I can say that, if you choose iOS, this is the phone to get. It’ll feel like part of a unified family: the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 are one continuous swoop of design, a three-step path that feels for once like a complete line rather than an archaeological timeline of iPhone Evolution. The near future of phones may involve new wireless technologies and plenty of exciting companion peripherals, but the shape of the phone itself feels ready to settle in for a spell, like laptops. That’s what happens when you find a successful solution to a problem. The iPhone 5 is approaching perfection of a form, not a solution to a problem that isn’t there.
If you own an iPhone 4, upgrade to the iPhone 5. Even if you own an iPhone 4S, give it a long look and decide if you’d like 4G LTE, or if you even have LTE service in your area.
Living with the iPhone 5 for a week, I forgot about its large screen. I forgot how thin it was. I forgot about the camera improvements. Sometimes, I even forgot about 4G LTE, and got confused whether I was currently surfing on Wi-Fi or not. The iPhone settles in, feels natural, doesn’t impose. Going back to my iPhone 4S, it feels thicker, heavier, small-screened, but no less impressively designed. Somehow, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S feel like they can co-exist.
If you’re looking for a show-off gadget, something with gee-whiz bells and whistles, then go somewhere else…except for the fact that people will inevitably want to see the iPhone 5 and grab it out of your hand. But, if you’re looking for an excellent, well-conceived phone…well, here it is.
If you own an iPhone 4S and especially if your carrier won’t let you upgrade yet at the $199 price, you may be content with just upgrading to the new software, which gives you a lot. But you’ll be stuck with the smaller screen, bulkier size and pokier cellular speed. If you own an older model iPhone, or are switching from another phone, however, the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice.
Apple has taken an already great product and made it better, overall. Consumers who prefer huge screens or certain marginal features have plenty of other choices, but the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice.
My experience with the iPhone 5, iOS and the EarPods has been great. The iPhone is everything Apple said it would be and with iOS 6 built-in, it’s clear to me that Apple has another winner on its hands.
I can’t think of any good reason why anyone wouldn’t upgrade or purchase the iPhone 5.
Should you get the new iPhone, when the best Windows Phone and Android phones offer similarly impressive speed, beauty and features?
The iPhone 5 does nothing to change the pros and cons in that discussion. Windows Phones offer brilliant design, but lag badly in apps and accessories.
Android phones shine in choice: you can get a huge screen, for example, a memory-card slot or N.F.C. chips (near-field communication — you can exchange files with other N.F.C. phones, or buy things in certain stores, with a tap). But Android is, on the whole, buggier, more chaotic and more fragmented — you can’t always upgrade your phone’s software when there’s a new version.
IPhones don’t offer as much choice or customization. But they’re more polished and consistently designed, with a heavily regulated but better stocked app catalog. They offer Siri voice control and the best music/movie/TV store, and the phone’s size and weight have boiled away to almost nothing.
If you have an iPhone 4S, getting an iPhone 5 would mean breaking your two-year carrier contract and paying a painful penalty; maybe not worth it for the 5’s collection of nips and tucks. But if you’ve had the discipline to sit out a couple of iPhone generations — wow, are you in for a treat.
The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, and in those areas that didn’t see an upgrade over its predecessor — camera, storage capacity — one could make a strong case that the iPhone 4S was already ahead of the curve. Every area, that is, except for the OS. If anything, it’s the operating system here that’s beginning to feel a bit dated and beginning to show its age.
Still, the iPhone 5 absolutely shines. Pick your benchmark and you’ll find Apple’s thin new weapon sitting at or near the top. Will it convince you to give up your Android or Windows Phone ways and join the iOS side? Maybe, maybe not. Will it wow you? Hold it in your hand — you might be surprised. For the iOS faithful this is a no-brainer upgrade. This is without a doubt the best iPhone yet. This is a hallmark of design. This is the one you’ve been waiting for.
So, what to make of this latest upgrade. There’s no denying that the iPhone 5 is a lovely thing, and the best iPhone to date. It could well be Apple’s best-selling unit ever.
But a lot has changed in a year, and the current crop of Android superphones – and the incoming Windows Phone 8 handsets – have closed the gap. For nearly every “new” feature announced at the Keynote, there was a Samsung, Android, Windows, Nokia, Sony or HTC fan saying “my phone already does that.”
Apple’s competitors never been closer in terms of quality, function and aesthetics and from your feedback on our social networks we know how many of you are jumping ship to phones with a bigger screen and more features.
Given that iPhone 4S users can upgrade to iOS 6 and do just about everything the iPhone 5 can do, and that Android users can get similarly impressive handsets for less dosh, we reckon the smart money won’t all be going on a new iPhone this year, even if the mass market can’t get enough of it. It’s good, very good. But it’s no longer the best around.
What Apple has created with the iPhone 5 is an extremely polished smartphone that oozes appeal. It’s incredibly well built, easy to use, features a beautiful screen, and comes packed with enough speed and power to service all your requirements. The hardware is just stunning. It really is impressive how much is crammed into such a tiny box.
On the software front the story isn’t as cut and dry. Apple’s iOS operating system is clean and easy to use, but iOS 6 adds little to the story over iOS 5. It doesn’t feel like it has taken the same leap forward as the hardware, and that this version of the OS has been more about filling gaps or replacing services rather than re-writing what’s available from the ground up. There are some nice touches, but they are just that.
Change isn’t always necessary, nor needed, but if there were things you didn’t like in iOS 5, chances are they will still be here in iOS 6. Microsoft’s Windows phone trounces iOS 6 on the social connected stakes even though Apple has added Facebook this time around. BlackBerry’s BB10 OS, due out in February 2013, beats it on the email and messaging integration (we’ve played with the OS already), and Android is perfect for those that want customisation and control beyond choosing wallpapers.
That’s not to say it is a poor experience, far from it. The chances are you will be more than happy with the performance of the phone and what it offers on the software stakes. The iPhone is still the smartphone we would recommend when it comes to apps. Whilst Android is getting closer to enjoying a parallel launch schedule for apps, Windows Phone and BlackBerry are light years behind the ingenuity shown on a daily basis either from Apple or third-party developers.
While the hardware and design here is cutting edge, the software plays it safer than we would like. For those of you that have already left the Apple eco-system for Samsung or HTC, for example, the iPhone 5 isn’t likely to draw you back. You might marvel at the build and design, but Apple with the iPhone 5 has created a smartphone that is too safe for you: you’ll feel too mollycoddled.
Instead Apple has created a phone that the millions of current iPhone users will want to upgrade to. iPhone owners will love it, enjoy all those new features, and appreciate all the hard work, design, and engineering that has gone into it.
The iPhone 5 is a phone that makes you feel safe. A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect for a huge number of people.
It’s a phone that, until you start craving the iPhone 6, will serve you very well indeed.
If you’ve been debating getting the iPhone 5 — and it seems like many of you haven’t debated it too much, with 2 million pre-orders — I suggest you make the jump. Even from the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 is a big, noticeable improvement. (Though of course I understand that carrier contract commitments may come into play there as well.) If you have an iPhone 4 or, heaven forbid, an iPhone 3GS, get the iPhone 5 as soon as you can.
If you have an Android phone and have been waiting for a big iPhone update to explore or re-explore the device, now is the time. And you Windows Phone 7 users who are getting screwed in the move to Windows Phone 8, you may want to look as well. And if you’re still a Blackberry user, well, good luck with that. I think you’re beyond my help.
Those worried about the talk of “disappointment” surrounding the iPhone 5, I suggest you simply go to an Apple Store starting on Friday and try it for yourself. My guess is you’ll immediately recognize just how ridiculous all that bluster actually is. The iPhone 5 is the culmination of Apple doing what Apple does best. This is the smartphone nearly perfected.
Given the iPhone 5’s sales expectations, it’s clear that many consumers just don’t care about the pricing. It’s simply a must-have gadget.
Other manufacturers’ phones have newer, more innovative technologies in them – wireless charging or near-field communications that allow for data sharing by tapping phones together – but few if any inspire the obsessive devotion that Apple does.
Few have also been able to bundle everything together – music and video content, hardware, software and apps – into a simple and elegant total package. The iPhone 5 may not be terribly innovative, but it does deliver that package better than any previous Apple product, and better than just about any other smartphone.
People have always had lofty expectations for the iPhone 5, especially as the competition stiffens. In delivering a fast, attractive, LTE-capable and larger-screen handset, Apple has met those expectations with a gem.
The question everyone who hasn’t yet pre-ordered wants answered: Should you upgrade? My answer is simple. If you can afford it, yes.
There’s a reason why, just as with all five of its predecessors, it just says “iPhone” on the back. The iPhone 5 is all new technically, but it’s the exact same thing as an idea. Apple is simply improving upon that idea year after year in infinitely finer detail, like a fractal. It’s nice.