Ben wrote quite the controversial post Wednesday entitled ‘Opinion: Why I love the iPhone 5s, and why I’ll be sticking with my 4Ss‘. He listed plenty of good reasons not to upgrade to a new high end iPhone and if you look at the comments, he’s not alone in that thinking. The tl;dr is that the iPhone 4s does everything ‘good enough’ given that his iPad is his primary mobile device.

But I believe that I have some convincing arguments to upgrade this year (not just to iPhone 5c) and perhaps I can convince a few of you, if not Ben:

Smartphones have rapidly become the most important gadgets in our lives by far. We’re connected to everything with our phones and they do things that 10 devices used to. Phone, camera, fitness, email, messaging, maps, social networking, watching videos/listening to music, finances/banking, keys, shopping, on and on. We use our smartphones for hours and hours every day. So, if you can afford the the top of the line iPhone, shouldn’t you get it?

“The smartphone purchase reminds me of the typical sales pitch at the mattress store – you spend a third of your life on this thing. If you are going to splurge on something, this should be it!”

Yes, the iPhone 5c is a nice phone but it is mostly just a redo of the iPhone 5 with some plastic covers. If you have an iPhone 5 and are thinking of upgrading to the 5c, save yourself some time and get a pastel Crocs case and you’ll hardly know the difference. If you are thinking about getting an iPhone 5c, the same arguments below will hopefully convince you to upgrade your thinking to an iPhone 5s for a paltry $100 extra.

Faster phones save time:
The iPhone 5s’s 64-bit A7 sounds like a significant speed improvement today with Apple saying about double on most tasks and the speed may be a marginal improvement for basic tasks (more noticeable for gaming), but multiply that extra few seconds times a hundred times a day times 730 days and you’ve saved a day or so in waiting for an app to launch or web page to render. What’s a day worth? That’s a good $100 spent right there.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 8.20.50 AM.

Now consider a year from now when apps are optimized for 64 bit and the new M7 processor like Infinity Blade 3 and you are talking about a different class of device. Then in two years, some stuff will only be 64 Bit. That’s when you’ll be selling and your iPhone 5s will be worth $100 more than an iPhone 5 or 5c.

M7 Coprocessor:

It is pretty clear that this is going to be a big thing for Apple. The M7 allows the iPhone (and probably all off Apple’s future products, including the iWatch) to do all kinds of real-time sensing without using much battery – 1/6th the power drain according to Apple. If you are into fitness but not into extra battery packs, this is your iPhone.

I too carry around a DSLR when I want the amazing shot and I have no expectations to change that. But normally I just have my phone. Yes, the camera on the iPhone 4S/iPhone 5 is a great camera. But a better camera is quick enough to get that shot you barely missed and focus in on those faces that you want to remember.  Little things like the duo tone flash matter. Getting that shot has to be worth something? Here’s a nice post on the iPhone 5s camera:

The camera in the iPhone 5S basically moved the needle two years ahead of the entire camera industry. Not just smart phone cameras — all cameras. There is a well known photography adage that states “the best camera is the one that’s with you”. Well, if you have an iPhone 5S that statement will remain true no matter what other camera you may have available. This is largely because the new 64-bit processor means that they have all the raw processing power they need to be able to execute features and techniques that not even the most expensive professional SLR cameras can deliver.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 8.33.55 AM

Then there are the video recording tricks like Slo-mo and video stabilization. You’d pay a few bucks for that, right?

Fingerprint reader?

Right now, the fingerprint login saves a few seconds (see getting the best camera shot, saving time above) and maybe a few more on iTunes logins but Apple will likely tie this into commerce and other stuff later. Multiple logins? Payments? Keys to house/car?

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 1.11.05 PM

There’s a lot to look forward to here and I’m happy to pay extra for the opportunity.

It’s not that expensive to upgrade your iPhone with the trade-in industry booming. Gazelle and Amazon are typically the best deals around but pretty much everyone will trade in your iPhone and give you a few hundred bucks for it, usually enough to fit the bill for the iPhone 5s (you’ll still pay the same monthly fee, but your carrier will be subsidizing your iPhone cost instead of bending you). It doesn’t work this way in Ben’s native UK, where it’s better value to buy the phone outright at full-price, but in the US if you are on Sprint, AT&T or Verizon you pay the same rate before and after you subsidize your iPhone.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 8.37.59 AM.

Thinking long term, you know that nice iPhone 5s you have now will continue to have value when it is time to trade in or give to friends/family.

This might be the hardest to justify decision, but bear with me here. I think Apple is going to have a really hard time meeting demand for the iPhone 5s.

We’ve heard tale that the fingerprint sensors were going to slow down production. Therefore, I think the gaudy Gold version is going to be the easiest to find, and I’ll end up settling for it rather than waiting on lines for the white or ‘space-grey’ versions. Plus, gold is the quintessential 5s ‘new’ color so even after I bedazzle it and put it on a gold chain around my neck, people will know I have a 5s and not one of those iPhone 5 models that I’m trying to convince you to upgrade from.

I digress. Don’t settle. Get an iPhone 5s. You won’t regret it.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

56 Responses to “iPhone 5c or the iPhone 5s? Why I’m upgrading … and going for the gold”

  1. Well said. I agree. I just sent my iphone 4s white 16gb At&t model to and got $247 for it. I’m making money on the deal!


  2. nathanwise says:

    The gold is nice because it’s the brand-new color. The space gray is also nice though because it’s like a throwback to the original. And then if you want to be inconspicuous the white and silver is your phone. In the long run, for me, it’s about which device will wear the best over time (read: show scratches the least) as I usually go case-less.


  3. dmitriyonorin says:

    That’s reasonable. not very convincing though. Being an Android user, I’m seriously thinking of buying an iPhone when the new models reach Russia, where I live. My wife is an iPhone 5 user, and I really envy her so much, but I just can’t make up my mind to decide whether the 5C is worth it or not. Spending about $150 extra on a 5S is not too much, so I just think adding a bit and getting not just a plastic toy but a real premium-feel device is better. What do you think about that?


    • This is precisely the reason I bought the white iPhone 5. I loved the slate one more, but since I never used a case, I went with the silver again because I knew I’d eventually drop it. I’m liking the champagne more and more every time I see it, but I don’t know if I want to walk around like an uberdouche with a “gold” iPhone. LoL


    • Jim Phong says:

      Buy an iPhone 5S. Don’t waste money on the plastic iPhone 5. If you wanted to save money then go for a used iPhone 5 or a new iPhone 5 at a bargain price. The iPhone 5C it’s not worth buying.


  4. Have you tried to recycle your iPhone5 at Apple’s website? They’ll give you 0$ WTF!!!


  5. I would get the gold BUT most likely being the first at my local Rogers store, they will NOT have any demos most likely for the colors. Thus i will just get the space gray. I know i can return it back before 15 days / 30 minutes BUT the stores will be sold out.


  6. chris230291 says:

    Ben’s wrong. I live in the UK and i can tell you that the phone works out cheaper on contract.


    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Not for me – I’m £200 up by buying outright vs the best contact available on launch date.


      • danbridgland says:

        Always best to buy outright in the UK. For example GiffGaff (O2) offer a £12 per month sim only (bring your own device) plan with unlimited internet. That’s sure to come in handy once iTunes Radio lands in the UK. Most carriers pitch the iPhone at £200 + £35 per month for 1gb internet. Then charge £10 for an extra 1gb.


      • aligatoralex says:

        Always international prices seemed better than prices in Poland, where I live, but one year ago one carrier showed the offer like that: 1PLN+200 monthly(16GB, 2 year contract = 0£ :D +40£) – unlimited calls and text messages in Poland with 2 GB of Internet without any fee after exceeding it, just the download slows down.


  7. In Norway you would get $405 for a black iPhone 5 64GB with Apples Reuse and Recycle program…


  8. sold my white verizon 64GB 5 two weeks before the announcement for $710… thinking of the white/silver since I am used to it. I also pre-ordered the Sony QX-10 lens, will see how well that works.


  9. ifunography says:

    Like you read my mind…this is why I’m upgrading. I’m aiming for the space gray. My 4S is a 16 GB, so my upgrade will also see me jump up to a 32 GB model. I take way too many pictures and download way too many apps to survive on 16 GB any longer.


  10. Micky Nozawa says:

    Will probably update when my carrier switches to LTE/4g, no need to do so until then.
    So, next year, probably.


  11. rettun1 says:

    Having a slate iPhone, a kinda got jealous after a while of seeing people white ones. They looked a lot cooler. But now that gold is here too I don’t know which one ill be getting!


  12. Steve Savva says:

    I agree with your post here 100%. I sold my iPhone 5 16gb white AT&T on ebay for $500 to get the 5s next week and I am using my cousins old 4s and it feels sluggish… not by much but you can tell the difference immediately. Fast forward a few months from now, iOS 7 on the 4s will slow it down a bit and new apps the same. You have to upgrade otherwise you will be saying your phone is lagging and slow.


  13. mockery17 says:

    Looks like the M& processor is even more advanced than the M7… It’s a typo. Please correct it! Thanks.


  14. PMZanetti says:

    I’m with you Seth, in all regards. The importance of performance, the camera, and touch ID cannot be overstated. And I even think I’m going for the gold. Just like you said, its hard to justify, but it is indeed very sleek looking. I have never owned a White iPhone. Not even a white MacBook. I’ve always opted for black when it has been an option. My current 5 is black. So, I’m torn. I don’t know if I could make the plunge. But iOS 7 looks great white.


  15. No convincing needed here. I was going for the 5s from the start. Now about that gold one… I think I’m really leaning toward it. Not so much because it’ll be easier to find. Every iPhone I’ve owned has been the black model, and I’m inclined to go that way again, but something about the white and gold is just kind of mesmerizing. I think it’s time to switch it up.


  16. I’m passing on the 5S because right now I’m feeling confident the next iPhone will have a larger screen and absolutely will want that.

    The new features in the 5S or nice, but I don’t need them (nor really want them that badly). The 64 bit architecture is cool, but I don’t game on my iPhone in a manner such that it’ll make a difference in 95% of the games I play, and I’m positive it won’t make a real enough difference and just about anything else I do on my iPhone.

    The camera improvements are nice, but after seeing what the already released Nokia Lumia 1020 already does, I’m not impressed.

    The fingerprint scanner is cool and I like its potential for authentication applications, but it feels so underutilized right now. Securing your phone biometrically is cool, but what I would REALLY want it for is to make authorized purchases and securing applications that deal with sensitive data. I’m not talking just iTunes/App store purchases (purchases I rarely make), I mean having my phone become a reliably secure replacement for my credit/debit card so when I checkout at a store, I don’t have to bother getting out my wallet and exposing credit/debit card in order to swipe it or hand it over to the clerk. Admittedly the potential for such application rests both with Apple and it’s common use at retailers (or arguable somewhat lack thereof). I’m also talking about my mobile banking application or my password repository application that lock up soon after you “minimize” them and thus frequently require authentication. That’s exactly how I want them to behave. But I’d love the ability to remove the necessity for entering in a password every time with quick and simple biometric authentication. Unfortunately there’s no API for that right now so the fingerprint scanner practically comes down to being an phone unlocking gimmick for me at this point. Yes, it conveniently secures the phone, but that’s pretty much all it does for me right now and that isn’t worth a $700 upgrade.

    Bottom line, I pretty much “know” I’m buying a new phone a year from now in the iPhone 6 which I’m expecting to have a larger screen. The 5C/5S offer nothing urgently desirable to me over my 4S other than LTE. If it weren’t for Verizon’s 3G sucking so bad in my area now I’d be content with another year on my 4S. I’m personally gonna pass over these phones and maybe either try to new Nexus or experiment with a Lumia for the next year because I love the Windows Phone interface and they’ll both offer something I really need and something I want in a phone right now: LTE and a larger screen.


    • Ben McGhee says:

      I too am waiting on a larger screen, besides, I can’t upgrade until March 2014. I hope the iPhone 6 will have a 5 – 6″ display option. I like the hardware features of the 5s, but I really want a larger screen. iPhablet???


    • I agree with you. The 5s has been a disappointment. I am not sure yet if I ll upgrade. Quite a chunky price for little improvement.

      I actually dont want a bigger screen, its just getting more inconvenient to carry around, thats one of the main reasons why I am not buying a plastic Samsung phone.


  17. skyfier says:

    Article has 2 flaws … first off… quoteing the price for trading in a iphone 5 is irrelevant becasue if you are in the US then you are locked in to a two year contract; and if you used that to upgrade to an iphone 5 last year, then you cannot do the same this year for the 5s. Only those people on teh 4S and below will be able to take advantage of the upgrade and they will not be getting as much for their phone ($230 vs $330).

    Secondly, and more importnatly, most of your arguments are about the future. “Right now, the fingerprint login saves a few seconds …but Apple will likely tie this into commerce and other stuff later.” and “Now consider a year from now when apps are optimized for … and you are talking about a different class of device.”

    If all of these things are going to be so great in a year, then why would I not just wait a year and get the 6 and get a device that is truly optimized for how Apple is using these features.


  18. So you’re buying a phone you think looks gaudy just so you can get your hands on one?! Pretzel Logic!


  19. Before the holidays, Apple will have shortage of supplies for its two new iPhones


  20. Are any of the carriers discounting the black or white iPhone 5?


  21. We’re getting $387 dollars each for our iPhones. And the new ones will cost $399.

    Uh, sold.


  22. I still don’t see how the iPhone is overall better than what Moto X, Samsung G4, etc can do. When you work on your phone daily it nice to have a bigger screen and since Apple thinks that the people really want a fast phone that you can touch to unlock, just shows that Tim is clueless. Ask any iPhone power user if the iPhone 5 specs where in a iPhone with a screen size of 4.7 or bigger, if they would like it more. All the new upgrades in the iPhone 5c,5s are great, but really ask yourself to be honest here for a min. Does all of that really provide you easy use of your phone, or when viewing a document and you don’t have your iPad, can you really do what you need to on the fly with a 4in screen. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE apple, I just don’t think they are talking to the true power user anymore. I think they are only concerned with what they can get by with not what we want. Believe me if the iPhone 5s was a 4.7 in screen it would be the 1 number smart phone and no one would be able to touch them. It just seems that Apple is only doing what they want and not what all of us are hoping for in a phone. Think about it for a min. How much of the new upgraded hardware are you really going to need or miss if you don’t have it. Compare all of that with a bigger screen and the same hardware and tell me you wouldn’t be happier!


    • nathanwise says:

      Honestly, I currently use iPhone 5 and sometimes wish it had the shorter body of the previous versions. I’m a one handed user 90% of the time and on occasion find myself repositioning the device to reach the top of my screen realestate. That being said I do enjoy the larger screen but wish it was in the body of a shorter device. So for me, give me the largest screen possible in an iPhone that is 10mm shorter and possibly 10mm wider and that would be ideal IMO. But at the end of the day…. I love my iPhone regardless.


    • I actually agree with @nathanwise below. I have an iPhone4S for personal use and an S3 for work. I honestly feel the S3 is way to big. Just my $0.02


  23. Hey guys, stupid question or not I’m still wondering..for people that lives in Australia, like me..iPhone 5s will be available only from 21 of sep right?? It will be really frustrating show up at the retail store on 20th and leave with empty hands!!! hahaa


  24. standardpull says:

    Who are these anti-computer scientists that say we have to wait for 64 bit apps to see a performance increase? These people are dolts.

    The short story is that most applications spend the vast majority of the time making calls into the OS. And Apple can implement those calls in 64 bit mode on the 5s and in 32 bit mode on the older devices. As with prior CPU/address space changes, Apple will very likely implement 64 bit implementations for the most highly use and most CPU intense APIs. And 32
    Bit apps will see a significant performance kick immediately.

    So don’t listen to the pundits or even the CS guy talking generically about 32 vs 64 bit. Talk to a Computer Scientist that can talk about the immediate benefits in details when dealing with a 64 bit capable OS APIs.


  25. Well, I agree, but in the end I decided that what I wanted was the great feeling in the hand and the color. I am fine with my iPhone 5’s feature set, so I pre-ordered an iPhone 5c in green. Should be pretty cool.


  26. DAMMIT. Now i have to buy this shit. great job ass.


  27. I agree with your article but I’m still sticking to my 4S. Why? It’s about money :D If I had enough like free to spend money I would buy 4S immediately.


  28. I will stick with my iPhone 5. The first argument: it’s just one year old. The second argument: the features from the iPhone 5s like the M7 processor first need apps which are made for it. Until the M7 will be supported, we will have truly one year to wait – then the iPhone 6 will be available. The third argument: time for developing also applies to the 64 bit processor. It’s good Apple makes 64 bit available for the iPhone, but right now nobody needs that power. My fourth argument: what is a iPhone as a smartphone worth, if I would upgrade every year? Nothing, it’s just a really expensive investment every year, if does not last even 2-3 years. So I really understand everyone who wants to stick with his iPhone 4s.

    And my fifth argument if I can stick with my iPhone 5: it’s an iPhone 5c – but with a much more better casing.


  29. Am I the only one seeing how this will cost significantly more money? Due to the 64-bit processor, app sizes will start to get a lot bigger for the version compatible with the 5S will they not? For every one byte on a 32-bit system you need to for a 64-bit. Does that then not mean that to just get merely the same storage on your iDevice you need the next model up? E.G I’m using a 16gb iPhone 5 currently. If I wanted roughly the same amount of music, photos and apps on a 5S, I’d need to purchase the 32gb, or purchase the 16gb and cut my apps in half?


  30. Rick Lyon says:

    I think the Gold will be the hardest color to find actually.


  31. Nope. Everyone here is talking about color like it’s the latest innovation! Really? 64 bit no one except you all cares. Regular peeps don’t even know what an iPhone looks like. Check the Jimmy Kimmel section where people were told an iPad mini was the latest iPhone. hilarious! Finger sensor is a cute gimmick (contact your friendly NSA) and the camera is really just catching up with the rest of the industry and still not close. Apple will incrementally give updates so they can keep you’ll coming back for more instead of just making a phone that you wouldn’t have to upgrade every year. Rotten practice and you’ve all gotten use to it. It seems the lack of leadership and creativity is finally showing it’s colors and they’re not so pretty. Maybe next year you get a slightly bigger screen! w00t w00t Time for an upgrade, Seth…


  32. Max Savin says:

    Great way to rationalize your purchase of a gold iPhone before even trying to order a different color :P


  33. The gold model is a great indicator that you’ve upgraded but the new home button — and the lack of the white rounded cube moniker inside — will also be a tell-tale sign that you’ve upgraded.


  34. I’m not convinced that the camera has been improved that much. I’ve been sold this bill of goods by Apple before, when I jumped to the iPhone 4s. It was a marginally better camera over the 4, not the quantum leap Apple described.

    The flash color balancing will be of help (Honestly a cheap piece of orange gel will do pretty much the same thing), but won’t make a difference if the light doesn’t have enough lumens to push the image over the sensor’s low light threshold.

    Schiller kept referring to “larger pixies = better images”. He actually got this wrong, and I’m a bit surprised no one has called him on it.

    Larger pixels make a blotchier photo. What Apple did– was increase the size of the photosites on the chip (Schiller mistakenly called them pixels). This reduces noise. Nikon figured this out a few years back when the megapixel wars were getting out of hand with rival Canon. Suddenly their DSLR could shoot a decent image at ISO 6400 and Nikon took the lead in the DSLR wars for the first time in nearly a decade.

    How much of a difference are the changes on the 5s camera in the real world? That’s the billion dollar question. If the camera continues to deliver poor performance in low light, the phone is DOA in my book. The Nokia Lumia 9xx series is delivering decent low light images (which is to say stellar in the camera phone world).

    Until I get my hands on the phone and take some real-world low light images, I won’t be lining up to upgrade my 4s.

    The processor upgrade will matter in 6 months time, when as developers re-code for 64 bit. But 6-months is halfway to an iPhone 6, which may include a larger screen (a feature I desire, as I’m learning as I test Google Glass paired with a Nexus 4).

    There are additional costs to consider for those of us living on a 4s. I have a working Mophie Juicepack which set me back $100 dollars. It won’t work with the 5s. I also have car chargers which don’t sport the lightning connector. And extra sync cables. Now I will have to replace them at some point when I do actually upgrade, but it’s not a simple “buy the new phone” situation.

    I’m holding out, for now.


  35. Eric Belt says:

    “I think the gaudy Gold version is going to be the easiest to find” What’s the reasoning behind this? I would think it would be the hardest since it is the new color.


  36. I have had a htc phone for 2 years. Can’t stand it..To me android os is not that great. Looking fwd to either getting iphone 5c or 5s


  37. keita123 says:

    Does it count if I spray my iPhone 5 with a gold dust from my local hardware store??


  38. keita123 says:

    Thieves in china have started chopping off iPhone owners fingers in anticipation of the 5s’ release. According to The china News Agency, gangsters have cut of as many as 1.5 million fingers.