Sunday, October 14, 2012

iPhone 5 in The Real World

I have now been carrying an iPhone 5 for several weeks now of real world work and reading the evaluations of others. First of all as Apple is prone to hyperbole when promoting its products and Apple users tend to have very high expectations and Apple critics tend to be hyper critical. This tends to create an echo chamber of comments that exacerbate complaints that have merit and create ones that don’t. Just the other day I was in a local electronics store and listened to the sales girl behind the counter tell a customer she didn’t want to trade up an iPhone 3Gs to an iPhone 5 because the maps were terrible. This customer had an investment in apps and the sales person was pressing her to look at other phones. I asked the sales girl. Have you used an iPhone 5 yet? She told me honestly no, everything she was sharing was just what she heard. I pulled my phone out and showed them how it worked. Once the sales girl actually held my phone and played with it a little she changed her tune. Now the customer still couldn’t buy the iPhone 5 because the store didn’t have any in stock which likely had more to do with why the sales girl was steering this person away from an iPhone 5 than anything else. Maps PastedGraphic-2012-10-14-15-05.pngMaps should not have been advertised as the best mapping system ever. It is a good mapping system don’t get me wrong and I have been using it for weeks, using my car navigation, Google Maps, and Apple Maps together. So far in both cities I have tested it in the mapping system and turn-by-turn works fine in the areas I tested. The integration with Siri makes it easier to get direction and it seems as though the iPhone 5 uses far less power when giving turn-by-turn directions. The mapping system also includes a report a problem button on the settings page. If a user fiends a problem they can report it and it will be fixed. A week after launch Tim Cook issued an apology for the issues with the iPhone maps suggested a few alternatives for users while Apple Maps is being worked on. Apple has acquired several companies and worked years on this new mapping system. It will improve over time. I think most users complaints stem from becoming so dependent on mapping apps on our devices. We need it to work, work well, and work every time. The 3D features are stunning and the 3D renderings of building footprints is helpful when navigating. The other huge loss was mass transit direction built into Google Maps. When requesting mass transit directions Apple Maps lists the apps that have the information and allow you to download and install them. The best feature has to be the information card that includes Address, Phone number, and Yelp information with beautiful photographs and subtle Tim Burns effects and dissolves making the cards feel elegant. Battery Life PastedGraphic1-2012-10-14-15-05.pngFor the first few days with my new phone it seemed like the battery didn’t perform as well as my older phone. That could have been due to using it more as I explored the new features or older apps needing upgrades to make it work well with iOS6. It could also have been due to the lack of lighting cables available to charge the iPhone. I heard reports of people who said they had gone two days without recharging. I never got that kind of life with my iPhone 4 but I could make it through a normal usage day if I recharged while at my desk or used a Mophie Juicepak when charging times are not available. Now with extra cables lying around and recharging at random intervals when I am not using my iPhone it seems as though I have plenty of battery power now. It will still be nice to have a Mophie Juicepak again when Mophie makes one for lightning connectors. Scratches People have been testing phone by scratching them with keys dropping them etc and with mixed results. I haven’t put a case in my phone, I just put it in my pocket and get it when I need it. So far I haven’t had any scratches or scuffs. Their have been a number of reports of nicks in the aluminum from drops exposing the natural aluminum under the anodized coating. We carry these devices with us more than just about anything else and it is bound to get scratches and scuffed over time. The iPhone also looks like a piece of art and we want to protect it and keep it looking nice. So far it has been durable and I have no complaints in that area. Dock connector PastedGraphic2-2012-10-14-15-05.pngDropping the 9 year old 30 pin dock for the 80% smaller 8 pin lighting connector to me isn’t about obsolescence or making us buy more devices. After all most of the dock items that are sold are sold by third parties and not Apple. I believe this was a technology decision to make the devices thinner and more user friendly by making the cables reversible. With all of the options to sync wireless, use airplay, iCloud we have plenty of ways to get data on and off our device and the lightning connector is mostly for charging. It is however digital and we might be surprised with what we see come from lightning in the next few years. Speed PastedGraphic3-2012-10-14-15-05.pngBetween the 5 Ghz 802.11n, the faster CPU, and LTE wireless, this is by far the fastest smart phone I have ever used. Page loads are faster, apps open faster, it is a pleasure to use. The iPhone 5 feels so much more responsive and capable I have tried things with it I haven’t attempted before. On Oct 13th I gave a presentation at the Las Vegas Mac Uses Group delivering the presentation from my iPhone. Using an Apple TV hooked up to the projector I was able to deliver a full keynote presentation right from my phone. To demo features of iOS I would occasionally drop out of the presentation and show the mirrored desktop. Walk users through a feature and then quickly jump back into my presentation right where I left off. This is an impressive feat for any smart phone and unthinkable just a few years ago. Camera PastedGraphic4-2012-10-14-15-05.pngIt is the best smart phone camera I have used and with each iPhone has gotten progressively better. Panorama’s are simple to shoot just tap on options and choose panorama from the camera app. When shooting video simply tapping on the camera button while recording let’s you take great stills at the same time. No more choosing between shooting video or taking still photos. The resolution is now equivalent to my aging DSLR and since the iPhone is always with me it is now the only camera I regularly use. Overall we have come to expect a lot from Apple products and when we feel Apple didn’t deliver we don’t just feel let down as users. We seem to experience betral and that leads to the negative press the iPhone 5 has gotten. Despite the naysayers iPhone 5’s are flying off the shelves and millions of users are happy with their device. It is no more of an evolution than a revolution but the devices is more useful and more capable than all the ones before it. If you are using an iPhone 4s it is a good phone. Wait for your contract to end and upgrade. If you are using an iPhone 4 or older this is a massive upgrade. In two years when the iPhone 7 is out I am sure those of us who enjoy our iPhone 5 today will be ready to upgrade.