I’ve had the iPhone 5 for a week now.
I skipped the 4S because I did not think it was giving me enough to justify the upgrade and decided to wait until the 5. After all, I assumed that the next numbered upgrade would surely have more bells and whistles and I was right. Since I waited, I think the upgrade was far more impressive to me than it would have been to someone upgrading from the 4S.
Aesthetically, I was sold on the phone from the start. Apple’s industrial design is unparalleled. Even people who aren’t in the bank with Apple can appreciate the quality of their designs. The phone itself is beautiful: you look at it and can’t help but be amazed by the precision of its engineering. The longer screen feels more comfortable in my hand. It feels natural. On my previous phone, I was constantly fighting with my icons (I’m OCD when it comes to the order of my apps!) and I never felt like I had the space to divide them up the way I wanted to. The iPhone 5′s extra row of icons is something that I’ve been wishing for in the back of my mind for some time now.
As a pixel snob and a videophile, having a screen that’s in proper 16:9 aspect ratio is a big deal. I use my phone to watch a lot of videos and spot check my own video content and on my previous phone, it was always annoying to see movies not filling up the screen properly. I paid for all of these pixels and I want to see every one of them used!
There’s no doubt that when you first pick up the iPhone 5 it feels a little light and fragile, especially compared to the 4, which was a hefty device. However, I’m pretty religious about keeping my phone in a case and Otter Box is my case of choice. It covers and protects the screen without disrupting any of the touch gestures. The Otter Box is solid, so once I put my phone in the case, it took it back up to the comfortable weight of the 4. So I managed to sidestep that issue altogether, but truthfully: picking it up for the first time was a bit disconcerting.
I’ve been blown away by Siri. Since I never had the 4S, this was my first date with her, so to speak. Before I booted up the phone, I was questioning whether or not I’d find her useful, but now I find myself amazed by how often I ask for help! For example, in order to use your timer before Siri, you’d have to unlock your phone, scroll to the clock app, open it, scroll to the time section, set the time and press go. That’s a long process! Now all I have to do is press the home button and ask Siri to set the timer for eight minutes. Finding the closest gas stations, dictating texts while I drive, asking to play a specific song…Siri’s been hugely helpful with that kind of shortcutting.
I think it was a fundamental mistake for Apple to remove Google Maps for their own maps app. Google has spent so much time, energy, money and effort into building this amazing system that it seems silly for Apple to decide to go through the entire process themselves. From a pure service-to-the-people standpoint, I think Apple Maps is a failure. It’s corporate bickering at its most unproductive (and to be fair, the iOS version of Google Maps didn’t have all of the features of the Android version, which led to the break-up in the first place). However, simply in terms of performance, Apple Maps is superior. It loads faster. It scrolls faster. The interface is smoother and more friendly. Since I only use it for local travel, all of my directions have been completely accurate. If I lived overseas or in a rural area, I may be more annoyed with it. My one major issue has been with searching for specific businesses. A Google search is still more useful for finding the nearest Radio Shack than Apple Maps.
And the Rest…
I realize this is more of an iOS 6 thing than an iPhone 5 thing, but being able to directly add photos and videos to an email is huge for me. As someone who does a lot of QA testing, I often have to take a dozen different screenshots of an app to send out. Before, I would have to send a dozen emails to myself, each with a different image. Now, I can open one email and insert every photo and send it off straight from my phone. Now that I have it, it feels criminal that it was never included in previous versions!
Add the deeper Facebook integration and the Do Not Disturb feature (vital for a movie buff like me) and you have everything I want in a smartphone. Apple may have been a little late to the party with some of these features, but I’m excited that they showed up at all!