The iPhone 5 – Some Initial Thoughts

On September 24, 2012

iPhone 5Like millions of you, I picked myself up an iPhone 5 on launch day (which was pre-ordered the week before at 3:30 AM EST). I finally got it on Friday and have been setting it up and playing around with it since I opened the box. I was skeptical of this iteration of the iPhone for several reasons but at this stage I’m quite satisfied.

The first thing that bothered me was the new shape. Making the device taller without making it wider seemed to muck around with the familiar dimensions of the on-screen apps. However, many of app developers have already compensated for this (leading to a ton of update downloads) and upon watching a movie video on the screen, I can see where the logic came from. Honestly, I haven’t even noticed the difference in terms of app quality (perhaps getting the black version hid any possible black bars from the sides of the screen).

As advertised, the phone is also noticably lighter. Personally, I liked the heft of the iPhone 4 in my pocket. However, it’s not such a big difference that I would find the new phone problematic in this regard.

The production cycle of iPhones tend to be evolution followed by revolution. The iPhone 5 was a revolution cycle so something had to change. In this case, it was the screen and upon using it I realized why. Apple changed the dimensions from the 4-by-3 familiar to television to the 16-by-9 that makes movies a larger experience to the consumer. With subtlety, Apple brought the iPhone from television to movies.

There is also what is essentially a downgrade of the Maps application and the removal of the YouTube app (which is already available as its own app in the App Store). To that I can only defend Apple by reminding folks that Google is now a direct competitor with their Android operating system. While Google Maps is superior to the one currently on iOS 6, give it a few years. Apple doesn’t take defeat easily.

By the way, you can still use Google Maps on the iPhone, even without a dedicated app. Just navigate Safari to It’s easy as tapping the screen.

As of this writing, I haven’t had a chance to test out the 4G capability.This was the primary reason I got the new phone (that plus my two year contract was up) and can only say at this stage that I’m looking forward to seeing it in action. I also haven’t used Passbook yet so I can’t comment on that.

My initial thoughts, however, are in terms of physical design, Apple may have once again anticipated changes that I wanted before I even knew I wanted them. Kudos to Apple for its usual thoughtful and quality smartphone.