If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in either getting the iPhone 5, or you want to see whether or not I was disappointed with Apple’s latest offering. Based on all the media attention the iPhone 5 is getting, you might be on the fence about purchasing one because of all the negative press it’s been getting mainly because of 1 app, the new Maps app. All I can say is that the media has seriously blown this out of proportion and most are just jumping on the bandwagon to gain page views. In fact, I wouldn’t even trust anything the media has to say until you go and feel one in person and try it out in person. The the only way to gauge whether or not you’ll like the new iPhone 5, not what someone tells you about it. Even my review here should be taken with a grain of salt since this is my impression of the phone, not yours.
I’ll start this off by stating that I’m upgrading from an iPhone 4. I skipped the iPhone 4S because I didn’t really see much difference with my iPhone 4 and because I was still under contract with AT&T. Well, with the release of the iPhone 5, my contract was finally up and I was dead set on getting the new phone and finally being able to use Siri and many of the new features.
Let me just say that coming off an iPhone 4 and holding the iPhone 5 in your hands, you can already feel a huge difference between the two. The iPhone 5 is so much lighter than the iPhone 4. It’s amazing that Apple was able to make the phone slightly larger and yet make it so much lighter than the previous phones. I know a lot of people have been complaining that the iPhone 5 might be too light and feels like a toy, but seriously? As technology gets more advanced and we are ably to make parts smaller and lighter, obviously phones are going to get lighter, not heavier. Even with the weight reduction though, you can really feel the quality in the iPhone 5 though. There are zero gaps in the body anywhere and it almost feels like this thing was chiseled from a single slab of lightweight aluminum.
When compared to the previous iPhone 4/4S again, it’s also noticeably taller and thinner. In your hands, it doesn’t feel as chunky anymore, even though the previous phones were far from being called fat. I was worried about how the taller screen might affect one-handed usage, but in all honesty, I still have no problems using it with one hand. Because the phone is the same width, texting with one hand is still very natural and previous iPhone owners will feel right at home here.
Another area where we see complaints about is the new Lightning port at the bottom of the phone. This replaces Apple’s old 30 pin port. This allowed Apple to make the iPhone 5 much thinner. What’s my take on it? I love it. It’s tiny, and the cable that attaches to it can be plugged in regardless of orientation. I don’t own any old iPhone docks so compatibility is not an issue for me. I don’t believe in docks. In fact, I usually tell people that you are better off connecting devices to the iPhone using Bluetooth instead. Why keep your device confined? With Bluetooth, you can still carry it around with you while beaming audio to a pair of Bluetooth enabled speakers. This way, you never have to worry about ports or plugs. Plus, technology advances. I know it’s hard moving on, but you need to do it. I mean, who really uses tapes anymore or even CD’s? Yes, some of us still have a huge CD collection, but that’s also why we keep around some legacy equipment while moving on to new tech. This is no different. If you want the latest tech, you have to sacrifice some old gear.
iOS6 isn’t really too much different from all the previous iOS versions. As usual with iOS updates, Apple just added new features and improved upon what it already had in place. If you’ve been using iOS up to iOS5, then iOS6 should come naturally to you. The only difference really is the inclusion now of a new Passbook app and the removal of both the Youtube app and the original Maps app. the Maps app has no been replaced with Apple’s own mapping system.
For starters, you will not miss the fact that Youtube is no longer there. I say this because the original Youtube app was abysmal. It was very slow and took forever to load videos. Instead, I suggest that you download Google’s new Youtube app in the App Store which plays video much faster. You’ll still be able to upload video you take on the iPhone to Youtube regardless of whether or not you have the app. For Maps, the data no longer relies on Google for data. Apple now uses their own in-house mapping data which has both its pros and cons at the moment.
Here’s the part where you can not listen to what the media has to say about Maps because, everyone uses maps for different reasons. In my case, I live in Miami and could really care less that transit data is no longer available as I drive my own car everywhere. Same goes for Street View. Yes it comes in handy once in a while but for the most part, it was a feature you used just to show off to your friends. What we did gain in the upgrade is a new turn-by-turn navigation system which uses Siri as it’s default voice and a new Flyover mode that can show a whole city in stunning 3D. To me, those 2 features alone outweight the loss of transit data and Street View. As for the media’s view that mapping data and routes are incorrect, it is totally over blown and depends on the area you live in. For me, it’s been very accurate so far and correctly takes me where I need to go. What the media fails to tell you is that Google’s own mapping system has it’s problems too for certain areas and anyone who has used it will tell you that it isn’t too entirely accurate either. I’ve had Google Maps take me on a 10 mile detour for a destination that was only 2 miles away.
Passbook is another new app that is included with iOS6. I can’t honestly tell you anything about it though as I haven’t really been able to use it or have found a need for it yet. The icon looks pretty though.
As with most OS’s, you either love iOS or you hate it. All I can say is that iOS is very easy to learn and use and you should really play with it first before buying the iPhone 5 because it’s a major part of the user experience. Also, if there is a feature missing that other phone manufacturers may claim the iPhone doesn’t have, it’s just not true because those voids can be filled in with any number of apps available in Apple’s App Store from third party developers.
This is just one man’s opinion on the new iPhone 5. It might not be the same as others, but that’s what makes us individuals. We are all entitled to our opinions and my opinion on the iPhone 5 is that this is the best iPhone Apple has ever made. It’s a beautiful phone that screams high-end tech. Should you upgrade or buy one if you’ve never owned an iPhone? Well, that all depends on you. If you have an iPhone 4 or earlier, I would definitely suggest upgrading as you will see a big difference in both performance and features. If you have an iPhone 4S, I’d say skip a generation, but if you want to upgrade, go ahead. If you’ve never handled an iPhone and are thinking of switching to the new iPhone 5, I highly suggest visiting your local Apple Store and testing one in person. Don’t just read the reviews about it online. Go to the actual store and play with it. Getting a feeling for iOS and all the included apps and get a feel for the new hardware. Reading reviews is a good source of info, but nothing beats good old hands-on time with a gadget you want to buy.