Ben wrote quite the controversial post Wednesday entitled ‘Opinion: Why I love the iPhone 5s, and why I’ll be sticking with my 4
Ss‘. 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.
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.
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.
Camera: 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.
Then there are the video recording tricks like Slo-mo and video stabilization. You’d pay a few bucks for that, right?
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?
There’s a lot to look forward to here and I’m happy to pay extra for the opportunity.
Trade-in: 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.
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.
Gold? 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.