The lines were long, the price is still high, the reviews numerous, but there’s at least one consensus among the tech media pundit folk. Apple will sell a gazillion iPhone 5s.
A chunk of my Friday was devoted to standing in line to get Apple’s latest iPhone (I like to buy on the spot vs. worrying whether or not the box from my FedEx delivery person contains a brick), chatting with friends and other early adopters, laughing at Samsung’s very lame television commercials, and reading the early reviews.
Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Kate style.
The very first thing you’ll notice about iPhone 5 is not the extra length. It’s the weight. I wonder if Apple made it too thin. It’s light, feels sturdy, but not anywhere near as hefty or solid in feel as iPhone 4S.
The second thing you’ll notice about iPhone 5 is the screen. Icons and images are closer to the top of the glass in previous models. I didn’t think the iPhone’s screen could be improved much, but iPhone 5 is notably better.
The third thing you’ll notice is the extra length. It’s a 4-inch display, vs. the 3.5-inch display of all previous models. Because iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter the extra length doesn’t seem to pose a problem, but I had to adjust my grip to be able to reach the top left app icons with my right hand thumb.
The fourth thing you’ll notice about the iPhone 5 is the speed. It screams in oh so many ways. Apps launch instantly. Webpage rendering on Safari is faster than ever. And, Verizon’s 4G LTE network puts AT&T to shame. My iPhone is faster than my internet connection at home or office.
Other than the length, the weight, the screen, and the speed, everything else about the iPhone is a long list of incremental improvements over the 4S. iOS 6 has more integration with Twitter and Facebook. iMessages can be synchronized so your text messages appear on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Apple doesn’t make the setup a simple process, but it works very well (other than alarms going off on all devices at the same time).
A few other items fall into the Good category. The camera is to die for. Panorama shots are wonderful and amazingly easy to take. Siri not only works better than in the iPhone 4S or iPad 3, but has more chores to complete. The new re-charging and sync adapter, called Lightning, is really quite nice and doesn’t care which way you plug it in. It’s slim, thin, and has a typical elegant Apple look.
That brings me to the Bad section. The Lightning-to-30-pin-Adapter cable is $29. That will connect your new iPhone 5 to older iPhone cables. A new Lightning to USB cable is $19. Both are outrageously expensive, especially the adapter cable. It is disconcerting to know that all those cables, and clocks, and music systems, and charging docks we’ve used for years will not work with the iPhone 5.
Now, let’s get Ugly. Apple Maps replaced Google Maps with iOS 6, and it hasn’t been pretty so far. Maps is hard work. It’s never ending and tedious to create and update maps on a worldwide basis. Google has been doing it for years and still has many problems. Nokia has been doing it for years and still has problems.
The conclusion I reach here is that doing detailed maps of the world is difficult, and a long-term, never-ending project. Apple Maps will improve but this is a black eye for CEO Tim Cook. It’s possible that Apple Maps doesn’t have many more errors than Google Maps, but Apple sits on a pedestal and any negative issue is magnified.