I queued for the first iPhone. I have never queued for any of the subsequent models but I have always had a new one within a few days of launch. Each new model introduction delivered a big enough leap forward that upgrading was, for me, a no brainer.
This means that I have paid full price for many phones bought out of contract in the second year of a 2 year UK contract. I have only once felt short changed. GPRS to 3G - worth it. 3.5 inch screen to 4 inch screen- worth it. Only the 4 to 4s felt wrong. There was no LTE in the UK at the time and (as we now know) Siri didn’t (and doesn’t) really work.
The 5s was the first iPhone that I decided to pass on. Partly, protest was my motivation. I, like many people, want a bigger screen. I know that I don’t need a 4 inch phone and a 7 inch iPad. I just want a 5 inch phone and then that, with an 11 inch MacBook Air, is all I need to take with me any where in the world. And partly, I couldn’t get excited about the 2 new features - the finger print reader was cool but I didn’t use a pass code so was superfluous and the improved camera was … meh… the old one was good enough. So, I decided not to get one.
Last week I was walking down Oxford street in London on my way to a meeting and my carrier store (EE) had a sign outside saying “iPhone 5s in stock - special double data bundles”. Turns out that I could reduce my monthly payment, increase my data allowance, give them £250 and walk out with a 64Gb space grey 5s. I bought one.
I don’t feel short changed.
I put the phone in one of the leather cases, for the first time - I had always gone naked before. The case takes away non of the functionality, adds no tangible volume and actually adds just enough weight to make it feel right again. The 4s felt solid and industrial -professional even. The 5 always felt a bit too light. In the case the 5s v’s an un-cased 5 feels like a Leica v’s a Samsung point and shoot. It’s a bugger to get on and off but once it’s on you never have to take it off.
The camera is cool and slow motion video is a real novelty (I am flying to Toronto today and took so some slow-mo video of people running through Heathrow airport, late for the plane - amusing) but I suspect like the panorama feature, I will use it a couple of times and then forget it.
The fingerprint reader works. If, like me, you couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of a pass code before, it is still more cumbersome than not having a code but not much. I will probably stick with it. It does have some cool side effects - for example, if you use your fingerprint to log on, then when you go into find my iPhone to find out what time your wife will get home, the phone doesn’t ask for your iCloud password.
Otherwise it’s pretty much exactly the same as a 5. iOS 7 is an amazing upgrade but (a) that works well on a 5 and (b) we’ve all had the beta since WWDC in June.
Why then, don’t I feel short changed? It is hard to describe. Let me try.
When I was 29 I got my first Jaguar car. It was a 3.2 litre XJ6 sport and it was a million times better than any other car I had ever owned or even driven. It was almost perfect. I had two in a row and then, 6 years later, I got promoted at work and my car was upgraded to to a 4.0 litre Jaguar. The 3.2L accelerated just as fast as I needed. The 3.2L had a top speed much faster than I’d ever drive on a British motorway so I couldn’t quite see how my new 4 litre car could improve on it in a way I’d appreciate. But, once I drove the 4.0 litre, it felt like night and day. It was the same car but every thing just felt so much more effortless. Using the bigger Jag, I always has this feeling that I was well within its capabilities, nothing was a strain. I had at my finger tips a machine that at 30/40% of it’s max could deliver every thing that I asked of it. That is such a powerful, engaging and relaxing position to be in.
And so it is with the 5s. It never hesitates or strains. It never pauses or over heats. It does everything you want without even breaking a sweat and for some reason that I find hard to understand or describe, it makes it a total the pleasure to own and use.
If you are lucky enough to be able to own one. Don’t hesitate.