Brief Thoughts on the iPhone 5

I didn’t get a chance to spend much time on Twitter until after work today, so I’m still digesting all the iPhone 5 news. (I haven’t even watched the keynote yet.) Despite this, however, I wanted to share some brief thoughts regarding the new device, and revisit my stance against upgrading this year.

HARDWARE


As the old adage goes, the pictures aren’t justice for the real thing. That said, judging by the pictures I’ve seen on Apple’s website, the new iPhone is beautiful. I really like the two-tone design, especially the “black and slate” model. In addition, I’m glad Apple went back to aluminum this year, as the glass on my 4/4S has always made me nervous. Of course, I’m looking forward to checking out the 4-inch display, but even more than that I’m excited to see how the new design feels in a tactile sense. Meaning, I’m very interested in gauging the thinness and weight of the device, as well as its one-handed usability.

SOFTWARE


More than anything, I’m excited to see how iOS 6 looks on the 4-inch display. Having an extra row of apps on the Home screen is nice, and I can obviously see where the larger screen would benefit watching video and using Apple’s new, homegrown Maps app. Also, the Panorama feature in the Camera app is cool as well, though the 4S gains that functionality too. One other cool thing related to the camera is the ability to take still photos while shooting video1, which I can see coming in handy fairly often.

MISCELLANY


Some other, assorted bits and pieces kicking around in my brain:

  • The A6 chip will assuredly help make for a better experience, both in general use and in terms of graphics for games.
  • The addition of LTE is awesome. I finally used my iPad on LTE, and I can say without hesitation that it’s even faster than my Wi-Fi network.
  • Jony Ive and his team are industrial design geniuses. Every time.

THE UPGRADE QUESTION


Recently, I wrote that I wasn’t planning on upgrading, for three reasons:

  1. AT&T’s told me I’d have to pay an extra $250 on top of the price of the phone to upgrade.
  2. My 4S works well, and gets all the features of iOS 6.
  3. My Apple nerd fandom status notwithstanding, I think it’s kinda weird (and unnecessary) to upgrade one’s cell phone every single year. See #2.

That logic is still perfectly valid and I stand by it, but I can’t deny the allure of the new iPhone. As much as I think I’m not going to upgrade this time, the fact of the matter is that size matters. For a visually impaired person like myself, the 4-inch display lends itself to an even better, easier user experience for me. Less squinting means less strain on my eyes; I may even get away with having the brightness set at a level significantly lower than the max.2 The practicality of the new iPhone’s bigger screen is a perfect match for my needs. I know my vision and I know how much I use my phone every day, and I don’t think these factors can be completely obviated by principles. Even so, whether or not the display alone is worth the extra cost is still a tough call to make. I won’t ultimately know until I actually have the phone in my hands. What I do know, though, is that if I upgrade it’ll be a black 32GB model on AT&T.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch the keynote now.


  1. Yes, I realize the Galaxy S3 had this feature first.  ↩

  2. Probably not.  ↩