Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 14.26.28

I like my gadgets, and generally consider myself an early adopter. When my friends are looking at buying a new piece of technology, I’m the one they ask as they know I’ll either own it or have tried it.

So you might be surprised to learn that my phone is an iPhone 4S and that after yesterday’s unveiling of the 5s (no, I don’t know why it suddenly became lower-case either), I’m planning to wait for the iPhone 6 before upgrading.

It’s not that the 5s isn’t impressive from a purely technological viewpoint. It is. A 64-bit phone? That’s a pretty incredible achievement. Delegating sensor functions to a separate chip to enable constant use without the usual battery-drain? Brilliant. A truly state-of-the-art fingerprint sensor? Fantastic. A larger phone sensor with lower pixel-density? Exactly the right approach, and I was delighted to see Apple refusing to join in the stupid megapixel race.

But I’m still not going to buy one, and the reason for that is two-fold. Before I get to that, one piece of context. In the U.S., upgrading can be a no-brainer as you end up on the same tariff either way. In the UK, it’s better value long-term to buy the phone outright at full retail (around $1120 for the 64Gb 5s), so you have to balance incremental benefit over other gadgets you could buy with the same money – like a new iPad. So, back to those two reasons …

First, much as I love hi-tech solutions for their own sake, I still need to see practical benefit. While I am wowed by the 64-bit CPU, I can’t honestly think of a single occasion when I’ve been using an app and wishing my phone were faster. Perhaps I would if I were a gamer, but I’m generally not. My experience of using my 4S is that I touch a button and something happens. Mobile data delays, sure, but waiting for the processor to do something? Doesn’t ever happen for me.

It’s not like a laptop. The switch from 32-bit to 64-bit there was night-and-day with some tasks, like processing lots of photos and video editing. But those processor-intensive operations aren’t the kind of thing I do on my phone.


The M7 co-processor really is a piece of genius. If you’re not familiar with the concept, normally the CPU – the A7 chip in this case – does pretty much all of the work. Not just running apps, but also all the background stuff too: keeping track of the phone’s orientation, looking out for new wifi networks to join, that kind of stuff. What the 5s does is have a separate chip to take care of the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. For example, if you’re running a fitness app, instead of the CPU being active the whole time, collecting that data and passing it to the app, the M7 chip simply logs it all and makes it available later to any app on demand. That means the A7 chip has less to do, and you get better battery life.

Fantastic. But in my typical usage, it’s rare for me to run out of battery life. My office is at home, and I have an iPhone dock in my car, so the phone generally only needs to operate on battery power for a few hours at a time. There are exceptions, but for most of those the 4S still copes – and there are battery-cases for the few times they are needed (like cycling holidays).


Fingerprint sensors aren’t new, and they have even made it into phones before, but the 5s one is incredibly advanced. With many fingerprint sensors, you have to roll your finger across them, and the finger has to be in a consistent orientation. With the 5s sensor, all you do is touch, and it offers 360-degree recognition, so it doesn’t matter how you are holding the phone or how you apply your finger.

I love that. But it’s not enough. Give me fingerprint-protected NFC, so I can leave my wallet at home and only carry my phone, and I’d have been setting up camp outside my local Apple Store. Let me unlock my banking app and Paypal account and I’d have been pretty tempted. But just to unlock my phone? That’s a waste of good technology.


That new phone sensor and f/2.2 lens? Ok, Apple, I admit you did tempt me there. While everyone else crams in more and more pointless megapixels to a tiny sensor just so they can put an impressive-sounding number on the box, you actually understand photography. You know that once you have enough megapixels to produce a decent-sized print (and honestly, even 4MP achieves that), what matters is the quality of those pixels. And for quality, sensor size is king. Couple that with a wide-aperture lens to let in as much light as possible and you have a camera that will be incredibly capable in low-light conditions.

But when I want to take proper photographs, I use my DSLR. My iPhone is what I use for snapshots, where it’s about the memory rather than the art. Improved quality is always good, of course, even for snapshots, but it’s not a massive selling point for me.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 14.55.27

The new styling? Hmm, sorry, Jony, it’s pretty and all, and you’ve achieved an absolute miracle in creating a non-tacky-looking gold phone, but I honestly prefer my all-black 4S.

All of which brings us to the second reason I won’t be buying one. My two-year-old iPhone 4S still looks new. It still looks modern. It still performs beautifully. The buttons and switch all work perfectly. The attention to detail and manufacturing quality that made it a winner then leave it still a winner today. In short, if I were to walk into a phone store today and buy my 4S, I’d be happy with my purchase.

You got me to upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the 4S. Siri did that. But I’ll be able to get the iOS 7 goodness on the 18th just like those who’ve splashed out on the 5s, and there’s nothing else I want enough to join them. In essence, Apple, by creating a quality phone and then allowing me to update it to the latest software two years later, you’ve cost yourself a sale.

But then that’s also the reason I’ll likely still be a customer many years from now. Long-term, Apple’s strategy is bang on the money.

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281 Responses to “Opinion: Why I love the iPhone 5s, and why I’ll be sticking with my 4S”

  1. You can’t lose this funny comic about yesterday Apple Keynote! :D Have fun!

  2. Missing big picture. Yes you’re not a gamer but gamers will go to this device, new iPads and more importantly iOS7 will damage even more the game console companies. Every level of new technology set the ground work for even more products. Now you sit behind a keyboard and write and most likely have a day job but the technology in the 5s allows companies like mine to build and deploy even better enterprise solutions. I guess I just need to read these pontifications and stick to not replying.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      This is of course the reason it’s an opinion piece, and my opinion. If I were a gamer, I’d likely have a different one. Neither of us is missing the picture, we simply have different ones.

    • pretty ignorant reply. He did clearly state it was just an opinion on why he won’t be upgrading relating it to his uses and requirements.Clearly if a “company like yours” can leverage this tech and give us some indispensable app that can only be achieved on the 5s, then users may be tempted to upgrade where they have chosen not to, but lets just wait till that happens eh.

      • Kirk Fetzer says:

        Well said. Ben’s thoughtful choice to not upgrade does nothing to diminish the advancements in technology that the 5s represents. And unless the argument is that by Ben not upgrading, or persuading others to not upgrade, he is harming the proliferation of these advancements, I don’t see how any big picture has been missed.

        Even if Ben’s conclusion would not be yours, his method is useful to have spelled out. Weighing pros and cons is not always so easy when dealing with a piece of technology that serves many uses, so I found it very useful to see Ben’s point-by-point comparison. Others may have different points to compare, but he did a nice job of describing his type of usage and needs, so I could take what I wanted from his conclusions.

  3. Keith Dotson says:

    Main reason from going from the 4S to the 5 was LTE. I bought Apple care so that I knew I would be covered until the iPhone 6 came out. Granted, in a business world I think the 5s will be amazing just with the fingerprint sensor alone. I can wait, but it still is a nice upgrade.

  4. Phi Tran says:

    Good reading and rationales. thanks. I’m owner of iPhone4 and I had a great 3 yrs sleeping with it. It’s still going strong despite the back glass is now broken due to many drops and batteries are not holding up any longer. I have to charge it up every 3 hrs now.

    I love everything from the iPhone4. However, I am fed up with the slowness of 3G connection and cannot wait to upgrade to 4G network. I loathe my 3.5in LCD now as it becomes too small to be useful for browsing and viewing stuffs. My eyes are getting dark and heavier these days. I hope for a 4.5 – 5 in LCD.

    So, I’m due for an upgrade and i’ve been waiting waiting for a next good iPhone that satisfies just my “larger LCD” screen request. I heard all the rumors before the announcement but I still hope for a miracle that Apple somehow manages to pull out a bigger screen. I agree with you in most points. I love the camera on iPhone5 and the camera improvement in 5s without increasing picture size is definitely a smart move. For those who don’t know, I’m also an avid photographer, I always post a large-size photo, x0248 on the larger side, on facebook/flickr. At this size, my jpg file is ONLY less than 1 megabyte (hello, it’s MEGABYTE) and I could print this photo as large as 16x24in. So, for those who needs more than 8MB photo to post on the web, you are just plain wrong as FB, flickr either downsize or disallow your photo to be uploaded.

    Being said that, iPhone 5s is definitely a disappointment for me. I’m a software developer but no, I still prefer Apple than Android. I guess I’ll be sticking around a bit longer until maybe my 4 is dead :(.

  5. Robbie Bone says:

    I find it quite nauseating that someone who writes articles for 9to5 mac has a two year old iPhone…

    • I’ve got a Nexus 4 (and an iPhone 5)

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I know, it’s shocking. I also expect to still have my year-old MBP and MBA in a year’s time …

      • I enjoy reading your posts and if I had a really nice monthly salary, I might indulge in more Apple products. For a long time I was Android user and it was fine, but I really loved to the touch and feels of a 4s.
        A friend of mine has been a longtime Mac user and has exclusively Apple products.
        He’s the one who suggested to me to buy the 4s (unlocked version) which I did and I’m very happy with my 4s.
        Getting my iPad 2 in November 2011 was really a head turner for me still,using it right now to type this, it’s my love of the Ipad that got me to get a 4s and for my wife’s birthday I got her an Ipad mini because she was complaining that see couldn’t properly see on her phone (an LG Optimus that is working less and less hmmm, I wonder perhaps she’s due for an upgrade).
        I’m really looking at the Macs now, I think before I get a new phone I might upgrade my PC to Mac, or maybe I’ll get a Macmini as I enjoy my 27″ screen.
        I really enjoy Apple Products but in a different way, like you I’m waiting for a IPhone 6, perhaps it’s because I’ve been thrilled, to early, too many times by Apple that now I expect something even bigger?
        One last question, my honey not being a tech oriented person, do you think the 5c would be a good switch from her LG, and should I wait for it to be sold unlocked so she doesn’t have to stay with Orange (her carrier) as it doesn’t get that good of a signal as we live in the countryside. Bouygues Telecom does better out here.
        Thank you for your patience and your replies.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        If she already has an iPad, an iPhone would make a lot of sense. The 5c styling is obviously a matter of taste. Unlocked is always good for the flexibility.

  6. There will be many uses for the Touch ID in the near future. Takes a little time for companies to take advantage of it as well as security hurdles to clear. Will be extremely useful but I will also wait to see if the iPhone 6 will offer a larger screen to better take advantage of mobile gaming, better battery life, and easier on the eyes with GPS.

  7. Glad to see you’re still enjoying your 4S. Like many of the commentors in this article, my 16gb 4S has been passed on in my family; first to my wife until she decided she needed a 64gb iPhone, and now my mother uses it to talk to her friends, FaceTime with her grandchildren, and play Solitaire and Candy Crush.

    As a little bit of background, I am disabled. My arms extend just beyond my elbow, and I have small hands and no fingers (which will be interesting when trying to use the TouchID sensor). That being said, the iPhone has greatly improved my accessibility and productivity since it launched in 2007. Using the iPhone freed me from the constraints of phones with tiny buttons and allowed my unique hands more space to swipe around. Before the iPhone I could not read a normal newspaper without laying it across a table, or play a videogame without finding a pillow on which to rest the controller. As the iPhone evolved with each iteration it became my single most-used device and became a more accessible: computer, camera, mp3 player, notebook/journal, game console, newspaper, compass, GPS, device locator, etc.

    While I understand your reasons against upgrading to the 5s, many of those reasons actually support my decision to not just upgrade from my iPhone 5, but to upgrade early (and incure a penalty from AT&T for doing so). My 3 biggest reasons for upgrading are: the updated camera sensor and wide-angle lens, the 64-bit A7 processor, and FREE iWork and iLife apps.

    To my first point about the camera, I am not a professional photographer, nor do I aspire to be one, but the updated camera negates my need to buy a pricey and bulky SLR camera, which I was originally planning on purchasing this fall. Apple’s cameras have consistently improved with each iPhone, and the camera in the 5s looks to really capture the depth, color, and clarity we are increasingly looking for. Also, the inclusion of burst shots and slow-mo video recording will only further enhance the photos and videos we can take. Next, the A7 processor will enhance the experience of our content creation/consumption by enabling us to multi-task and use increasingly capable apps with less of a drain on battery life. Finally, while not exclusive to the iPhone 5s, Apple’s newly FREE iWork and iLife apps will be optimized for use on the new flagship device, and will enable everyone to create beautiful content on-the-go.

    I know I must sound like an Apple freak or iPhone fanboy, but its only because the iPhone has helped solve many of the issues I’ve had and made my life that much easier. The 5s may not be revolutionary, but it is a substantial evolution of an already amazing product line. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

    Written using Siri on my iPhone 5

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Not at all, your reasons make perfect sense to me. That’s the point a (thankfully) tiny minority commenting here are missing: different decisions will be right for different people.

      • Gal Gubesi says:

        Sorry, but most of Sman Haqq reasons does not make sense to me (except the camera)

        A 64Bit processor means… well nothing. All apps running perfectly on 32bit and if Apple did not publish it you would have never know or feel it, since it’s basically give you the ability to address more memory space (for example, Intel latest 32bit allows 4Gb limit). I don’t see how Apple getting even close to that amount in the 5s. A7 will be faster, for the same reason A6 was faster over its predecessor. both architectures performs the same.

        better content creation? I can’t even imagine a situation where the CPU will solve me that. Apps runs fast and except for the hobby “video editing” you can make on the phone, what exactly slows you down? since 4S, iPhone keeps waiting for me to act, not the other way around.

        Battery life? the joke of all times. I can’t leave home without a charging cable in my pocket/car, so how does an “improved” extra hour, more or less, changes that? whether it lasts a full day of average use, or not. there’s no middle here, and so far it fails.

        Free iWork and iLife? paying hundreds of dollars for device upgrade in order to get $40 software does not sound free to me. iWorks exists few years already and if you haven’t bought it so far, it means you simply don’t need it.

        So yes, you do sound like a Apple fanboy and that’s perfectly fine. I believe I am too.

        Ben, I read every word and just kept saying “exactly!” to myself. I couldn’t agree more.
        so far I’ve been buying every 2nd iPhone announced. looks like it’s going too be every 3th at best…

  8. Great article and spot on. I’m actually in the same boat. I’ve had the 3GS then the 4S. So I’m an “S” person because those are the versions of the iphones with all the problems fixed…to me “S” stands for solid. And my 4S looks and works great. Plus it will get most of the software features in iOS 7. So I’m really up in the air about getting the new phone. I could use the larger screen and would like that touch id. But other than that, I don’t really have a need to upgrade. I truly feel that my 4S could last til they release the 6S.

  9. 100%.
    I have a 5 and in absolute no rush to upgrade – these incremental improvements, while “cost[ing]…a sale,” are what make iPhones truly great devices (hardware and software combined). Not dissimilar from the Porsche 911 – also a machine that has been incrementally improved for the last 50 years – which any car person will have up there on their best-car-in-the-world list.
    And yes, allowing older models to upgrade is a great customer retention strategy, even if that does not mean a purchase of every single new model.

    Interesting to see the application of the M7 to the iWatch for superior battery time, augmented by a mini version of an AX processor, or working in tandem with the processor of another iDevice?

  10. I have an iPhone 4S, and will be upgrading, because iOS 7 isn’t really smooth and I need an LTE phone because I will get free LTE soon :) So I will be upgrading to… the iPhone 5.
    I really wanted to get a black iPhone 5s, but now there’s only the weird grey, and I don’t see the point with the processor yet. In two/three years, it will make a difference when iOS9/10 comes out and the iPhone 5 is cut, but I’ll be on the next iPhone by then. Camera is nice, as you mentioned, but the 4S is good and the 5 is even better, so I don’t see the need there. And Touch ID…the dream of unlocking 1Password with your fingerprint…wait, there’s no API? So the 5s didn’t impress me that much. And as with the 5c, it’s 100€/$ more expensive, thicker, heavier… and all the same internally as the iPhone 5 (I know, better Facetime camera, but I couldn’t care less given the quality of those calls). So I thought, why decide on a color, when you can get the awesome black/slate version of the 5c.

  11. Just pre-ordered the iPhone 4S for my daughter’s 18th birthday on the 22nd Sept. She currently uses a two year old iPhone 4. I subtly probed her about whether she liked the new iPhone 5c or 5s. She told me that she likes the look, build quality, form factor, size as well as the case and accessories she currently uses and enjoys with the iPhone 4. I was surprised – you’d think that youngsters would want the latest and greatest, or new and shiney. However, the 4S is still a great phone. And with iOS7 installed, she’ll get a reasonably new experience with a fresh OS. Enjoyed the article.

  12. But what about zoom? You’re forgetting about that.

    I think a lot of the media is missing the point about megapixels in camera phones AS a snapshot device, this article also misses the point which doesn’t really surprise me. While the higher numbers game is lame and we all think that (at least most of the people that both read and post comments on sites like this), it is lame because numbers above that 12 – 14 megapixel range, especially for smartphones, just means larger filesizes and smaller pixels and little else. Except, there is one thing I see my mom constantly doing with her phone, she “zooms” all the time — she is willing to do this because often the subject of an image is more important to her than the quality of the image taken. If you are like me you probably don’t zoom because we know that we will get shitty quality – that shitty quality is because we are cropping from a paltry 8mp (iPhones…)! But, it would be to Apple’s, Samsung’s and all the other player’s advantage to realize what the Lumia series is enabling people to do; zoom. I would love to be able to zoom without losing so much quality and I don’t want to have to buy attachable lenses for a smartphone to do it. I’d love to see more thought put in to this area when comparing these devices, it might help the more popular companies realize they may need to start thinking about how to compete, but, you know what, they probably already are, yet articles like this are still eating up Apple’s argument and spitting it out for everyone else.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      If you want zoom, sure, megapixels make sense. But on my DSLR, where I have a choice of nine lenses from 10mm to 210mm, the one I use most is the 35-70/2.8, and most of the time it’s toward the 35mm end. I hardly ever wish for zoom on the iPhone.

    • Jeff DeMaagd says:

      Doubling the number of pixels results in 40% more linear resolution, you’re not getting that much by “zooming”. You’re only getting an extra 0.3x “zoom factor” with 14 megapixels vs. 8 megapixels. A good quality sensor can easily make up for the difference.

      • Oh yeah, but, I’m more comparing it to the 41 megapixel monster that is the Lumia 1020..

        @Ben – for me, I don’t zoom much either, I compose based on the fixed 35mm, like you, I have a whole dslr setup, etc etc. I’m more talking about the mass market user. I’d like to see data on who zooms, I bet there are all sorts of demographics that do zoom because they don’t care or don’t know that they lose quality.

  13. Chad Clawson says:

    You’re missing a few huge reasons to upgrade and they weren’t announced yesterday, they were announced last year.

    1. LTE
    2. Screen size
    3. Build (lighter and thinner)

  14. I agree..Am a Mac and Nexus user open to considering an iPhone and this was a massive fail for me…Even the 5C price was way way way too pricey…(same as the 5 wouldve cost if they would have left it)..And the numbering of the S phones is driving me crazy

    • Rorry Affiat says:

      “And the numbering of the S phones is driving me crazy” .. and android phones or the many galaxy name/series doesn’t drive you crazy?

      and for the 5S topic, i’ll stick with my 5 for now, and wait for the 6, why?
      iphone 5 is the best iPhone i ever had,. so i’m pretty sure the 5S is a killer phone.
      it is cos i just upgrade my 4S to 5 around 4-5months ago. and i’m excited to try iOS7,

      so this year for me is new(few months ago) iphone 5, and then renew my iphone5 with a facelift iOS7.

  15. nwdrift says:

    A lot of the statements above can have a “Yet” added to the end.

    A lot of people see these new features and say, “when am I ever gonna need” or “I don’t currently ____ on my phone” . ….Think future, think advancement, that is why Apple added these technologies to the new iphone. They’re not thinking of what people do on their phone now, they’re thinking of what people can do on their phone in the future.

    When the previous apple products and innovations came out, I bet people were like:

    “Why do I need gps on my phone”

    “Why would I need an iPad, I already have an iphone”

    “64gb for a phone? i’ll never need that much space”

  16. LTE alone should make anyone want to chuck their 4.

  17. I’d imagine that the fingerprint access feature will be adopted over time… first, unlocking the phone. Eventually… doing everything. All in good time.

  18. I don’t want a fingerprint scanner on my phone. If I lose my phone I want someone to be able to get into it and use it. Fingers crossed that they look in the call log and start making calls in an attempt to return it. I want them to use the phone. I want them to hop on their wi-fi so I can use Find my iPhHone to get it back. If they can’t get in and use it, they’ll just wipe it. Then I’ll never get it back.

    If I slip in the house and crack my head open, I want one of my kids to be able to make a phone call. Can you still dial 911? Probably, but I’d want them to be able to call my wife’s cell too.

  19. Tom Walsh says:

    From my perspective 40 x faster than than my 3Gs and all of the new features and not be able to upgrade iOS7. It will be a much anticipated arrival!! Pre order and Upgrade here i come !! : )

  20. nolanhicks says:

    Apple has a real problem here…they make such good devices that they are still very good years later and their owners can’t see the need to upgrade. The answer? Put a major bug inside iOS 7 that causes devices that update to it (besides devices that ship with it of course) to slowly die over the next few months…

    Then people sigh and say “well it’s been a good phone…guess it’s time for a new one now. Good thing they just came out with the 5s!”

  21. If I were a 4S user, I’d want to move to one of the newer phones for the jump from 3G to LTE. The performance boost from not having to wait for basic items to download from the Internet made the phone seem so much faster to me. If that weren’t in play, I could completely understand all your points.

  22. Agree, if you’re a gamer, then the iPad Mini is for you, THAT is a console killer!
    I too have a 4S and it just works; from the look of the iOS7 compatibility, it appears that it will be supported for at least two more versions, so around the 6S is the end of it’s lifespan.

    No real incentive for me to upgrade to the latest – a sign of a quality product to say the least.

  23. Many are complaining about NFC. There is actually no need for NFC, with BLE or Bluetooth 4.0 is getting wide adaption. NFC is a very ugly technology. When you can do the samething wirelessly without touching, why should you need NFC ???

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      NFC is very well-established in the UK – or at least in London. The majority of my purchases now are made that way. If iBeacon becomes as popular, great, but it’s so far non-existent here as a payment method.

  24. Matt Verzola says:

    Hey Ben, why not trade in your 4S and use the cash to upgrade? Apple is offering $200 for a good condition 16GB 4S, so with renewing your contract the upgrade is free. As others have mentioned, you’re not mentioning all the upgrades from the 4S to 5, mainly LTE, better wifi, bigger screen, and lighter weight. All that and an amazing camera. I like my DSLR, too, but it doesn’t have the sharing features a phone does.

    Waiting for the 6 will diminish the trade-in value of your 4S, so that’s also something to keep in mind.

  25. LTE is enough to go from a 4S to the 5S, slow load times are a drag, waiting three seconds to save a photo edit stinks, so the new processor is definately welcome. Touch ID to unlock my phone allows it to be secure yet easy to unlock, I do not like using a password but have to because of what I do. Pair that with the camera and battery life, a thinner and lighter phone with a slightly larger screen, I am SOLD!!!!

  26. @Ben, if you meant contactless payment as NFC, then you are terribly wrong. Its same old RFID. NFC needs more time to pair than RFID. NFC is not widely adapted as media is portraying. Its only in few countries.

  27. John Gerard says:

    Hi, just a few comments I have the 4s love it also. I loved the design of my iphone1. Hated the design of my iPhone 3G with the cheep plastic back. One big reason that no one is talking about is that I can trade in my iPhone 4S for about $200 so a new 32GB IPhone 5s will only cost me $100. Check with an apple store on this, they can look at your phone and run the Serial number. So it is really a no brainer.
    With all the ausome tech in this new iPhone one problem I have is screen size and then screen formatting. Web sites still want to treat my iphone like any other phone. this i hate. The screen formatting on the ipad and ipad mini is sooooooo much better. I won’t be doing video editing or Photo editing on my iPhone unless I want to quickly touch up quickly and send a photo to my brother but nothing serious. I will be still doing my video and photo work on my ipad3 for the fourmentioned points. This is why I pray all the time to the Apple Gods that all the iPhone 5s tech is included in the new ipad. But in the past the ipad always lags one generation behind the iPhone. Then this is where the 64bit chip, etc will really shin.

  28. John Gerard says:

    Oh, one other feature that I will have to test out is 120FPS slow-mo. I have used a similar feature on my Sony FX-7 video camera. And 10FPS burst shooting mode. Depending if this really work well (?) compare that to my very nice pro camera the Canon 60D that shoots at 5.3FPS and that is considered fast in the industry. My current iPhone I guesstimate shoots at 2FPS. But for video recording I love having the bigger ipad screen size. There What you see is what you get. My iPhone 4S still does not work well in contrasty situations this is the main reason I don’t use my iPhone as a camera more often and no manual shooting controls.

  29. I’d say the “s” is lower–case because together a 5 & a capital S look very similar.
    5S / 5s
    Especially with a thin typeface.

  30. ifunography says:


    First of all…Congratulations! This is most commented article I have ever seen on 9to5! 223 and counting…

    I hear you out on your personal reasons for not upgrading, so I’m just adding my 2 cents to the conversation:

    I’ll be upgrading to the 5s because I love taking photos with my iPhone (currently the 4S) and the battery life is simply not good enough for me to confidently go around snapping and uploading photos and not worry about draining my battery. Also, when 3G is on kills the battery even faster. I usually turn 3G off unless I’m browsing or downloading something.

    I play games on my phone, but not I’m not a hardcore gamer, so I can’t say that’s a particular reason for me to want to upgrade. While you may be satisfied with performance of the 4S, I find that it’s getting a little bit too laggy for my own tastes even when using regular app, but maybe I’m just impatient.

    Third, I really love the idea of being able to batter track my activities with the help of the new M7 processor. I will certainly be enjoying using the new Nike+ Move app!

    • ifunography says:

      Damn autocorrect…well aware your name is Ben lol

    • Leon Oliveri says:

      How much better do you think 5S will be? Wait 1 year and see how good the battery will be from there…. if you really like photography then buy a camera. DSLR, compact or one of sonys new external lenses for smartphones. OR the cheapest one yet… buy an battery case for your 4S.

      People like you is a big joke just trying to come with excuses to buy a new phone just because its apple and you want it. Just admit you want something new.

  31. jon11a says:

    This article is spot on to how I’m feeling about the new 5C. I would also consider myself an early adopter of tech. I usually skip a generation with the iphone so I’ve been exited for ages that the new 5C would be my new phone.
    I was poised ready with my card details to pre-order my 5C after the keynote, while trying to make my mind up whether to go for the black or white. I think I actually prefer the look of the colourful iPhone 5S lineup.
    Turns out Apple did me a favor by not accepting pre-orders for the 5C as it’s given me time to think over my upgrade properly. The new features are fantastic. I love the camera features and the fingerprint technology is very cool. But I can’t justify the cost.
    I have also had the benefit of running IOS 7 on my iPhone 4S for the past few months and I have to say, I love it. Those that will get the upgrade next week, it’s like getting a new phone. It runs plenty quick for me still. The different look and feel seems so much fresher and includes bright new wallpapers. Even the old sounds (ringtones, text alerts etc) have been subtly enhanced and sound refreshed. There’s also a load of new sounds to pick from too.

    I’m sure iPhone 6 will get me to upgrade but for now, IOS 7 + iPhone 4S = one pretty amazing refreshed phone.

  32. Still using the 4S….gross

  33. Just to clarify, the fingerprint sensor isn’t just for unlocking the device. You can authenticate iTunes, iBookstore, and App Store purchases. And who’s to say apple won’t provide an API for devs, specifically of banking apps, for authentication in the future?

  34. Mac Jang says:

    What a great article, informative and well written. It also mirrors my opinions perfectly. I upgraded from iPhone 4 (skipped 4S) to an iPhone 5 and even though I am thoroughly impressed by the great new features, I will upgrade when they unveil an iPhone with a slightly larger screen. (The Samsung Note is too big, but the size of a Samsung Galaxy S4 feels real good in my hand, but I don’t want to go to android)

  35. Tinny says:

    So you are saying that you considered convenient an upgrade from 4 to 4s just because of Siri but you are not convinced about an upgrade from 4s to 5s despite the bigger screen and thinner case?

  36. Overlord says:

    Fingerprint-protected NFC? 2014!
    Full use of the 64-bit A7? 2014!
    Perhaps even bigger screen? 2014!

    Waiting for iPhone 6! ;)

  37. Leon Oliveri says:

    I agree a lot of what you said in the article. Very well written. I didn’t expect the camera to be this good but my 4S is pretty good too and is doing fine for me.

    The most important thing for me was to get a bit larger screen, maybe 4,5″ would be perfect. But I didn’t expect that this year. I can’t imagine iphone6 to have 4″ only. I’m going to android when my contract is over in April. Apple is becoming a big joke, trying to rip people off with no shame at all.

  38. C’mon Author, what’s the real reason you are not upgrading to the 5S. Is it because your current 4S contract has you locked in for another year, there or a bouts.

  39. Liked your article..With iPhone 6…I want Apple to find the best suited balance between a Bigger screen with latest technology and a good (full day) Battery backup…Also they need to completely think out-of-the-box to create an absolute beauty of a design for the larger phone…which is something i can trust them with to deliver..Good luck to them!!!

  40. Good read and interesting perspective for not upgrading and also gives food for thought for upgrading.

  41. From my experience, IOS7 works much better on the iphone5 than my iphone4. Quicker, cleaner, more satisfying.
    Also, I agree the 4S is just as good as the 5, as long as you don’t care about LTE. If you use cellular data, LTE is a killer app for the iPhone5, even though it’s not an app.
    The only issue with that is you will run thru your data caps way early in the month if you don’t have unlimited data.
    Wifi speeds appear to be about the same on both.

    And who really uses Siri anyway.

  42. This is a great article for those deciding whether or not to upgrade. Fortunately, I’ve made that decision.

    I have an iPhone 4 and to be honest, from a hardware perspective, it still works great. Yes, it’s gotten slower as the apps got accustomed to using the 4S and 5 specs as the basis for development, but overall, for a 3 year old device, it’s actually still quite nice. The screen size doesn’t bother me, though it will be nice to have something slightly larger.

    My biggest problem with my 4 is that the home button is very fickle. Moreover, I have my entire iTunes library (approx. 6,700 songs) synced to my phone because I’m one of those people who needs to have all his music all the time (it also saves me the trouble of having to carry my iPod classic around). The music is synced at 128kbps, but even so, the 32GB storage (the maximum option at the time) is maxed out.

    The rest of the phone performs fine. The battery is fine. I don’t need Siri, to be honest. I have it on my iPad, and I never use it. But I will be glad to have something faster and a bit larger. If I had a 4S or a 5, I’d be less inclined to upgrade.

  43. I gave an iPhone 4S that I’ve had for almost two years, though I’m not eligible for an upgrade because a family member used mine as I was perfectly content with my 4S. Well, it lags occasionally and as of late, has become increasingly finicky. The most important features to me are the camera (I’m an AVID smartphone “photographer”; I have a DSLR but I’m much too clumsy and never want to lug it around day-to-day) and having a great phone that can fit in my ridiculously tiny hand– why I love my 4S. However, I’m ready to upgrade, and I have the cash. Is the 5s worth it? Or should I just wait, ehhh… a year maybe?, and pick up a 6?

  44. this author is terrible. he is the typical fan of apple who buys everything they sell and boasts how good they are in the offseason but when its a product release acts like they’re not impressed. you clearly don’t have a sense of design. this phone (and the 5) are flawless in terms of size and design, and the features are groundbreaking. not only that the 4s runs like a shoe box compared to even the 5. you’re the typical person who wants a revolutionary (2007) iPhone and a revolutionary (2010) iPad every single year from Apple. well guess what, every other company takes Apple’s ideas and throws a nfc chip in them and calls their phone the best. no sense of design or true engineering. you sir are ignorant. what more do you want?? smart watches have been in production for probably over a year. smart(glass)es, tablets, phones from 3.5-6.5 inches, fitness and activity monitors. its going to be a while before a whole new market emerges. and you can be sure that when it does that Apple will not only capitalize first, but they will create the market.

  45. Angus Chen says:

    I think the author has manipulated many readers’s minds by his own preferences. Siri appears to be the most important feature to him, but to others it could be screen size, processor speed, graphic performance, camera, or even the camera flash.

    How could any reviewer compare a smartphone camera with a DSLR? Come on, how many people take DSLR with them all the time? How about you just take a laptop computer with you, and you do everything on it so the phone is just a phone to make phone calls because for every function that it provides, you can find a better tool to do it, in that case you don’t even need the iPhone 4S, right ?

    I upgraded my iPhone once every year, and in every upgrade I see significant improvements over the predecessor. For example, 6 seconds faster while loading the navigation app, 3 seconds faster snapping a picture, they are improvements to me, why would anyone say that a faster CPU is useless and he won’t take advantage of it ?

    iPhone 4S is still a winner today? If you would be happy walking into a store and still buy an iPhone 4S today like you said, then iPhone’s are not for you, because you could not tell / appreciate the differences between different generations of it. Summary?

    This article has no technical reference value, it’s like “My 2006 7th gen Honda Accord does everything for me just fine, I do not need the 2013 All-New 9th gen Accord, whatever new features and improvements on it is just useless to me, hey, see that I even skipped the 8th gen? because it wasn’t compelling enough, either.”

  46. Ben, will you still be updating to iOS7? do you think there will be lag? or will you be sticking to iOS 6?

  47. Great post Ben, I couldn’t agree more. Just because something new comes every year it doesn’t mean that you ought to buy it. It’s really hard for me to believe that there’s people that in August 2012 (About a year and a month ago) before the iPhone 5 was announced defended the iPhone 4S to death and believed it was the best of the best, now that same people about a year later talk like that same phone was a piece of junk and that anyone that owns one should be embarrassed. In my opinion you and everybody is in the right of choosing the products that suits them best. That said I’m also not planning on upgrading my iPhone 4S, 2010 Mac Pro, my 2012 MBA or my 3d gen iPad until I feel that they don’t meet my expectations or fulfill my needs because all of those products are still REALLY GREAT products. Ps. Sorry if any grammar mistakes were made, I’m not a native english speaker. Greetings from Bolivia.

  48. By allowing you to still upgrade (iPhone 4 here) 3 years later, to the latest operating system, shows me why id rather stick with apple. If i had the money, id snatch up a 64gig gold iPhone 5s, but i dont, and that doesnt completely disappoint me! I know that my purchase 3 years ago is still a valid customer in their eyes, and makes the phone i loved then, loved and valued now.

  49. Mark Pyle says:

    What a great article! I feel exactly the same way about my 4s. It’s tough to justify getting a 5s when my 4s still looks new, runs like new, and does everythikng I need it to do. However, the buyback programs currently available will allow me to sell my 4s for as much or even more than I paid for it, and will fully fund the $199 I’ll have to pay for a 16GB 5s.

  50. RJ Jacobs says:

    Apple kinda relies on people’s stupidity to sell stuff. I bet you don’t even have any idea what a bit is.
    iPhone has been the only 32bit smartphone since 2009. 64bits on a phone really isn’t a huge achievement. My phone has 4 cores. 5s only has one. Apple releases a new phone every six months, and adds one or two new features every time. HTC and Samsung have the real newest in technology in all of the phones, while Apple has a whole cue of stuff they can add, just in case technological development ever stops. Which will never happen. And fingerprinting causes immense security issues.

    • Jeff DeMaagd says:

      Kind of like how the Android platform requires pathological liars like you?

      5s is dual core and beats all the quad core mobile chips. Android phones aren’t 64 bit yet, unlike your claim. Samsung has already had to say they have 64 bit plans, they wouldn’t need to if they already were 64 bit.

  51. Hansen Liang says:

    Hi Ben,

    I absolutely agree with most things you said, but here’s an opinion from someone who just switched from 4s to 5s this past week.

    The 5s is a fantastic upgrade.

    I am an engineer myself, and I can get very deep into why this is a significant advancement. But here it’s just my experience. Yes, 64-bit sounds like a gimmick; and yes, you don’t NEED any of the new features. 4S still holds quite well as a 2-year-old phone. But the difference is EVERYWHERE… Not just in games/intensive apps.

    Unlocking is fast. Really fast. Messaging is fast. Typing is a breeze. Every corner of your phone is simply more enjoyable. The experience is very well thought out, and works in a very coherent way to make everyday tasks simply delightful – one of the reasons I am yet to consider an Android after using a Galaxy S4 and HTC One.

    It’s really in everything. And the change matters. Not in specs, but in the experience.

    (Wow I sound like an Apple fanboy. And that was a long reply.)

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I would definitely have made the jump if I’d seen any noticeable lag in my 4S on iOS 7, but I have to say it seems as responsive as ever (unlike my iPad 2, which I’m waiting impatiently to upgrade to the iPad 5 :-)).

  52. Iain Binks says:

    The only reason I am buying a 5s is because my 4s is only 16gb. I agree it is still a great phone that I love. Just need more space.

  53. ellisz says:

    I agree entirely, but I may still upgrade my 4S. My reason? My company gave me a Verizon 4S. Which means it’s not even 4G, but 3G (CDMA). I rarely get over 1MBps data speeds. My main reason for upgrading (If I choose to go that way) will be to get to LTE and have some normal data speeds.

    (I’d also love to get away from Verizon and their horrible CDMA tech that they still use for voice on the 5s, but ultimately that’s up to my company)

  54. Why anyone would want to play games on a phone I don’t know. I think phones are actually the last thing people look for when buying a phone.

    To me it looks like phones are getting bigger and I pads smaller. Soon there will be no need for the phone as the iphone will soon be comparable in size to the ipad mini. Then Apple will equip the ipad with the capability to make calls and, voila!
    Half the people I see using Iphones are never talking on them anyway. I am actually sick of going to dinner and sitting with a bunch of people watching you tube, tweeting, fbing or texting on their phones. The art of conversation has been lost.
    The last thing people want a phone for is to have conversations.
    “what is the cellular communication like. Is the connectivity good, the coverage good, does it drop out? They are the last questions anyone asks when buying an Iphone.

  55. Alysan Nakis says:

    I just returned my HTC One M*, and iPhone 5 before that) and walked out of Verizon with a brand new 4s. Turns out for me, it’s not about having the newest or the best, but about having what works best for me.