5 Things I Like About the iPhone 5 (And 5 Things I Don’t)

I have had a week now to put my iPhone 5 through its paces.

It’s no secret that I am an Apple fan.

I have previously written about how the iPhone and iPad have made us more productive.

(Here are 6 productivity features of iOS 6. A list of 12 gadgets the iPad has replaced. And a look at whether or not the iPad could replace your dayplanner.)

So, how does the iPhone 5 fare?

5 Things I Like About the iPhone 5

Well, the iPhone 5 is still king of the pack.

As a device, it is head-and-shoulders above the competition in build, quality, and user experience.

Much of the user experience comes from iOS 6. And while iOS 6 is available for all current iPhones, it is intertwined with the iPhone 5.

There are many things to like about the new iPhone 5, and yet, there are a few items I wish Apple would address.

Here are my thoughts both positive and negative…

5 Things I Like About the iPhone 5:

  1. Speed – I am not going to cite benchmarks. (You can go Google those.) Apple’s products have never been about tech specs, but rather the user experience. The iPhone 5 doesn’t disappoint. Apple’s new custom chip is a speed demon. Apps pop, screens jump. and graphics fly. There is a noticeable difference and it makes the user experience even smoother.
  2. Screen – A lot had been made about Apple’s decision to make the screen taller but not wider. I am not a big believer in big tablet (phablet) sized phones. That is what tablets are for. Phones are for pockets. Phones are for one-hand operation. I think Apple made the right decision with the screen size. I was watching a young woman on a plane yesterday trying to handle her huge phone. She could barely operate it with two hands.
  3. iOS 6 – While iOS 6 is not limited the iPhone 5, it still helps define the new user experience. Several new features such as Privacy Mode and VIP Inbox change how we interact with our phone. On the surface, these seems like small features, but they are game changers. Privacy Mode lets you set silent time for your phone. No more random calls, messages, or chimes during the night. VIP Inbox lets you have an inbox just for your most important contacts. It even works across multiple accounts. I was skeptical about using it at first, but it has proven invaluable.
  4. Lightning Connector – Surprised? I like the new connector. I am not one of the individuals complaining that Apple changed this connection after almost 10 years. (Ahem, Mr. Pogue.) Some are saying that Apple should have gone with a common plug like micro USB. However, the lightning connector makes Micro USB look clunky and not-well-thought-out. The fact that it is reversible sounds simple, but makes it nice to plug in. (Something that you can’t do with other plugs). And we are learning that the iPhone 5 dynamically assigns the cable pin connections, this should lead to some interesting accessories in the future.
  5. Camera – The new camera is even snappier than its predecessor. (Pun intended.) It takes great pics, even faster than before. The iPhone has forever changed how and when we take pictures. The traditional point and shoot camera is long gone. The improved front facing camera will inevitably lead to even more people taking candid pics of themselves and their friends.

5 Things I Don’t Like About the iPhone 5

Now, let’s also look what I think could be improved…

5 Things I Don’t Like About the iPhone 5:

  1. Maps – I am not going to rehash the map-tastrophe that the press would lead you to believe. The truth is the new maps on iOS 6 are not that bad. In fact, the technology and directions capabilities are superior to most competitors. The directions are quite well-done. I used it the other day while on a call and unlike other solutions that talk over your call, Maps simply gives you pop-ups and small chimes alerting you to the next turn. However, the lack of data points in their map database was a major blunder that Apple should have foreseen. As Apple has said, Maps will get better. Let’s hope it is soon.
  2. Passbook – Passbook is a great concept. It has a lot of potential. However, at launch there were almost no partners onboard. Lots of promised integration from the likes of Starbucks, Delta, and more. But, most of these are still just promises. Very un-Apple-like to launch a new service without partners and services ready. Most people couldn’t even get Passbook to do anything at launch.
  3. Headphone Jack – With the new iPhone 5, the headphone jack is relocated from the top left of the phone to the bottom left. This seems to make sense if you are plugged in and are putting the phone head down in your front pocket. However, for me, it is obtrusive when I holding the phone in my hand. (See pic.) The headphone jack digs into my hand. I am also not sure this setup is going to be dock friendly.
  4. Shortage of Lightning Cables/Converters – As I said above, I like the new lightning connector and think it is a great step forward. However, it was plain unacceptable that extra lightning cables and converters were not available at launch. Most people have more than one place they charge their phone (home and work) and many people will need the converter to make existing accessories work. As of this post, the cables sell-out immediately in Apple Stores, and the converters haven’t even been released.
  5. Lack of Accessories – Finally, it appears that accessories in general are lacking for the iPhone 5. Currently, there are no docks, bumpers, etc. (Apparently, Apple doesn’t plan to make a bumper case this time around.) While a huge eco-system of aftermarket add-ons will spring up around the iPhone 5, this was another bump in the road for the iPhone 5 launch.

The Best iPhone Yet

After a week, I can easily say that the iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet. (Even with a few minor issues.)

It has replaced more gadgets in my arsenal than anyone thought possible.

We are in the post-PC era, and the iPhone is my main device to help me get things done.

Question: What is your take on the iPhone 5?

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22 thoughts on “5 Things I Like About the iPhone 5 (And 5 Things I Don’t)

  1. I think they should make iOS6 100% Omni-directional. In other words, if held 180° the OS should spin to keep the screen upright. I always set my iPhone4 in my cup holder and listened to my headphones. The music app should rotate 180° so I can do that and not be upside down.

  2. Thanks for the review Craig.
    As the last guy in my office with a blackberry, I constantly get picked on. I’ve been counting down the days until I get an iPhone, and I’m glad to hear that the 5 will put me head and shoulders above even previous models.
    — Joe

  3. I thought it was too light but now when I picked up my 4S I think it’s too heavy. Agree with all five of your points. I do hate that the headphone jack is on the bottom.

    • Funny! When I first picked it up in the store… I thought it was so light, that it felt fake.

      Due to the increased size and decreased weight, it almost feels fake. Hollow even. Like one of those “demo units” that retailers used to put on displays.

      Now… I LOVE the weight. The lightness combined with the high-quality construction make it feel like something out of sci-fi movie. 😉

  4. Thanks for the review. Still waiting for my 5 since I got in late on ordering. Craig, I agree on all your points, specially on the new headphone placement. Not a big fan of the new move myself.
    But I have to add that in contrast to holding the device in your hand. Moving the jack to the new location now allows for all the cables, (audio & charger) to be kept better organize and neat, when charging and connecting the phone to the aux jack on your car radio at the same time. Thx again – Michael

    • Michael, like your point about aux cable and charging.

      Pretty much the only time I am plugged in is when I on headphones. And for me, it puts the connector in my hand. (as in my pic above.)

      I guess Apple is encouraging my to get bluetooth headphones… 😛

  5. Totally agree with you on the headphone jack – an additional problem is when you want to listen to your phone while running. If you are wearing an armband to hold your phone, you need to put it ‘upside’ down so that the headphone will come out at the top – it means that the on-off button now is at the bottom and pressed against the sleeve that keeps the phone in place (I hope it makes sense)

  6. I agree about the headphone jack. I can’t stand it up on the treadmill anymore, or put it in an arm band right side up. The lack of accessories was a bummer as well. It took me awhile and a few different stores just to get the basics, like a case & screen protector.

  7. I notice that you seem to be using the Things application as your main to-do list now. Would you recommend it over Wunderlist?

    • Ah… you caught that. Yes, I have moved back to Things for my todo list.

      I recommend both, actually.

      Wunderlist is an excellent app for straightforward and simple todo lists.
      Things has a lot more power and feature-set.

      If you are looking for a simple App go for WL. If you need the power, go for Things.

      Look for a post coming soon about Things… 🙂

      • So, I am paralysed. 🙁

        Things does seem superior but I estimate it would take 5-6 hours to transfer all my existing entries, cost $30 for iOS Applications (the iPad one is $20!) and there’s also the issue of it not working on a PC.

        Are YOU switching?!

        Lachlan Walden

      • I switched because I needed some features that WL didn’t have.

        Yes, I hear you on the price. Actually, I had previously purchased Things (a long time ago) so I didn’t have to repurchase desktop app. It can be an investment. And you are correct, it is a Mac app on the desktop side.

        If Wunderlist is working for you. I’d stick with it. Wunderlist 2.0 is coming soon… 🙂