September 16, 2012

iPhone 5 - really, what else do I need to say, that's the only search terms that will matter anyway

Ok - so I was asked to give my thoughts on the iPhone 5.  Obviously, since it is still in the "Pre-Order" stage, I haven't actually had a chance to test one, but I've seen the specs and read about the changes both directly from Apple and from other sources.  So here goes....

First things first - I will not be getting an iPhone 5.  It isn't because it's lacking any certain features that I have to have or that I don't like the design or anything like that.  It is simply because my cell phone bill each month is $15, and I like to keep it that way.  I hate the companies FORCE you to get a data plan just because you have a smartphone - even if you will NEVER use it.  I have a 4G mobile hotspot that I pay $25 a month for - unlimited data on up to 8 devices at once - and have no need for service tied only to my phone.

As far as the device itself - they did a lot of good things.  There are definite improvements pretty much across the board from previous iPhones.  But saying that a new model of a device is better than a previous model of the same device is like saying water is wet.  It is a true statement - but who would expect otherwise?

It really needs to be judged on its own merit - not just on its improvement.  "Most improved" awards don't tell you if its any good or not, just that it was better than it was before.

Previously, I have written some things to consider before buying a tablet, and I will try to follow that format when sharing my thoughts on the iPhone 5.  Obviously, it's a phone, and not a tablet, but since the two categories are so interrelated, most of the criteria are the same.

Display - Since the screen is basically the only way to interact with the device, it is pretty important.  The new screen is bigger, 4.0" compared to the previous 3.5" which the iPhone has had since day one back in 2007.   Even at 4" - it's far from the biggest smartphone out there.  For my tablet requirements, I said a 7" screen is ideal.  That wouldn't make a lot of sense for a phone, though.  While I would prefer a 5" screen - the super-high pixel per inch (a reported 326!) brings the overall number of pixels to laptop levels.  I also like that it is a true 16:9 aspect ratio.  This makes it the ideal shape for HD content.  The screen is still small though.  The colors are very vivid and Apple is known for their very responsive capacitive screens, and the iPhone 5 is no different.  It is a very pretty display.

CPU/GPU/RAM - The speed is far more than enough for most smart-phone purposes.  The main area that the doubling of the speed will shine is gaming.  If you don't play games that are more processor intensive than Angry Birds on your phone, though, the speed boost will probably not be noticed, since most apps still have to be able to run decently well on older hardware, like the iPhone 4 or the iPod Touch 4th Gen, which are both still being produced and sold by Apple.

Connectivity - Bluetooth was upgraded to the current standard of 4.0, the WiFi has been improved to the dual-band 5.0 Ghz format, which means if you are in a WiFi hotspot that supports that format, your speed will be increased.  However - this really only applies to Intranet transfers (trading files to other local computers on the same local network) and not Internet transfers (streaming videos from Hulu, Netflix, YouTube,  - surfing the web - downloading attachments or apps - etc.) since Internet speeds are far lower than WiFi G in the vast majority of cases.  The big draw is 4G LTE... which means if you are lucky enough to live in an area covered by such, you will have the fastest currently available mobile internet possible.  This is a selling point over the previous models of iPhones, but not so much over other smartphones on the market today, since it is pretty much standard.  And, just an aside, the new "Nano-SIM Card" does *NOTHING* to improve the functionality of the device... All it does is makes the amount of space needed for a SIM card smaller, so the overall device can be smaller and/or lighter.

Ports - That really should read "port" since there is only one aside from the headphone jack.  Apple's latest stupid proprietary non-standard connection, called "Lightning" replaces the stupid proprietary non-standard 30-pin connection they've been using for years with all of their iDevices.  This means exactly NONE of the THOUSANDS of iPhone-compatible accessories made over the last half-decade will work with the iPhone 5.  Now, Apple could have used this opportunity to switch to any of a number of existing standard ports that are used by literally every other device company on planet Earth - but they did not.  A micro-USB port and a micro-HDMI port would have handled it.  Crap, even their idiotic Intel-shared Thunderbolt port would have been more useful.  At least it wouldn't have added YET ANOTHER connection to have to deal with.  Let me be clear here - the ONLY reason Apple created this bastard port is to MAKE MONEY licensing it out to accessory makers and selling their own INSANELY OVERPRICED adapters directly to the iObsessed public at large.  Needless to say, I despise and hate this move and cannot say enough against it.  The old 30-pin connector wasn't any better - but it was at least widely known and been in production for over half a decade.  There are plenty of accessories that work with it that already exist and function.

Other expansions/connections/ports - there aren't any.  No HDMI, no video-out, no USB, no flash card reader, no nothing.  It has an absolute lack of expandability in anyway shape or form.  What you get when you buy the device is what you will have when you toss it in the trash.  It is as good as it is ever going to get.  You can't even change the battery.

Operating System - it's iOS.  iOS 6 will come out next month (reportedly) and will be a free upgrade, of course.  Right now, it's iOS 5.  If you've ever used any of the iDevices, you know what you are going to get.  I have an iPod Touch, and an iPad (although, I never use the iPad, you can buy mine if you want it) and I like iOS just fine.  I prefer Android.  And I really prefer WebOS - but there just aren't any apps for WebOS since HP so royally badly screwed up the TouchPad launch.  For most people - if you are not already part of the iOS / Mac culture, there is no reason to pick an iDevice over an Android one.  And don't forget Windows phones.  Ok - that's all I got to say about that.

No, I didn't "Forget" Blackberry.  They are just not worth mentioning is all.

Contracts - As I mentioned in the beginning, I won't ever be getting an iPhone for this reason.  I can't justify spending enough to buy a new low-end tablet every single month just to use a device I already paid hundreds of dollars for.  And buying it unlocked without a contract doesn't really help, since you still have to buy the data plan just to be able to use it as a phone.  It is completely not worth it.  Buy an iPod Touch and a dumb phone.  Spend the money you save on a Mobile Hot Spot and go out to eat once more a month with your friends and/or family.  You'll be a much happier, although maybe fatter, person.  If you are worried about the weight, you can send me the extra money each month and I will be fat(ter) for you.

Bottom line - I pretty much already said it.  Pass.  Even if you don't mind paying for the right to use a smart phone, there are far more powerful, more functional, more flexible phones out there.  Most of them run Android.  Google it.  :D

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1 comment:

JAmes said...

Good post. Same thoughts. Cheers