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04 October 2023

Nine reasons not to buy Apple's new iPhone 5 just yet

By Vicky Kapur

Apple’s invites for the September 12 event leave little doubt that the Cupertino-based tech titan will be unveiling its new iPhone 5 (it may yet surprise us by calling it something else) in three days from now.

So if the unveiling is on the 12th, the handset ought to be in our hands (pun unintended) in another 10 days from then – September 21 has been rumoured as the ‘in-store’ date, and we don’t have very many reasons to dispute that timeline.

A note here – Apple might call its latest smartphone the new iPhone, or the iPhone 5 – so we are calling it the ‘new iPhone 5’ just to eliminate any confusion.

Going by the anticipation that the new iPhone 5 is generating among Apple’s ardent fans and fervid foes (and of course among the many, many fence-sitters), it is arguably the most-awaited smartphone in history.

For proof, just ‘Google’ the words “iPhone 5” (within quote-marks) and you’ll find a cool 170 million search results. By comparison, Samsung’s hot-selling (i.e., already launched) “Galaxy S3” (again, within quote-marks) throws up 120 million search results.

Of course, it isn’t a fair apples-to-Apple comparison – the iPhone 5 is yet to be released and, given Apple’s hype-creating ability and marketing muscle, it is responsible for a cottage industry of rumours. But then, Samsung kind of has the edge with the S3 given that it is already launched and, therefore, will have plenty of “customers” searching for applications and stuff online.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that it is the most eagerly anticipated device in history and may well go on to become the hottest selling product of this century (so far), there may be reasons (a handful, actually) to hold off on getting your paws on the new phone. Without further ado, here they are:

1. The (smoke)screen: Leaked images and rumours suggest a taller 4-inch screen for the new iPhone 5 – but not a wider one. Now, one look at other new-gen smartphone screens will show that they are steadily getting larger – while Apple’s have stayed with a display that measures 3.5-inches. For a reason. The hundreds of thousands apps designed for the iPhone are tailored to that dimension. When the screen size changes, with that will need to change the apps to match the revised playing field (screen size). If the designers of those apps can’t change the size fast enough to meet the new 16:9 aspect ratio, there will be black lines above and below the screen to cover up the extra space – not too different from the cinemascope effect that we see on movies not shot with that aspect ratio.

2. Siri sucks… battery life, that is. And it doesn’t get me – it works both ways, actually, for, I don’t get Siri either. Having an ‘intelligent’ assistant is real treat, but then Siri isn’t as intelligent here in the UAE as you’d want it to be. Perhaps it’s uber-cool in the US and elsewhere where Apple has its tentacles fairly well spread. In the UAE, though, it is as useful as a raincoat. Besides, Siri-devi doesn’t get my Indian accent that well, and I have to repeat my questions a fair number of times for it to ‘get’ me. In addition, Siri drains battery life like there’s no tomorrow – granted, the new iPhone 5 will have better battery, but the fact that it drains the meagre monthly Internet usage allowance that my provider affords me in Dh249 – am not sure I’d like to increase it to the unlimited pack only to find Siri taking mega-bytes out of it.

3. iTunes content isn’t yours: We’ve covered this before when it emerged that Bruce AlMighty was considering suing Apple for not allowing him to bequeath his huge iTunes collection to his three daughters. Read about it here if you haven’t yet.

4. Yapping about apps: There’s no easier way of saying this, so here goes: Android has more free apps than iOS. There, I said it. With a platform that, by definition, is open, Android does offer the opportunity to many more developers to showcase their mettle for free, while Apple, with its comparatively restricted iOS platform, offers less stuff for free. While Apple did seem to have the first-mover advantage in apps with its earlier devices, it might be losing that edge and apps may not be a differentiator today while tomorrow, the ap-pendulum may swing in Android’s favour.

5. Money matters: It does to me. Am sure it does to you too. The top-of-the-range Blackberry or Android handset still costs less than what Apple will charge for the new iPhone 5.

6. Same old connectivity: Remember Apple had to apologise and offer refunds to iPad customers in Australia and the UK, among other countries, because of its false promise of worldwide 4G connectivity? While the promised 4G LTE in the new iPhone 5 should work wonderfully in some countries, us in the UAE (and many other countries) may have to do without this supersonic connectivity until our network providers upgrade. Because US networks use different frequencies for 4G, the new iPhone 5 will definitely not support 4G speeds in many places around the world, even if rumours about it supporting 4G LTE turn out to be indeed true.

7. It’ll bug you no end: Whenever Apple makes the ‘quantum’ leap with its devices – the iPhone 4 or the new iPad, it carries an unusual does of bugs with it. Early Apple converts will remember the iPhone 4’s antennagate  scandal, and the new iPad’s 11 bugs as reported by Emirates247.com. While Apple doled out free cases to fix the external antenna problem in the iPhone 4 and eventually fixed the bug in the iPhone 4S launched last year, who knows what the new iPhone 5 might be infected with. Better late than sorry.

8. So long, connector: The good ’ol Apple dock connector – ubiquitous as it is – will have to make space for a much smaller connector in the case of the slimmer new iPhone 5 – which means that the new device will not connect to older generation Apple devices such as the iPod and the iPad. Frustrating, to say the least.

9. iPhone 6 is 'round the corner: What do you mean by 'I don't think so'? The iPhone 4S was launched a year ago, and sold like nothing else had ever before. Now, we have the iPhone 5 coming, promising to beat the record set by the 4S. And you think the smart folks at Apple will let the milch-cow relax in the meadows? Bet you that the next iteration of the smartphone will be out before the end of next year. Can you do with your current phone and wait until then?

Okay, that’s what we think right now – a few days before the launch of the new iPhone 5. Come D-Day, and we’ll keep you posted on why (or why not) it’s still a good idea to ditch the new iPhone 5. Watch this space, and tell us what you think of our reasons in comments below.


Apple’s new iPhone5 to hit UAE this month; Price range between Dh2,500 and Dh3,500

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