Life’s most important question: Should you get the iPhone 5?

So should you buy the iPhone 5?

That’s the question on most people’s mind this morning. When it was unveiled last week, technologists and fanboys wrestled with the same question: “Apple’s latest is simply iterative,” they argued. ” Neither revolutionary, nor special. It’s reeks of disappointment”

On Monday, said disappointment racked up over 2 million pre-orders in a span of 24-hours: a new sales record.

There’s always been a noticeable disparity between the hardcore fanatics and the consumer. The fan spends most of his/her time putting a product on a pedestal, as such their minds invariably create scenarios where these products reach unrealistic heights of importance and sophistication. The consumer, on the other hand, simply wants what is cool to brag at the watercooler.

Make no mistake, the iPhone 5 is an incredible piece of technology. Without a doubt one of the best smartphones on the market. Hell, almost every respected reviewer agrees – even those who had been the most vocal of its shortcomings.

Whether you need to own the new iPhone , however, is a different question altogether.

 

The phone’s key differentiators between last year’s wildly-successful 4S model might seem trivial: a bump in hardware specs, a taller screen, a new dock connector, 4G connectivity and a better camera lens. For the owner of an iPhone 3G or 3GS these changes are pretty drastic – especially when you throw in the retina screen, Siri, and a dramatically different casing into the mix.

Owners of the iPhone 4 may find themselves complacent with their current model. After all, they already already got the much-beloved retina screen. Although, certain key features of Apple’s latest iOS 6 won’t be supported by the hardware – including panorama mode in the camera app and turn-by-turn navigation in Apple’s new mapping solution.

In fact, Apple Maps (now standard in iOS 6 and by extension the iPhone 5) has been taking quite a beating in the press these last few days. It’s lack of polish, key features and mileage compared to Google’s much-loved platform has many customers frustrated. Yet, another factor to consider when upgrading.

There’s also the harsh reality that in 12 months Apple will be dropping another, “better”, iPhone into the world. Do you then wait for the next inevitable iteration? Or do you upgrade every year much to the delight of your wireless carrier?

The pundits will say that Apple has skillfully manipulated the brain-dead populous into such frivolous desires. That the truly intelligent, and unaffected, will purchase an Android-based phone. You know, the kind that keep getting sued by Apple for patent and trade-dress infringements.

Last weekend, Apple’s largest competitor Samsung (of Apple V. Samsung fame ) released an an advertisement touting their flagship Galaxy S III phone as the “next big thing” that’s already here. And then, three days later, subtly teased the release of the upcoming Galaxy S IV in March. I guess that phone will be the next “bigger” thing?

 

Or what about these new Motorola, Blackberry and Nokia Phones on the horizon? You know, the ones without a ship date or price point? Maybe you should consider those as well.

The point being made here is that you can literally go nuts trying to stay up-to-date in the phone game. As with EA’s Madden franchise – there will always be a better version next year.

So the question of if you should the iPhone 5, or any phone for that matter, shouldn’t be dictated by what the general consensus does or says – rather the simpler question of if you really need a new phone at all?

Because at the end of the day, if your current phone still works, then why the hell do you need a new one?


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Author: Paul Stachniak View all posts by
Paul Stachniak is a freelance writer and former correspondent for The Space Channel. He often says things people disagree with. He can be twittered @paulstachniak.
  • Don Parsons

    I tend to skip a phone generation, as iPhones come out every year. Each year’s incremental additionals don’t add up after JUST purchasing one, but by time your two year contract is up, enough features and enhancements have been made to warrant picking up another one.
    That’s if I was an iPhone user.

  • http://twitter.com/OctaviousFury Octavious

    Perfectly said “Because at the end of the day, if your current phone still works, then why the hell do you need a new one?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulstachniak Paul Stachniak

    In years past i would jump on iPhones like candy. I sorta learned my lesson with the 3GS in terms of iterative updates, and I stupidly made the same mistake with the 4S. Don’t get me wrong, I like the phones, but like Don said, every 2 years is a lot better. If even…