On September 14, I did what I haven't done before. I went to the computer bright and early to pre-order my iPhone 5. Unbeknownst to me (and many other disappointed customers), even the pre-orders would sell out in just a few, short hours. My order made it under the deadline by a whopping 12 minutes in order for it to be delivered on September 21. Low and behold, about 1 p.m., the FedEx truck showed up, rang the bell, and there it was. I even got an email with the tracking information so I could see where it was from the time it was on its way. I didn't wait in line, and I didn't camp out at any store. This isn't something I would normally do, but my current phone, the iPhone 3GS, was on its last leg and I had been really testing my patience by waiting as long as I did for the new iPhone 5. In April, I heard a rumor that the new phone may be coming in early fall. As time went on, the rumor was coming from more places and more often, so I decided to tough it out and wait.
Enough about that...
Here's what I like about the iPhone 5 -
It is VERY fast. I read the previews that the new processor and iOS would be much faster and was hoping it would be the case. One of the first things I did was held both phones and launched the same applications at the same time. Hands down, the iPhone 5 was faster. I was in the applications and looking around before it had even launched on my 3GS. This made me really happy. Among other very important things, I can now play Scramble with Friends without my phone being incredibly sluggish and stuttering to the point of stalling.
The battery life is much better. My 3GS was dying so quickly, that I was beginning to carry some kind of charger with me all of the time. Even with regularly closing all open applications and restarting the phone, it had become incredibly slow and was eating through the battery. With the 5, I can plug it into the radio in the car and listen to music all of the way to school and the battery isn't below 98%. The 3GS would have been lucky to still be at 75% once I arrived.
Call quality is improved. Interestingly enough, one of the things I try to avoid most on my phone is talking on it. Part of that is me, but a large part is that the quality of the connection was always poor before and calls were dropped too often. I remember hearing, when I bought my 3GS, that the iPhone was great for everything but making calls...didn't make much sense. I don't think that is the case any longer. The quality on the 5 is as clear as my landline and I've only had one dropped call so far. Frankly, I'm not sure if that was AT&T or me, so I'm not worried about it. The 5 seems to be a phone you can also use as a phone.
The camera and options are much better. I always hated using my 3GS for photos because they were always grainy. And if I tried to use the zoom feature, they were pitiful. The 5 has a much better camera with an added panoramic option. I've been playing with it a lot lately.
Earbuds and headphone jack. A friend reminded me about this one. It is really nice that the headphone jack is now on the bottom of the phone. It may sound silly, but I always carry my phone upside down in my pocket because the speaker is on the bottom and easier to hear alerts/rings. Now that the jack is on the bottom, it is even better. The new shape of the earbuds is also really nice. I would still like to see a softer end, like other earbuds, but the new shape is really great and fits the ear much better.
Here are some samples where I've been playing around with photos and video -
|Walk to End Alzheimer's at SCC on September 29|
|Walk to End Alzheimer's at SCC on September 29|
|Thunderstorm rolling in at SCC on September 25|
Taller, Thinner, Lighter. I like the size of the new phone. It is taller to accommodate the larger screen. It is thinner and lighter, so even in a case, it isn't as heavy and bulky as the previous versions. The first few days I used the 5, it felt like I might snap it in two while typing because it was so much thinner and lighter. I'm adjusting and it is definitely a nice improvement.
Do Not Disturb. This may be more the new iOS than the 5, but it is a nice feature. I use an alarm clock app instead of a traditional alarm clock. Notifications going off in the middle of the night or early morning were a drawback to using the app, but I was hooked and put up with those. Now, you can set the Do Not Disturb option to mute all notifications, calls, and texts between the hours you choose. You can designate numbers as "Favorites," and those will be able to get through DND if they call during those hours, but others will just be there when you wake up (or get out of your meeting or whatever the case may be). If you are a light sleeper and use your phone like I do, or just keep it on and near you at night, this is a nice addition.
There are a few other perks that I've found I like. If you organize your apps in groups, you can add more apps to the groups. There is a new privacy setting in the Settings area. Sharing or sending photos from the camera roll is much easier with added options to print to an eprinter, copy, assign to a contact, or set as wallpaper.
Here's what isn't as great -
The power cord. I don't have a problem with the change in the power cord, just the issue of availability. Instead of having to carry around one power cord/charger everywhere I go, I like to have one at home and one I carry in my bag to and from school. I can use the USB to charge in my car, so the car charger isn't even a big deal. I would just like to be able to buy that extra cord, and they are no where to be found.
The maps? Apparently the first big hit to the iPhone 5 had to do with the change in maps. I use the MapQuest app, so I haven't had any problems. I've always found MapQuest to be better than Google Maps and never wanted to pay the extra for AT&T's Navigator option. This isn't a drawback for me.
The apps haven't caught up with new screen size. Yes, the new, larger screen is nice and can be used right away for video, photos, and streaming. The problem I have found so far is that the app developers haven't had time to update apps to accommodate the larger screen yet. I read one review that said Apple kept the new release so tightly under wraps, that developers weren't given a chance to have apps ready to go with the roll out.
Text options for Do No Disturb. It would be nice to be able to set a "Favorites" list for texts in addition to phone calls in the new Do Not Disturb feature. If someone on my list tends to text as opposed to call, I still want those to come through during those hours that DND is enabled.
In the end, I love the iPhone 5! The speed and battery life alone are worth upgrading, but the other perks are great as well. The list of "cons" are really minor with the exception of not being able to buy an additional power cord. If you have already taken the plunge and have received your phone, let me know what you like and don't like. I'm curious to know what others think.