climb

this is not a review of the iPhone 5

in the last few weeks, i found the online activity of some people i know to be a source of strange amusement when they posted status updates and photos about the iPhone 5, as though the current iteration of the apple smartphone had just been released recently. in fact, it's an old gadget. technology changes at such a rapid pace that most electronic devices become relics by the time they're rolled out and become commercially available. curiosity over the iPhone 5 no longer occupies space in most online forums, and tech blogs are no longer talking about it. any mention or discussion about it is collateral -- all its faults and features have been so thoroughly debated and argued about that anyone who may just have gotten the iPhone 5 is buying into yesterday's news, and should be aware of what it does and cannot do, regardless that apple claims it to be the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone.


i didn't talk about my iPhone 5 in recent weeks. in fact, i didn't talk too much about it -- online at least -- when i got it in early october. even then i thought that whatever needed to be said had already been said by people who have more copper stripes on their geeky badges than me. any serious feedback about the iPhone 5 and how it stacks up against its rivals in the android and windows phone markets have all been laid on the table. i seriously have little to contribute save to repeat what others have already made public, and although i don't usually agree with everyone, with the diverse opinions that are available, i am sure i would share the same thoughts with someone. but i still get asked a lot about the iPhone by people curious to see whether shifting to iOS is worth the migration, or by people hoping to hear me heap praise on a machine that gets much undeserved attention, or otherwise thumb down those made by those who threaten the iPhone's place in the hierarchy of smartphones.

but i am not the right person to ask about any of these. i have been an iPhone user since 2007, and have suffered through 3 different versions. each of my previous 2 iPhones had an average life span of 3 years. this probably partly explains why i wasn't fawning about the iPhone 5, because the iPhone experience is not new to me. truth be told, i just needed to upgrade because my old iPhone 4 was wonky after an unfortunate crash on the asphalt of gil puyat avenue. save for a brief moment of weakness lasting about a month when i actually used another phone and a different OS, circumstances conspired to bring me back to the apple fold, and i am thus unfamiliar with what other smartphones equivalent to the iPhone might offer. so when people ask me to compare the iPhone with, say, a samsung or an HTC, or even a nokia, i decline the temptation to comment on something i have not used. that is a trait more common for people who hate the iPhone, but not the other way around.


i remember telling people that the improvements on the iPhone 5 are so minimal that they are probably imperceptible to humans, since we are unable to appreciate the difference a few nanoseconds make. but after digging up my first iPhone and comparing the smoothness of my user experience, i can say that the newest iPhone has so radically improved since it first revolutionized the smartphone, which says a lot since the 1st-generation iPhone can still outperform some lower-end to mid-range models of other smartphone makers. what i did notice rather immediately the moment i unboxed the iPhone 5 was how light it was, considering that it is a row of applications taller. it isn't actually an inch taller as some people mistakenly assume, because the increase in the size of the screen is measured diagonally, so you won't immediately know someone is using an iPhone 5 until you put any of the older models beside it (after all, the increase in height is less than 9 millimeters -- if you're not sure how short that is, get a ruler). only then would you appreciate that it's 20% lighter and 18% thinner.


i've long noticed how amazing the retina display was since upgrading from 1G to the iPhone 4, and i'm not sure any further increase in terms of screen resolution would even be noticed by the human eye. what seems to contradict apple's pronouncements is the improved battery. with my old iPhones, i could go 3 days on a single charge, but i'm following a two-day cycle now, sometimes reduced to more-than-once-a-day charging if i turn on 3G. but of course because of the seamlessness of the experience, i may be using my iPhone now more than i have previously. at first also, i was going to be the first to complain about the shift to the lightning connector and i hoped that this rumor wouldn't be implemented because it would mean most of my accessories would be rendered useless. i wasn't about to upgrade all of them to be iPhone 5 compatible because i still have an iPod and an iPad that use the 30-pin dock connector. but my problem was solved when i got an adapter, so no complaints anymore. and come to think of it, i think this lightning connector is tons better than the micro-USB and mini-USB -- i hope other devices switch to this standard soon.

to answer some of the questions i get asked, no, i will not suggest you get an iPhone 5 unless you are (1) an apple fanboy or fangirl, or (2) you like people to think you're cool and all that. it's really difficult for me to recommend it over many other smartphones with better technical specifications, because honestly, i have known no other phone aside from the iPhone these last 5 years. it's like asking me if a restaurant is any good when all i do is eat at home. so i suggest that you go out there, read reviews, try out several phones, and decide. in my case, i'm tied to the appleverse. shifting to another phone, as proven in that month of weakness, would upset the balance.