The iPhone 5: First Impressions After a Day of Use

I'm an admitted technology addict, but the combination of life and common sense help me from buying every new product. I skipped the iPhone 4S and the new iPad, as both were “evolutionary” upgrades versus “revolutionary.” We could have kept our iPhone 4s (which we have not yet sold), but it was time to upgrade to the iPhone 5. We had met AT&T's requirements for upgrade pricing, meaning that both of us have had our iPhone 4s for more that two years.

The technology press is complaining because the iPhone 5 isn't revolutionary enough–which may be correct, or it might be an unrealistic expectation. Perhaps Apple really has found the form factor which is best (for them), and doesn't need to reinvent the wheel at this point. But the iPhone 5 has a plethora of improvements that make it revolutionary over the iPhone 4 (if not the iPhone 4S).

The iPhone 5 has a taller screen, is thinner, lighter, has a much improved camera, and is at least three times as fast as my iPhone 4. It has LTE, but LTE is only a future goal of AT&T where I live (the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul). It also has a smaller charger adapter (lightening), and requires a completely new case.

In short, we love our iPhone 5s. We loved our iPhone 4s, but the iPhone 5 is a huge upgrade. One of the people I follow on Twitter mentioned that they upgraded from an iPhone 3GS to a iPhone 5: that must be a unbelievable step forward.

There are still issues with the iPhone 5. Some are related to the operating system, others are connected to the hardware itself. There has been a lot of discussion about Maps in iOS 6, which are now provided by Apple instead of Google. I've tried a few searches, and everything works for me–and I find it to be no less accurate than Google, which has occasionally mislead me (the most famous was down a DNR service dirt road that led to nowhere. I felt a little bit like Michael Scott following a GPS unit into a lake). Apple Maps may not be perfect, but something tells me it will improve quickly.

There has also been a lot of angst regarding the change in the charging adapter for the iPhone 5. I personally love it–you can use it either direction, and it sure looks (and acts) more rugged than the old 30-pin adapter. We have very few accessories that utilize the 30 pin adapter in our house, having moved to other specs (Bluetooth and AirPlay) over the past few years. There are certainly a lot of 30-pin accessories out there (the most expensive being car systems), and I can understand the angst of previous iOS users who have those accessories. But at the same time, don't many of those devices have an audio in jack, and isn't it likely that some genius will come up with a low cost adapter that gives full functionality through a nine-pin to 30 pin adapter (Apple sells an adapter, but it does not work with all functions).

I'm not a huge “gamer,” but I do play some games from time to time, such as pinball, jetpack joyride, dizzy pad, or others. Games that are not yet optimized for the taller screen are a little annoying, as most game controls are based in the lower corners of the iPhone screen–but non-optimized games have a black band at the top and bottom (usually left and right in gaming landscape mode), meaning that you naturally hit a “control” on a part of the screen that isn't active. It's going to take a while for all the apps to adapt to the iPhone 5, and some may never do so…meaning that those games will never truly work well on the iPhone 5.

Overall, the iPhone 5 is amazingly light (a number of writers have mentioned that they think it is fake the first time they pick it up, and I'd agree), well built (it is doing amazingly well with drop tests), and the new coloring of the bands on the black unit make it look sinister–like a “blacked out” motorcycle. The camera is something we are really looking forward to…the iPhone is my only camera, and the improvement will be noticeable in the pictures I take. I took a panoramic photo of our backyard today (not on a tripod and a 180° view), and thought I would post that as well (I will be buying a Glif for my iPhone 5, too). As we come from the iPhone 4, we're also enjoying Siri, which I'll also enjoy as I have a thirty minute drive each day (I'll be able to text my wife hands-free instead of not being able to text at all). If you're in the need for a new iPhone, or want an iPhone, I recommend the iPhone 5 to you. You won't be disappointed.




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