Friday, September 14, 2012

Underwhelmed by the Apple iPhone 5 - Why?

Looking at the local forums and around the web, some sectors are underwhelmed by the Apple iPhone 5, including owners of the iPhone 4S, and I really cannot fathom why. The Apple iPhone 4S was disappointing, but exactly what it wrong with the iPhone 5. Lets gets two things out of the way:

I am not likely to buy an iPhone, but it is more of a personal preference. I got used to Windows Mobile and Nokia's Symbian OS which allowed me to display my next appointment on my home screen, and the calendar and tasks is one of the key uses for me of a smartphone. I have five home screens on my Android phone, four of which are devoted to calendars (next appointment/agenda/calendar/tasks). Windows Phone 8 would be a viable alternative to me. But these are subjective preferences, so lets get that out of the way, I want to find out what current Apple iPhone owners think,

  • NFC.  we don't have any kind of significant NFC implementation in the Philippines, so this is a non-issue.
  • LTE. It is not certain whether the Apple iPhone 5 will support out local LTE networks (but it looks to be compatible), but at present LTE is not being offered as a package for mobile phones, so it is too early to comment on this issue.  
  • Battery life. I will wait for GSMArena's battery life tests before commenting on this.
  • Stock Apple features. Lets not talk about stock Apple features like non-user replaceable batteries, absence of a MicoSD slot or Bluetooth file transfer. I am writing this more for iPhone users, how long ago decided these were unnecessary.

The new 4-inch display?  I think Apple's new 4-inch display with is a big move in the right direction. The move to 16:9 aspect ratio, from a 3:2 aspect ratio makes the iPhone 5 more industry standard compliant. 

While I personally find the 4-inch display smaller than I would like, having considered the 4.3-inch display the "correct" size since HTC's HD2, the longer 4-inch display was a great choice for Apple. Over 200 million iPhones have been sold, so many owners like the current size. The iPhone 5 has a larger screen while maintaining the width of the current iPhone. It is also much lighter. 

The millions of iPhone users will not find the iPhone 5 uncomfortably large. It may not impress the Android crowd. but I do not think Apple should make monster sized phones unless they make it in more than one size. Not everyone wants a larger device.

The unknown processor? No is sure what processor and graphics processing unit combo is in the iPhone 5, but we are told it is twice as fast as the previous iPhone. How it stacks up to the rest of the world is irrelevant. Apple and its developers will be building around the Apple iPad 3, which really is not faster than the Apple iPad 2 (all the iPad 3 additional graphics power and RAM is needed to keep its higher resolution display of the iPad 3 running at the same speed as the iPad 2). 

Basically, for the next two years all iOS apps will run with a dual core A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 and 512 MB of RAM will be all that is needed for iOS apps to run well. The additional power provided by the iPhone 5 is more for future proofing in its third year of use.

The 8MP camera? The only worthwhile feature, in my opinion of the iPhone 4S was the camera. I really see little room for improvement, and the iPhone 5 brings incremental improvements in this regard. Many are pointing to Nokia Lumia 920 as the standard setter in this regard. For me, improvement in camera performance is not worth it if it means having to create a 185 gram brick. It is still a smarphone first. To put the Nokia Lumia 920's weight in perspective, the Samsung Galaxy S III weighs in at  133 grams and Apple iPhone 5 weighs in at 112 grams.

My only gripes. My only gripe would be ergonomics and the physical home button. Something with the curved back of the older iPhone 3GS would be much more comfortable in hand.  But in fairness the iPhone 4/4S/5 is more pleasing to the eye than the 3GS.

As for the physical home button, they break, They break on the iPhone and on all other phones (I am looking at you Samsung). So why not just go with a capacitative one or on screen buttons?

That is it for me. And both my gripes are rather subjective. I like this phone more than any previous iPhone, I am just like to tinker too much and Android @root is impossible to beat in that respect, its open source.

So you tell me. What is not to like in the new iPhone 5?


  1. There's definitely nothing to not like about the new iPhone, it's just that it's difficult that every year a version of smartphone gets outdated.

  2. Actually iPhones still not perfect they have still disappointing but when you realize to purchase one of an iPhone especially iPhone 5 it worth it.

  3. I am not a current user of iPhone but after reading many reviews on the internet I don’t find iPhone 5 any better than the previous version .Just a few updates, so I won’t recommend iPhone4 users to switch to iPhone5. The design also remains the same.

    1. I don't know. Twice as fast, double the RAM, HSDPA 21.1 + LTE versus HSDPA 14.4. Seems like a lot better to me?


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