Why I'm Buying The iPhone 5, And Why You'd Be Wise To Do So Too
The iPhone 5 wasn't the revolutionary device people anticipated. I get that. The feeling of solidarity through disappointment about the sizeable lack of innovation from the last generation (which had already stung many before with a near identical device compared to the year before that) has been felt by even those faithful solely to Apple. This should have been the phone they announced in 2011.
So why do I find myself as one of the two million who ordered the phone within the opening 24 hours on sale? After so many blog posts rallying against the purchase of the iPhone 5, recommending such a device is going to be an impossible task.
I must start my retort to Richard's original post - Why I'm Not Buying The iPhone 5, And Why You'd Be Wise Not To Too - with a preface: Apple have never been the company to 'revolutionise' or 'innovate' within their respective industry and, if we're throwing it out there, neither is anyone else. Consumer demand has bred a very particular user experience, a specific look and feel amongst the mainstream of smartphone design. Even though the software differs between ecosystems, the general ideologies of control are there. And while some companies make their devices smaller and others introduce premium materials, regardless of all this there's no real separation in the market.
Throwing market share statistics and the reality distortion field out of the window, Apple is no different to the likes of Nokia or Samsung. Ignoring all the fanboyist nature of many in this discussion, and the quite frankly desperate Samsung advertising campaign (tip for the future: when promoting yourself as better, slam the product and not the audience), everyone is on a level playing field. You see, in that case, there's only going to be one winner out of this: you. The consumer who will see innovation not just for the sake of innovation (anyone who's played with the Samsung Galaxy S3, fallen victim to the 'Direct Call' feature, or tried to get 'Smart Stay' to work will know what I mean by this). Such moments as this will mean companies will not be able to play it safe, like many feel Apple may have done with iPhone 5. Exciting times are ahead.
So why, after this mounting evidence of Cupertino resting on a tried and tested formula instead of innovating, would I choose the iPhone 5? Simple, and I hate to introduce an element of simple common sense here in the face of my colleague's hard-hitting editorial stance: because it's the right phone for me.
Let's be honest, beneath all the mediocre coverage around said device, there's very little not to like. In some situations, I've understood the hatred that has befallen Apple around certain products (hello Mobile Me); but in others such as this, I've found it hard to grasp. Where you have some smartphones in the market that focus on very specific features such as camera or display, at the sacrifice of others, there's nothing wrong with going with the good all-rounder; especially if it has one of the best designs I have seen. Nokia has a nice playful touch to their product design (which I rather like); but the iPhone 5 just feels subtle with an insane amount of attention to detail in every facet of the hardware. This inescapable feeling of quality on a level above you expect from a smartphone is something I'll no doubt tackle in my review. You may have seen this to be near identical to iPhone 4/4S, but you have to feel it to believe it.
Yes, they've introduced a 4-inch screen and have begun catching up with what else is on offer in the market, a long overdue addition. However, in the age where smartphones are getting bigger, I feel an element of restraint should be taken into account in the face of ergonomics. This size is still rather behind what's on offer, but one-handed use is often times uncomfortable on these larger devices. After all, I've never quite agreed with Steve Jobs' statement that he believed 3.5" was the perfect size, and this is a positive step for the device without going overkill.
The A6 processor, 1GB ram and extended battery life also help in this area; but as many companies are already producing quad-core architectures and (statistically) faster devices, it's in the finer details where I feel this is better. And by God, I do not mean the integral features of iOS6 (Maps doesn't know where I live), I mean the key functionality of the software. The user habits generated make for an ultimately unintrusive experience, the fluency. Compared to the chore-esque practice on my previous Galaxy S2 (and many more recent Android devices) of waking up the device, turning on 3G (something I feel you shouldn't have to worry about when using a phone), checking my email and Facebook, quitting the apps, closing the apps, and finally turning off 3G before putting the phone to sleep, this just seems better.
The hardware itself is a small progression to not make the phone wildly different to what consumers had previously. I can both understand this design choice, and also get rather perturbed about the sheer lack of creative thinking. The one choice that will annoy me is the migration from 30-pin dock to Lightning. It was going to happen as the devices got smaller; but the huge price tag on adapters is just bad practice. So why did I get it? Because it is the right phone for me.
It's an unnecessary purchase, the same as many phones competing for your attention are. But 'me' is someone who doesn't want to invest in the upcoming Android screen-enlarging party. 'Me' is someone who doesn't want to waste the ecosystem invested into. 'Me' is someone who is aware of the company's fall from grace to introduce something more underwhelming; but is interested in exactly what Apple has introduced every year: the best smartphone for the mass market.
However, this is the first time many consumers have truly opened their eyes beyond the walled garden, seeing the other possibilities. Most importantly of all, this can't be anything other than excellent for the future of smartphone innovation.