Apple iPhone 5 : A few steps forward and a lot more backward

Apple is great at advertising and there is plenty of information on how good the iPhone 5 is. You might not find so many articles outlining the drawbacks of the latest iPhone. This information may be vital for the informed consumer. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the iPhone and Androids are simply not upto mark – build quality, battery, execution – lacking in most respects when compared to the iPhone. I will still get the iPhone 5. I bought every incarnation of the iPhone till date and this blog covered the iPhone starting 2007 and we have come a long way – 5 years and counting!

 

Here is a list from Apple comparing iPhone 5, 4S and 4.

 

 

Marginal improvements :

  • Display changes (no separate layer for touch)
  • More pixels on the screen and the same retina display. 176 more pixels.
  • No more glass on the backside of the iPhone. Shatterproof, a welcome change for those who like to drop their phones!
  • LTE speeds with little to no LTE coverage for a start (AT&T) and big metros with LTE stutter when you fling your iPhone to go online
  • Faster and better WiFi but you need a faster router
  • Camera optics improvement (FaceTime camera upgrade HD video)
  • Faster A6 chip compared to the A5 in iPhone 4S
  • Slightly better battery life
  • Enhanced earbuds (EarPods)
  • More microphones (3) and better audio
  • Weighs less and is thinner compared to the iPhone 4S

iPhone 5 drawbacks :

  • More pixels on the screen and the same retina display. 176 more pixels (nightmare for developers to adapt code for different screen sizes – iPad, iPhone, taller iPhone!). I seriously think Apple should let the user decide what goes on in that added screen space – Network/Wireless settings, Weather, Text/Email excerpts,… Apple hates widgets because Androids exploit widgets and Apple doesn’t like following the herd! But for once, Apple should do something with the UI, folders & icons aren’t pleasing and one gets bored quickly.
  • FaceTime will require costlier data plan or so thinks AT&T. Steve Jobs would have shot down the carriers for that request. Yes, Apple has the say to code such a change for FaceTime. Carriers and Apple win while the user loses. 4GB is 4GB of data and I should be able to use it for whatever I feel like – mobile, tether and FaceTime! AT&T should not and cannot dictate terms on the data usage.
  • More screen space but for more icons and nothing productive or out of the ordinary!
  • Nano-SIM. Calls for more adapters if you are like me and you swap phones (Androids and iPhones). We now have Nano, Micro and Full size SIM cards.
  • Lightning 9-pin connector in lieu of the standard 30-pin connector. More adapters everywhere ($29.99), car, work, home,.. Apple did not emphasize on other benefits of Lightning connector apart from the size and knowing Apple, they capitalize on every piece of important breakthrough. Faster data transfers, you might say but since we are moving to the iCloud and wireless syncing, all we use the connector is for charging the device and nothing more! I never used the 30-pin cable with my iPhone 4S except for the initial setup and the developer builds of iOS 6.
  • Apple Maps are an iOS 6 feature and iPhone 5 will not have Google Maps. Unfortunately though, I find the Maps though shiny but really limiting with subpar driving directions (erroneous routing). Absence of transit directions is a big blow to anyone who relied on Google Maps’ Subway, NJTransit (NJ, NYC) and others. You have to hunt down other apps that do it and the experience won’t be seamless at all.

p.s : I am biased towards GSM standard and will never use CDMA (if you travel overseas often, you will understand what I am talking about). That forces me to stick with AT&T while in the US (though I stopped signing contracts 2 years ago. Waiting for a switch when the time comes). Any data related opinions in this article are based on AT&T’s network. I don’t like how Verizon forces you to switch data plans.

image source : apple.com/iphone

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