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iPhone 5: Why I Won’t Be Buying You

Ardjuna Seghers by

iPhone 5: Why I Won’t Be Buying You

Let me just make something clear before getting into the meat of this piece: I’m not an Apple hater. I recently reviewed the MacBook Pro with Retina and gave it a 9/10 for being a stunning piece of engineering with an unmatched screen. What I do hate is devices being crippled – not because they can’t handle things, but so that their manufacturer can control what you do and how you do it with your hardware. Viz, the iPad and iPhone 4S.

Want to know everything we do about the iPhone 5? Read our iPhone 5 preview, or for all the latest stories as they happen there's our iPhone 5 roundup

iOS, a love-hate thing

Now don’t get me wrong, I own an iPad 2. And I dislike it. That’s fine; I knew I would before I bought it. The reason I got it despite that was for some of the exclusive apps, digital magazines and games it still commands, the exclusive third-party accessories you can get for it, and to experience a bit of the iOS dark side out of pure professional interest - for all of which, a second-hand, previous-gen iPad didn’t set me back too much.

However, one gadget that definitely won’t be finding its way onto my shopping list is the iPhone 5. It will still have some exclusive apps, no doubt, but with Android holding over 50 percent of the smartphone market (compared to a far lower number for tablets) it’s unlikely to be to the same extent. And apart from some nifty battery cases, I’m not sure I would be as interested in the third-party peripherals.

There’s only one iPhone 5

So what’s wrong with the iPhone 5? To begin with my least strenuous objections, there is no choice. There’s only one iPhone 5, and if you dislike its physical size, feel, resolution or features, tough. Android handsets, on the other hand, come in all shapes and sizes.

Admittedly, with Apple likely increasing the iPhone 5’s screen to four inches, the size is now a nice balance between being large enough for easy viewing yet small enough to hold comfortably in one hand. Also, the resolution won’t be much of an issue as Retina displays are sure to give you more pixels than your eyes can handle anyway.

The back, it would appear, is no longer slippery, glossy, smash-prone and sharp-edged glass either, which made the iPhone 4 so uncomfortable to hold without a case or bumper. And it’s likely to be one of the more powerful mobile phones around on the spec side of things.

So far, I could live with just one choice…

Paying the Storage Premium

However, a more serious issue for me is the lack of expandable memory and straightforward connectivity (it’s one shared by some Android handsets too, but that’s why I wouldn’t buy those either). I’m a gamer at heart, and many mobile games these days require hundreds of megabytes – or even over a gigabyte - of space. I don’t want to juggle games in and out of local memory to save space, and that’s not even talking about my music or video collections.

Streaming everything’s all well and good, but mobile data costs money and is rarely unlimited – plus I currently live in a specific, tiny part of London where there’s almost no 3G reception (at least on my current network).

With a decent Android handset like the Samsung Galaxy S3, you can simply plug in a 64GB microSD card and voila, storage galore. With the iPhone 5, we’ll no doubt have to pay a ridiculous premium to get more storage, and even so the maximum will be less than what an expandable Android phone can manage. Heck, even Windows Phone 8 will allow expandable memory, leaving iOS – and through association the iPhone 5 – as the only killjoy at the party.

As long as it’s Apple…

Then there’s transfer of content. I want to be able to plug in a USB stick or even external hard drive (using a cheap adapter) and transfer some files across to my phone. I don’t want to have to upload these to an online system like iTunes, after converting them into a file format that iTunes will accept.

Customisation (or lack thereof) is yet another of those niggles I would have with Apple’s latest iPhone. Unless you’re willing to jailbreak, there’s not an awful lot you can alter about the standard iOS look and feel. And it’s not just the interface; Android lets you change everything from the type of virtual keyboard you want to use to the sound a key makes when it’s pressed. Of course, you might be perfectly happy using Apple’s rather good option, but it’s the principle of the thing. My device, my way.

iPhone 5: The Tale of No Stylus

I realise this is something of a niche reason, but as an artist, the lack of a pressure sensitive pen is yet another minus that’s pulling me away from the iPhone 5. Admittedly, the Samsung Galaxy Note (or its hotly anticipated sequel, the Galaxy Note 2) with its Wacom-based S-pen is the only choice that does offer this so far…

Cheering the Android Underdog

And perhaps this is getting a little geeky but despite coming from Google, a multi-billion dollar corporation, Android still retains that underdog feel - not least through the way it, or rather the possibilities and freedom it allows, are perceived by the industry. Until I see the Humble Indie Bundle on iOS, Android gets my vote every time, despite a higher risk of ‘dodgy’ apps.

Paying the Apple Premium

Finally and most crucially, there’s cost. When the iPhone 4S and its predecessors launched, they cost half a grand. Nearly a year later, it’s still £499 to get your mitts an iPhone 4S outside of a contract, and there’s little reason to suspect the iPhone 5 will be any cheaper. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S3 darling of the Android world, with far more under its hood, can be had for as little as £430 only a few months after its release.

All that together with a few other niggles like your non-removable battery, dear iPhone 5, is why I probably won’t be buying you as my next phone – much as your doubtlessly huge app selection, great voice control implementation (yes, Siri), gorgeous screen, and battery-life-expanding third-party cases will appeal to me.

Go to comments

Glenn Gore

August 11, 2012, 3:38 pm

<p>I didn't know the iPhone has sharp-edged glass on it. My iPhone 4S certainly have this characteristic, the glass has nicely rounded edges and feels very good in the hand.</p><p>This author simply is not a member of the target market for the iPhone. If you like to get a new phone and then change every single little bit about how the software looks, operates, does things, and displays things, then the iPhone is not for you. I am quite happy with the way the device works and looks out of the box, so that's fine for me, if it is not for this author, that is fine as well, to each his own. That does not make one ecosystem any better or worse than the other, it just gives consumers a choice.</p>


August 11, 2012, 4:33 pm

<p>Errrrrr......thanks for letting us know you won't be buying an iPhone5. I'm sure we will all sleep a little better now for knowing that ;-)</p>


August 11, 2012, 5:09 pm

<p>An interesting article Ardjuna. While I agree with some of what you have said, I believe that the iphone 5 will probably be my first foray into the iphone world. I currently use a Galaxy SII which is a good phone. However, I find that it has a poor build, call quality, and software glitches when compared to the iphone 4 and 4S, both of which I have handled and played with. And if I am honest, even with my previous phone which was a HTC Desire.</p><p>I have seen the Galaxy SIII and it looks amazing, but feels very flimsy. I want something with a premium look and heft. Added to which my Nano is nearing the end of its lifespan and the iphone would be an easy way to negate the need for an upgrade. All of this depends of course on the quality of the final product. Specifically the quality of the camera, as I use my phone for all casual pictures, the processor, as I wouldn't like to commit to a new device that is less powerful than phones released months ago, and of course that most overlooked aspect...call quality.</p>


August 11, 2012, 5:52 pm

<p>Seriously? This is a serious article posted by a supposedly 'serious' Tech news website?</p><p>Come on guys, I expect better than this dross from you than an article re-duplicating the long-lasting arguments for Android over Apple. This article has basically nothing to do with the iPhone 5.</p><p>I come on this site less and less and I'll be sure to make it even less frequent from now on....</p>


August 11, 2012, 8:10 pm

<p>Yet more fresh air from an iPhone fan that's finally got to see why Android is the way forward -</p><p>And Liked it! ;-)</p><p>I have converted so many Apple Fan-boys to ANDROID in the past few years - Google should send me a free Nexus 7 lol</p>


August 12, 2012, 2:51 am

<p>Your piece absolutely convinces me you should stick to android. You simply don't get what Apple is about. As the recent Steve Jobs biography explained so well it is about absolute end to end control of the user experience. No one is allowed to mess this up - plugging in extra memory or messing with the devices interface just won't ever happen in a closed highly controlled Apple environment. And nor should it. If you want a seamless, virus free, just working environment then you buy that outstanding experience from Apple. If you prefer a 'variable' interface with numerous differences between devices and can live with an app store full of malware then buy Android and you will have all the opportunity in the world to play to your hearts content. Ultimately it is a choice of philosophy - open or closed - as Gordon Kelly's recent article on TR 'Convergence now means picking a side' acknowledged. We should recognise these fundamentally different positions and stop wishing for either side to launch features which change this. Apple will never produce a phone with a stylus or add a slot for a memory card.</p>

Ala Miah

August 12, 2012, 3:03 am

<p>For me its only this bit:</p><p>"Then there's transfer of content. I want to be able to plug in a USB stick or even external hard drive (using a cheap adapter) and transfer some files across to my phone. I don't want to have to upload these to an online system like iTunes, after converting them into a file format that iTunes will accept. "</p><p>If anyone knows a way around this (without JB if possible) then would be great but until then android it is.</p>


August 12, 2012, 5:26 pm

<p>Wow it hasn't even been officially announced... what a rubbish article!</p>


August 13, 2012, 5:25 am

<p>Although I agree with the points I don't quite see the point of this article; none of this is new.</p><p>I wonder if this and the "Only Apple should be allowed to use rectangles" article are comment-bait. Is this a new editorial policy?</p>

Don Kanonjii

August 13, 2012, 12:10 pm

<p>I couldnt agree more! the iOS devices are great bits of kit there is no doubt. I own an iPhone 4S and my wife an iPhone 4. I can safely say that for me, i will be going back to Android ASAP.</p><p>The reasons? I think the author said it all really, the devices are great, it has the better apps on the whole along with third party developer support BUT, BUT, BUT. it should be My phone, MY way! If i want to put my mp3's, video's or whatever files i want on my devices I should be able to. Not only is the whole apple eco-system VERY restrictive but also iTunes has to be one of the poorest and most un-intuitive applications to use ever created and that is saying a lot considering the iOS is very easy to use (if you ignore how restrictive it is.</p><p>To the person who said the Galaxy S3 feels flimsy, i have to disagree. My brother has just got one and i would say it feels better in the hand. Yes it feels lighter and has plastic backing but flimsy? No... I wouls swap my iphone 4S in a heartbeat for it. The only dissapointment i would have would be the loss of my apps.</p>

Don Kanonjii

August 13, 2012, 12:18 pm

<p>On top of my previous comment, Apple are just plain greedy. Their Pricing is literally criminal.</p>

Don Kanonjii

August 13, 2012, 12:20 pm

<p>Oh and if Google is to succeed even more, the fragmented nature of the android software across devices needs to be addressed SERIOUSLY. Google needs to put its foot down and force service providers and manufacturers to make available the latest software for ALL CAPABLE DEVICES without modification.</p><p>Last post...scouts honour.</p>


August 13, 2012, 3:55 pm

<p>Thanks for the article, it all makes sense now. Mr Seghers is an artist! All this time I thought he had actual technical qualifications. Maybe this can be stated right at the top of his articles so no one is mislead.</p><p>So when he states - almost making it sound like he does it himself - that one can stick a microSD card into a Galaxy S3 and "voila" get space for apps he's not being intentionally deceiving- he just doesn't know any better. (hint: You always only get around 11GB free for apps on the S3, no matter what card you put in, due to the internal partitioning - and no, the app2sd style solutions don't really work properly on the S3)</p><p>Of course he also wouldn't know either that you can use any "online service" (Dropbox, <a href="http://Box.net" rel="nofollow">Box.net</a>, Google Drive,...) on the iPhone with any kind of files, not jut iTunes. Or sync files to it via USB and iExplorer.</p><p>Now, from experience I know TR doesn't really care about looking like FoolsReviews as long as they get the hits, but at some point you have to consider this also reflects poorly on IPC Media and your advertisers.</p><p>Just about the only thing real in this article is that HTC clock is running quite late. Again not a great sign of a Trust-worthy publication.</p>


August 13, 2012, 5:18 pm

<p>The iOS v Android debate is as unlikely to be settled as the do you or don't you like Marmite.</p><p>In general people who by an iPhone want it to work out of the box and aren't particularly interested in tweaking every tweak. They will download some apps, play games and listen to their music.</p><p>Android user generally do the same but they are more likely to want to tweak all the tweaks and are more likely to root their devices.</p><p>The main reason why I will never buy an iPhone is due to the lack of a 'back' button. And the lack of access to the battery. And no expandable storage. And the closed design.</p>


August 13, 2012, 5:21 pm

<p>"app store full of malware".</p><p>This is simply not true, and a clear indicator that you have never really experienced Android phone ownership. According to my google Play account, I have installed (although not necessarily kept) around 300 apps. I have never been particularly fussy about pre-vetting any of them, and I normally just click through the bit where you see what permissions are required, and you know what? I haven't knowingly installed a single piece of malware.</p><p>I know Android has a reputation for malware, but IMO it comes mainly from those companies who would gain commercially from casting such aspersions.</p><p>Also, whilst I agree with the thrust of your comment, that the author is better suited to the Android system, there's no need to have that slightly superior and condescending tone when you say so. I'm pretty sure that despite what you say, Ardjuna does indeed "get what Apple is about". However, the whole point of his article is that the compromises he would have to make to get the best out of the Apple eco-system, are, for him, not worth it. No aspersions were cast upon you, as an Apple user. Please lets have some respect going the other way, too.</p>

James Reckitt

August 14, 2012, 1:04 am

<p>The reason I won't be getting an iPhone 5: Google Now.</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:22 pm

<p>It's not 'cutting' sharp, but depending on how you hold it can be uncomfortable. I've talked to actual iphone owners who found the same.</p><p>Indeed, wasn't suggesting anyone else shouldn't get one! :)</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:23 pm

<p>You're welcome :D</p><p>It's meant to be a bit informative for first-time buyers as to the limitations involved too.</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:25 pm

<p>Thanks shnatiw, glad you liked it.</p><p>I agree about Android phones still suffering the occasional glitch, but that's a disadvantage I can live with. I know what you mean about the flimsy feel too - though a 'barely there' case transformed my original Galaxy S into a great-feeling device!</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:33 pm

<p>Hi Kempez, very sorry this article failed to engage you.</p><p>It's merely a fairly light-hearted piece that's meant to illustrate the limits iPhone 5 will still have in what is, after all, its fifth generation. I also mention points that it finally gets right, like screen-size.</p><p>Hope you'll still come to visit on occasion for our comprehensive reviews if nothing else...</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:35 pm

<p>Me, an iPhone fan? I have never been and, for the reasons mentioned in the article, will likely never be, an iPhone fan.</p><p>Please to keep such insults to yourself Sir ;-)</p><p>Seriously though, glad you liked the piece :)</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:37 pm

<p>What @Bluepork said :)</p>


August 14, 2012, 3:40 pm

<p>It's new only in that it applies to the iPhone 5. There has been some progress: for example, screen size was an issue for me before, but now it's big enough, and specs will likely be good enough too.</p><p>Nope, not a new policy. RE comment bait, eetz vorking, ja? :)</p>


August 14, 2012, 4:17 pm

<p>Yes, because no-one could be an artist and have technical qualifications, just like there are no scientists out there who also write SF novels...</p><p>And you may wish to read the article again. I do not say "get space for apps", I say "plug in a microSD card and get storage galore". Ever hear of things called music and video?</p><p>RE online/3rd party services, yes of course, there are ways around the limitations - including JB. That doesn't mean the OS' primary file system isn't horribly confining to work with, and see my comment on bandwidth for the online services you mention.</p><p>Appreciate the feedback, but maybe you could make it a little less of a personal attack and more genuine criticism next time?</p>


August 14, 2012, 7:06 pm

<p>I handled a Galaxy S3 and while flimsy may be an exaggeration, it definitely feels more lightweight than my SII. I dislike using my phone outside of its case because it feels very vulnerable due its lightness. And using the SII inside my case is touch and go, as far as call quality and touchscreen responsiveness goes. Although as my case incorporates a magnet this is likely having some effect. I personally would appreciate a phone with a metal/alloy backplate\frame. The extra weight would not be hugely substantial and would give a more premium feel. IMHO.</p>

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