Why the iPhone 5S Delivered

I’m going to say something that I never want to say about Apple products, but must say for this one:

The iPhone 5 was a failure.

It wasn’t a colossal failure. It still sold a heck of a lot of units. It had some improvements from the 4S. But it was the first ever thing from Apple that I was like “pfft, I don’t want that. There’s nothing new”. (And yes, that even includes that ridiculous Apple iPod Hi-Fi thingie).

Think about it for a moment. The iPhone 4 to 4S was a major step because the camera was much better improved and there was support for Siri (let’s ignore the fact that you could hack Siri on to an iPhone 4 if you really wanted to). Battery life was also somewhat improved on it.

iPhone 3G to 3GS wasn’t that much of an improvement but there were still good processor and graphics upgrades and, more importantly, the 3GS was able to maintain relevance all the way until now with iOS 7 (not supported on iPhone 3GS). In addition, the iPhone 3GS had a 3.2 MP camera with AutoFocus and zoom; the iPhone 3G had no such thing.

But the iPhone 5? Same MP camera and “faster shooting” (the faster shooting honestly could’ve been somewhat overcome by using a third-party app). Apparently there was better low-light photo taking, but obviously not good enough if the new iPhone 5S keeps touting that True Tone Dual LED flash (I’ll get to that in a sec.).

More RAM and processor speed with the iPhone 5 did happen but we EXPECT that to happen. And the screen? Cool, 4″, that’s great. Screen size should never be one of your most touted features unless we’re talking 5+”. It was also skinnier than the 4S. woo hoo. Oh and it had LTE. OK, cool, but expected (just like how people were clamoring and shouting for 3G on the original iPhone).

Enough history talk though, the 5S…even if we knew basically all the details with all the leaks that came out, I still came out feeling somewhat impressed. Here’s why:

  • New color options: finally. That might seem superficial to you and that’s correct. But we’re all human and therefore we care about superficial crap. I hate the Samsung Galaxy S4 because it looks like a piece of crap. I could get a 3D printer and within a week do better than that plastic piece of junk. The HTC One and Xperia Z are great examples of quality Android phones though. But anyway, colors. Not the whole black/white thing anymore, but rather two-toned, fresh exteriors. Good start.
  • That Camera. OK, so yes it has the same number of megapixels. But remember, megapixels are just one component of a camera. This time, though, the sensor is actually bigger and the aperture better as well. (And apparently there were complaints on the camera in the iPhone 5 about purplish photos). In addition, there are some REALLY COOL FEATURES only present on the iPhone 5S (intelligent burst mode, slow-mo video IN 720P, etc.). I don’t think people are harping enough about the 120 fps at 720p…that’s something that not even the Canon Powershot S110 (their high-end compact camera) can do (120 fps @ 480p). OK, so there’s probably going to be a lot of artifacting/compression, BUT it’s still a major feat. True Tone flash? Not exactly completely unique (other Androids have done it before), but the interpretation of it is still very cool. My iPhone 4S is my most often-used camera now (and I own a Canon S90…and I like good pictures), but the 5S will probably make my S90 TRULY obsolete.
  • Touch ID. I had forgotten that the Motorola Atrix had this feature…and, well, the Atrix didn’t do so hot. But the point is that Apple seems to have done it right, or at least done better with this than Siri or Apple Maps. The most important thing here, though, is that it seems to be the stepping stone for “something else” (hint: TouchID identification for purchases on iTunes). The interface is pretty cool and it seems very easy to use
  • The Specs. Most people who care about cell phone specs don’t have iPhones, and fair enough. It’s not that Apple’s specs are horrible, they’re just not the highest end specs in the world (no, we don’t have to say “Apples v. oranges” here, like when Apple was still using PowerPC vs. Intel). But not this time. Name me an Android phone with a 64-bit processor. You can’t. Now you could argue Samsung has their octa-core S4. But more cores that are still 32-bit. To the average consumer (including myself), this doesn’t mean a heck of a lot…until you realize what kind of apps and things you can truly do.

So should you get the iPhone 5S? If you’re a 4S user, heck yes. It only gets better. An iPhone 5 user? It still sort of depends. But the leap is enough to make you wanting more…heck it’s better than the jump from 4 to 4S, that’s for sure.

And will you see me in line for one? Yes. Depending on whether or not, you know, I can actually get in a line in time.

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