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Justin Louis Reviews the iPhone 5

Photo by Justin Louis

Apple’s newest gadget has been out for about a week and a half now, and I’ve had a bit of time to play with one. If you’d like some insight into why I chose to upgrade to the iPhone 5, click here for my previous iPhone article. In the meantime, here are my early thoughts:

First Impression

Whether you’re an Apple person or not, there’s one thing you can’t argue with, the iPhone 5 is sexy. It’s sleek and eye catching. Whether you’re talking about the black model with slate colored aluminum accents or the white with natural silver aluminum accents, it’s an eye catcher.

 

Using the Phone
I’m upgrading from an iPhone 4, so I’m two models behind. The iPhone 5 is, in a word, fast. In two words, blazing fast. It might be a little bit of an exaggeration to say that going from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5 is like going from a dial-up modem to a cable modem, but it almost feels that way. Texts and messages go through in the blink of an eye, apps open and function very quickly.

I’ve also had fun playing with Siri, which was introduced on the iPhone 4s, the “in-between” model that came out last year. To say that Siri is a voice control feature is greatly underrating the functionality. Siri not only does the usual voice control commands that you’d expect (“Call Mom”, etc), but will get you the weather forecast, transcribe and send texts for you, and make appointments on your calendar, among other things. The engineers at Apple have also given Siri a bit of a personality, yesterday when I asked, “Siri, do you like me?” she responded with, “I would not wish any companion in the world but you”. I think Siri just made me blush a little.

 

“Mapgate”
This is the main issue that many people have had with the latest operating system, available for previous models of the iPhone, and included on the iPhone 5. Apple switched from using Google Maps to their own software. It’s been, let’s be polite and say, welcomed with lukewarm enthusiasm. There have been some pretty ridiculous stories of Maps’ shortcomings, and I even experienced a head scratcher of my own this morning – just to see how good the turn by turn navigation is, I asked for directions to work. I live in Northern Ocean County, just off the Parkway, and the office is currently in Bayville. While I was presented with three different routing options, not one of them included the Parkway (I did not have “no highways” selected, or anything like that). A bit strange. That being said however, when I started going my own way to get onto the Parkway, the Maps app recalculated the directions almost immediately.

 

EarPods

Photo by Justin Louis

Considering what I do for work, I think of myself as a bit of an earphone aficionado. I have always hated Apple’s signature white earbuds that have come with every iPod and iPhone since the very first models. They’ve never stayed in my ears and the sound quality was just OK. Apple made a big deal out of their redesigned “EarPods” at the iPhone launch last month, saying that they are “more comfortable for more people than any other earbud-style headphones“. Well, I guess my ears are weird. I still find them to fit awkwardly and fall out. The sound quality is quite good, but I certainly wouldn’t go jogging with them, I’d lose them after two steps (but let’s be honest, I’m not doing all that much jogging anyway). They’re good for riding NJ Transit or flying, but that’s probably about it.

 

The Now-Infamous Connector

Photo by Justin Louis

Oh Apple, why do you do this to us? In the name of technological advancement, they’ve introduced a new connector for the iPhone 5, dubbed “Lightning“. The biggest catch? If, like me, you’ve been an iPhone and/or iPod user for years, every accessory you’ve ever bought is now incompatible. Sure, you can buy an adapter, but Apple will hit you for $30 (maybe that’s why they call it “Lightning”, the way it’ll lighten your wallet trying to use all of your old accessories). My first thought was, “well, I’ll just wait for the cheap knockoffs to show up online”. Well guess what? I just found out that it may not be that easy. A little bit of a slap in the face to the Apple loyalists. Maybe the company would do well to offer up one free adapter to people who have had at least one previous iPhone (hear that, Tim Cook?).

 

Overall Impression
Overall, I’m loving the iPhone 5. It’s fast, incredibly responsive, super easy to navigate, and nice to look at. I’m sure that Maps will be tweaked with software updates in the not too distant future. I’ve never used Apple earbuds in the past, so the EarPods are a bit of a non-issue for me. The only thing that sticks in my craw a little is the whole connector issue, but let’s be honest, competitor phones have their own propritery plugs as well.

 

So what’s your cell phone preference? Do you have a smart phone? If so, is it an Android phone or an iPhone? If you’re still on a simple, non-smart phone, are you happy with it or have you thought of upgrading? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

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