So my new iPhone 5 has finally come. It’s not quite the model I was intending – I had ordered a black 16 GB model, but an order mix-up with 3 meant that I didn’t receive it as planned on Friday and after talking with a very nice person at customer services I ended up with a white 64 GB model, at no extra cost. I’d have preferred a black one, but I can’t argue with getting four times the space for the same price. I’ve saved in the region of £150 as a result.
Because I backed up my iPhone 4 to iCloud, when it came to setting up my iPhone 5 I just needed to connect to wi-fi, give it my iCloud login and tell it to restore from the cloud backup. This meant that all of my settings and apps would be automatically installed, just as they were on the old handset, which saved a huge amount of time getting the phone set up. It wasn’t totally smooth – stored passwords didn’t seem to copy, for example, and some apps like Pocket needed re-installing – but much better than starting from scratch. In particular, my progress on games such as Angry Birds was carried over, to my relief. Many of the apps I use regularly, like the aforementioned Tweetbot and Pocket, have been updated for the new larger display, but older apps do work okay. Apple did a good job of implementing the letterbox mode for these.
Physically the new phone is much nicer to hold – it’s noticeably lighter and thinner, and the edges don’t feel as sharp as they do on the iPhone 4. You can still use it easily with one hand too, unlike the wider screens on some Android phones which require you to change hands to reach far off corners of the display. The new Lightning connector is nice, although I’m a little less happy at the prospect of forking out £15 for an extra cable; plus, with 2 iPods and an iPhone 4 in our household we’ve no shortage of the old cables. I’ll also need to look into buying a case for the iPhone 5, as Apple haven’t released any bumpers for this model like they did for the 4 and 4S, nor do they sell any third party cases in Apple Stores, as Dave found out.
The new phone is much more responsive than my old one – apps work faster, especially Foursquare and Tweetbot. Support for HSPA+ also makes web pages download more quickly, and provides a small speed jump ahead of 3 rolling out 4G LTE services next year.
I’ve also had a play with Siri – I’m quite impressed that it understands almost everything I say (I have a northern accent) although it can’t always find data. I asked it about a local rugby league team, Bradford Bulls, and it interpreted it as the Chicago Bulls. For information about local places it uses Yelp, which is rather rubbish in the UK – searching for a nearby Nando’s found one in Leeds but not the two in Bradford which were much closer to me at the time.
All in all, I’m really impressed. Whilst it’s definitely an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary device, it’s a clear improvement over the iPhone 4.