My First Weekend With The IPhone 5
First, let me say that I’ve been putting up with the iPhone 3GS for way too many years. The updates to the IOS’s have long left my mobile device sluggish and screaming for a better body. I mention this because I would have been impressed with any update. If you already have a iPhone 4s, you may not be as impressed, especially if you’ve also updated to IOS6.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive review that goes into every aspect of the phone. Just a few quick thoughts about the things that stick out most to me. As time passes, I will probably do additional posts that go into more detail about certain aspects of the device.
But It’s Back-ordered 🙁
I hate crowds, and I hate waiting in lines. This makes me genetically opposed to attending movie premiers, anything associate with a Disney theme park, and buying iPhones on the day of release. I preordered my Iphone 5 from AT&T and was told that they were back ordered 14-21 days. Arrrg. I just said that I hate waiting. What should I do?
Despite widespread reports of long lines and sold-out iPhones, a colleague casually told me that on Friday morning, he passed by a mobile provider with 8 people in line. On Friday evening, I noticed a similar phenomena. On Saturday morning, I boldly ventured into 4 AT&T stores, violently pushed my way to the front counter (actually there were no lines), and sheepishly asked for a 32Gb Black Iphone5. I hit gold on the forth try. It seems that this particular store (Westminster) received an unexpected Saturday shipment. My point: Despite the negative press, don’t be shy about walking into a phone store with the expectation of leaving with an Iphone 5.
Very thin. Very light. Slightly taller than before. Same width. Still fits nicely in your hand. Ergonomically, you will quickly get used to the new size. Even with my Speck candy shell case, the Iphone 5 is still remarkably svelte. Actually, my typing accuracy has increased dramatically with the newer size, even in the portrait orientation.
A colleague sent me an image for my critique. I received it, saved it, cropped, and resent it back with one hand (just like the commercial). Unlike the Samsung Galaxy, no one will mistake your iPhone screen for the window of a toaster oven.
Just kidding (not really).
Images look stunning. Big, bright, sharp, and colorful. Because of the taller screen, portrait oriented images look even more majestic. Landscape mode is equally stunning. I did notice that the Iphone 5 has a tendency to want to fill the screen . If you don’t leave breathing room around your images (which I don’t), your edges will be slightly cutoff.
The 3GS camera was horrible. Because I pose as a professional photographer, I never feverishly voiced my opinion about the poor quality of my camera phone, because it’s a ummm, ummm…a camera phone. I’m trying to maintain good standing with ASMP (American Society of Media Professionals). The Iphone 5 camera is a vast improvement over the 3Gs. It teeters on being very impressive. Alas I can only swoon but so much, because I’m posing as a professional photographer and this is only a ummm, ummmm…a camera phone.
The Apple EarPods are more than just marketing hype. In my opinion, Apple put in the work and created a really nice, in your ear, open air earphone. To make sure we’re on the same page, I judge earphone quality on clarity, depth, stereo imaging, tonal quality across the audio frequency spectrum, and lastly the amount of bass. I like hearing reverb trails on a female voice, the breathing patterns of a flautist , and other acoustic goodies that are being lost in this world of highly compressed MP3 files. No offense to Dr. Dre, but Beats headphones are just too bass heavy. Even hardcore hip-hop has frequencies above 250Hz, even if those sounds are sampled from other recording artists.
Previously, my favorite earphone was the Sennheiseer PX100 (with the Iphone “treble booster” EQ setting engaged). The Apple EarPods are now my favorite headphones for a portable device. While I’m sure there are better headphones, at their price point and considering the dual purpose of also facilitating conversation, these can’t be beat. Even if you don’t own an Iphone, buy the EarPods.
Several speed improvements are at play here, and the differences are far from subtle. 4G is blazing. 802 11n in the 5Ghz space is blazing. IOS 6 is faster than IOS 5. My applications load twice as fast as before. Note for the techies: The Iphone 4S also supported WiFi using 802.11n but in the more congested 2.4GHz space. Much like a highway, the more congestion, the slower you can move. If your router doesn’t support the 5Ghz mode, it may be time for an update.
SIRI is not a gimmick. I have used it to send text messages while driving, take notes, add appointments, and to find the three (3) Ms. Shirley restaurants in Baltimore (and subsequent directions to one of the locations). Again, not perfect, but as long as you accept the fact that you may not be the best of communicators, you and Siri should get along just fine. Note: I do think Siri acts a little funky while communicating through a bluetooth hands free device. You’ve been warned.
Update 9-27-2012: I find SIRI incredibly useful, and I don’t think the Apple commercials portray the true practicality of the application. Here are examples of requests that SIRI has handled wonderfully for me?
- Wake me up in 30 minutes.
- Remind me to call John Doe tomorrow at 10:00
- When do the Ravens play again?
- What’s the definition of “congruent”?
- Give me directions to Jane Doe’s home.
- What’s playing at the movies?
- I need milk.
- Schedule an appointment with Jane Doe today at 9:00 pm.
- Play The Beatles.
- Launch “maps”
- Convert $20 into euros.
- What’s will the weather be in Orlando, Florida next week?
- Siri, I prefer you call me “Your Excellence”!
The New Maps
So far, I have limited use of the new maps but have found it more useful than any of the dedicated GPS applications I’ve purchase for the Iphone over the years. The app now gives turn by turn directions which is a feature long overdue. I have heard that some cities are under water, but Baltimore (Go Ravens!) isn’t one of them. The Google Map app may have been more accurate, but it frequently became unusable while trying to drive and use it to navigate. I’m sure there are problems I haven’t run into yet, but I believe it’s a step in the right direction. Note: I turned on location services and was able to see a dot showing me in my home. Not just anywhere in my home, but actually sitting towards the back left side of my house. Too accurate! Be careful in what applications you allow to use the location services.
09-27-2012 Update: I love the new Maps application. The ability to use SIRI to say “Give me directions to John Doe’s home” or “Give me directions to 1731 East Chase Street, Baltimore” is an incredible time saver. The turn by turn directions keeps me current on what’s ahead of me without shouting turn commands at the last minute. Neither does it bombard me every 10 seconds with “keep straight on highway blankety blank…”
10-10-2012 Update: Traveled to Orlanda, Tampla, and St. Petersburg Florida, and used the mapping application to get around. Worked flawlessly. Actually, performed better than the in-dash GPS system of the automobile be driven.
Hopefully, this will get you started. I will post more thoughts as I gain more experience. So far, I’m a very happy camper.