Apple iPhone 5 not worth the investment
Posted on Oct 02, 2012 in Opinion
It’s that time of year again – the leaves begin to change color, trees start to go barren, and Apple releases yet another gizmo to entertain the masses. This time it’s the iPhone 5. If you’ve been on the Apple website, you know that it is advertised as “the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone.” But is it really the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone? Granted, there is a slightly new design, a larger screen, and a new processor; however, is the 16GB iPhone 5 even worth the hefty $199 price tag when you could just get the iPhone 4S brand new for $50? Maybe. Let’s take a college student’s perspective.
We’ll go over the feasibility of the phone first. The new iPhone 5 comes equipped with three microphones that filter background noises and improve the sound quality significantly better than the iPhone 4. This is useful for Siri, if you’re into her, and recording class lectures, which I have seen a lot of students do. The iPhone 5 is drastically lighter – only 26.0g – than the iPhone 4S and it’s about 20 percent thinner, 7.6mm vs. 9.3mm, making it thinner than 97 percent of phones. This means two things: it’s obviously much more fragile and the larger screen size 4.0” vs. 3.5” is more prone to cracking or shattering due to the thinner body.
Apple has a knack for frailty. Many iPhone users, about 78 percent according to one study, buy cases. If you fit into this category, then this thin/light feature will be an improvement, not a detriment. The camera is still the same 8MP camera in the back but the front camera used in FaceTime, which can now be used over cellular networks and Wifi connections, is now a 1.2 MP vs. the old 0.3 MP. There is also a dedicated camera button that allows for easier snapshots, panorama mode, and a 0.16 seconds of decrease in shutter lag for 0.24s vs. 0.4s.
The battery on the iPhone 5 is slightly improved at 225 hours of standby time versus the 200 hours of the iPhone 4S. Note, the iPhone 4 had 300 hours. This increase, I think, will not be very noticeable.
The most prominent feature is the increase in downloading speed. The iPhone 5 downloads at mammoth speeds around 100 MBits/s against the iPhone 4S’s 14.4 MBits/s. This basically means Apps actually download at the touch of a button. Granted, I am not sure how these speeds will be on a shared network like UAB’s, but they still will nonetheless outshine those of the previous iPhones.
The new handset, however, does have a new charger port–that’s right, Apple ditched the old 30-pin connector that they had been using for years with the iPods, iPads, and iPhones with a new eight-pin one – called the “Apple Lightening Connector.” This one can be plugged in both ways and takes up less space, allowing for larger speakers/more microphones. The new connector has an optional adaptor for $30 that converts the old connectors to the new one on select devices. The resolution is slightly higher, 640x1136px vs. 640x960px, and the new A6 processor is to bring twice the performance of the A5 and twice the graphics capabilities.
So is the switch worth it? Sure, if you can pay for it. But if money is tight and you are happy with your current iPhone, then there is no need to work the extra hours for a new phone, unless you just need the new one that badly. A lot of the features are still the same and the improvements are mostly conveniences, not necessities.