors. Besides, after the iPhone 5 has been out for a while, I’m willing to bet that we will see a slurry of off-brand accessories (like the 30-pin to Lightning adaptor) for much cheaper prices. I’ll be looking out for them on Amazon.com soon enough.
The next complaint is that the only change is in the size of the screen. The last iPhone, the 4S, was an upgrade to the ‘Retina’ display, which boasts high definition imaging. This one is made of the same stuff, but is (according to Apple’s website) 18% thinner, 20% lighter and has 12% less volume. In all honesty, I could care less. My biggest problem is that in order to assure that I don’t break it (because it seems like a unanimous vote by Apple’s customers that the glass screen is delicate) I have to use a hefty case that nearly doubles the size of my iPhone 4.
The iPhone 5 is also being marketed as having an 8 mega-pixel camera, upgraded Siri (voice recognition software) and the iOS 6. I don’t know enough about the upgrade in software to speak of it, but an HD ‘FaceTime’ frontward facing camera seems like overkill. I love my family, but on the off chance I decide I need to talk to them face-to-face, do they really need to see every single pore on my nose? I also have not had the opportunity to use Siri, but as far as I’ve heard from iPhone user friends of mine, it is easy to get bored with her, and after a while, you may not use her at all.
What I am most disappointed about, however, is the supposed ‘upgrade’ in mobile speeds. According to Apple’s website, wireless LTE speeds will make browsing the internet fast and easy. Nowhere is it mentioned how reliable cellular service will be, or whether it is to be 3G or 4G. I suspect LTE speeds will only be applicable to data downloaded via WiFi internet connection. Please, Apple: Prove me wrong.
So what’s my answer? iPhone 5, or iPhone 4? The answer is that it depends. Paying for it myself, I’d probably just stick with the iPhone 4. Aside from a few unexplained ‘ghost calls’ from mine to another phone, I’ve had no problems with it and it still works just fine. It is compatible, even already being a generation behind (if you can consider the 4S to be a separate generation of iPhone), and at least all of my plugs and accessories wouldn’t have to be replaced. Seeing as Christmas is just around the corner, however, it is very possible that I might receive the iPhone 5 as a gift. Like anyone else, I love new technology, so I certainly wouldn’t say no. Without having to pay $200 and get a new cellular plan, I’d say its worth it for the price of a few new accessories and adaptors. I’m looking forward to finding out what new tricks Apple has in store – pun intended. As with other iPhone releases, I’m sure there will be lines around the block on Friday made up of die-hard fans.
EDIT: As of February, I am now an iPhone 5 user. I actually quite like it, and I’ve realized that I was wrong about a number of things. I can actually tell the difference in weight- I keep my phone on me at all times, and now I hardly feel it when it’s in my pocket. The larger screen is nice, especially since it puts the microphone closer to your mouth during phone calls. In some places (depending on your cellular carrier) you actually do get 4G LTE speeds. In the interest of full disclosure, I had a bit of a senior moment when I first tried searching something in an LTE zone. It was so incredibly fast that I was a little bit scared and I almost wanted to go back to the slow pacing of my iPhone 4. Now that I’m used to it, I certainly won’t be going back.