The New iPhone

Apple announced their new iPhone today: the iPhone 5. I, along with the rest of the world, have been waiting for this day since the iPhone 4S was announced back in October of 2011. In fact, I’ve been dead set on purchasing the iPhone 5 sight-unseen, for the past ten months. Why? I like toys, and I trust in product evolution.

I’ve been carrying a cellular phone since I started college. Back in my day (read in the standard crotchety old-man voice), we used the Nokia 5160, got 200 minutes per month, no texting, no data, and we liked it. The alternative was the pager, which was a fad for a while, but you still needed a payphone to go with it. Eventually, I went on to use the 6190, then the 8100 (which I bought an aftermarket kit to imitate the top-of-the-line 8800 slider). The Motorola RAZR, however, was the first phone I really fell in love with. I even ditched my old carrier (T-mobile) for the AT&T (then Cingular) exclusive. When the iPhone was first introduced, I ignored it as a fad. After all, who would want to use such a feature-rich device as a phone? It seemed like it was trying to do too much. I said the same for the iPhone 3G. I did, however, pick up an iPod Touch. It was at this time that I started to get into the iTunes media ecosystem. Pepsi had their free iTunes download promotion a few years earlier, which really got my music library started. When the 3GS was introduced, I bought-in.

Since then, I’ve become entirely dependent on the iTunes storefront for all of my media. I rent movies on my AppleTV. If I miss a television episode and can’t find it on Comcast’s OnDemand service or on the broadcaster’s website, I’ll buy the episode through iTunes. I’m even happy to buy full seasons of really good television (Game of Thrones, Sherlock, etc.). It’s safe to say that I can never stop using iTunes, because my media library would be worthless.

When the iPhone 4 hit, I immediately upgraded. When the 4S was announced, I felt something was lacking. I’m pretty sure I was stopped by the fact that it looked exactly like the 4, and only offered a few speed improvements. That’s how I knew the 5 would be incredible. Apple took some heat over their perceived lack of innovation with the 4S. The 5 would have to astound; they really had no choice in the matter.

Here are my notes from today’s keynote:

  • Earpods: 10/10 will buy.
  • iPhone 5: 11/10 will buy.
  • Faster/thinner/taller/lighter
  • Dig the lightning connector
  • LTE with the same battery life? Unpossible!
  • Facetime HD
  • Three microphones, and wide-band audio <– This one is huge. iPhone voice quality has always been garbage. Carriers need to add support ASAP.
  • So glad they named it iPhone 5 instead of “the new iPhone.”

The last two bullets are important for me. I’ve always thought that the call quality on the iPhone was pretty terrible. Even with a nice headset, the outgoing voice quality was barely intelligible. It was much better through Facetime. If the wide band audio over cellular works even half as well as Facetime’s audio, it’s worth the upgrade on that alone.

Also, I would have been really disappointed if they tried to push their “the new X” product scheme on me. I bought “the new iPad,” and I call it the “iPad 3,” because that’s what it is. Sticking “the new” in front of a product name is worthless as an identifier for more than 2 seconds. Imagine if people tried that with their kids. Meet “the new Smith.” 30 Years later, “the new Smith” introduces you to his son, “the new Smith.” And so on. It was a bad marketing idea, and I hope that it died with “the new iPad”(3).

Some might call me a “fanboy.” That’s okay. I wouldn’t categorize myself that way, even though I fit all of the criteria. I’m just happily married to the Apple iTunes ecosystem, and everything that entails – including the iPhone and iPad. I may also technically be trapped in the same ecosystem, but so far, I haven’t seen anything that really makes me want to leave, so I don’t worry about it.

I’ll be up past my bedtime on Thursday night, refreshing Apple’s website until I can get my preorder in. It’s worth it.

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