The iPhone 5 will probably be my first iPhone. Up until now, I have gotten by with a combination of dumb phones (and recently something even worse), an iPod Touch and an iPad. I have also tossed a camera into my bag more often than not upon leaving the house. Why? Because I almost never never make phone calls. Because I don’t want to sign a cellphone contract. And because my other gadgets do the job just fine. So why am I buying an iPhone now, after five years of holding out?
The iPhone 5 isn’t really that different from the 4S. It’s thinner, the camera is a little better, the battery lasts a little longer, and it adds LTE (useless in much of the world). So why buy this when the iPhone 4/S has been around for a couple years>
First, I got sick of the alternatives. I carry my iPad everywhere, and I have a contract-free monthly data plan which gives me 2GB of data. I no longer carry my camera, as the iPad lets me do so much more with my pictures, and I almost never carry my iPod Touch, as the iPad is always in a bag so I can use it as an iPod if I need to. But all this gear is starting to feel a little heavy.
Android Is Truly, Truly Terrible
In fact, the only thing I carry now, along with the iPad and my wallet, is an Android phone. Yes, Android. Let me tell you a little bit about that.
I needed a new handset after the others all stopped working in one way or another. The Samsung Galaxy Y (Y is for “young”) cost me about €100, contrat-free, and I figured that I could use it as a phone and as a lightweight computer. Boy was I wrong.
This phone is a piece of shit.
The hardware is laggy, the thing sometimes doesn’t even work as a phone, and the Samsung interface is confusing. There’s nothing to like about this phone apart from the sound it makes when it bounces off a tiled floor. But what it gave me was a glimpse at how handy a smartphone could be. I know I’m late to the party, but shrinking down a 3G tablet to pocket-size makes it way more convenient to use.
So I started to think about the iPhone. I could take photos much more discreetly. I could use accessories like the Olloclip. I could clip it to the handlebars of my bike, or be connected to the internet at the rare times I’m without my iPad (at the beach, usually).
But still I held off. There was no way I was going to buy an iPhone 4S outright, for $600-$800, a few months before the new iPhone was announced.
The iPhone 5: The Last iPhone Design?
So why am I suddenly in the market for an iPhone 5, when 4/S was almost the same? Because the design has now matured. Essentially, Apple is done with it. The iPhone will continue to get better year after year, but it’ll improve like the Mac Pro, whose case design hasn’t really changed in years. The iPhone went through its Nano years (the Nano is still Apple’s design playground), and has matured.
Now, and iPhone consists of the following, filtered through the eyes of a shutterbug:
- A camera better than almost any compact camera, and with a computer better than the iPad 3 to process those pictures.
- A phone, for when I really, really have to make a call, and a better front camera for Skyping my family back in England. A better camera than in both my Macs.
- An-always connected computer, only in my pocket and not in my bag.
- A great design with all the rough edges knocked off, and capable of using everything in iOS 6.
Why Not An iPod Touch?
The new iPod Touch is amazing, with its faster processor, 5MP camera, handy-dandy dangle-strap and almost impossibly slim and light body. But if I bought yet another Touch (I’m on my fourth or fifth right now) I’d still have to carry my crappy Android phone, and my iPad for connecting to the internet. The Touch, great though it may be, would become little more than a neat camera when out of the house.
Plus, it starts at €320 here in Spain, which is over $400. Sure, an off-contract iPhone 5 surely won’t be cheap, either, but it’ll replace everything else in my bag.
There is one tiny thing left that might make me change my mind. My friend Pedro — who buys every new iPhone the same way I upgrade my iPad every year — has finally run out of family members to give his old handsets to. Which means I’m probably going to be the receiver of a free iPhone 4S next month. Maybe I’ll stick with that for now. Baby steps…