Analysis: Should you buy the new iPhone 5?

Sep 16, 2012 by Salvador Rodriguez
The iPhone 5.

After months of speculation and rumors that often precede new Apple products, the iPhone 5 has arrived. And with pre-orders set to begin Friday, the question is: Should you buy one?

It depends.

The 5 is an improvement over its immediate predecessor, the iPhone 4S, with the new sporting a bigger screen and faster processor. But the iPhone brand, which revolutionized when it debuted in 2007, is no longer the unchallenged technological leader.

Other smartphones have screens bigger than the iPhone 5's, and with the same if not better quality.

And although Apple fans will welcome the fact that the iPhone 5 has 4G LTE connectivity, that's been available on phones using 's Android mobile for a couple of years.

That isn't to say that the iPhone 5 won't turn out to be a great - the others in the line have been sophisticated marvels. It's just that the iPhone 5 is not a huge leap forward, and the line now has significant competition.

Which leads back to the original question: Should you get one?

You should, if ...

-You already own an iPhone. In that case, you've probably bought a bunch of apps and other items that will easily transfer to the new device.

-You own a bunch of Apple products. If there's one thing at which Apple is still the best, it's building an ecosystem. No other company has developed a technological environment that lets you jump from laptop to phone to tablet the way Apple has with its Mac, and iPhone.

-You want the best operating system. Google's Android has gotten a lot better recently, but Apple's iOS is still the best.

-You want style points. The iPhone is still the most stylish phone.

You shouldn't buy the iPhone 5 if ...

-You want to save money. There are other phones available that are cheaper than the iPhone 5 with the same and similar features. The One X, one of the best Android models, costs half the price of the iPhone 5.

-You want the biggest screen. The iPhone 5's 4-inch looks very nice, but other phones have screens larger than 4.5 inches. Samsung's Galaxy Note phone has a screen that's more than 5 inches.

-You want the most technologically advanced phone. The sports Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, but other phones have longer-lasting batteries and more features, such as near-field communication, which allows devices to exchange data when in proximity.

-You own a non-Apple tablet computer. If you have a tablet that uses the system - or if you plan to buy one of the upcoming Windows 8 tablets, such as Microsoft's Surface - you should get a smartphone that runs the same operating system. That way, you can more easily share data and apps.

One other note: If you recently bought the iPhone 4S, you may still be able to return it.

Some major companies that sell the phone - including AT&T, Target, Best Buy, Virgin Mobile and itself - give you at least 30 days to return the phone, as long as it's undamaged, in its box and has all its accessories. Other companies, such as Verizon, Sprint and RadioShack, give you 14 days, while Wal-Mart will match the return policy of the carrier you chose for the phone.

Explore further: BlackBerry sets new phone launch in revival bid

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User comments : 30

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Nexus789
4.3 / 5 (9) Sep 16, 2012
Apple is now a follower not a leader.
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2012
Do you have so much money that you can throw away $500 without any repercussions? Do you care more about being trendy and owning the newest and greatest toys than you do about your fellow humans? Then sure, buy the new iPhone 5... all of the starving homeless people you pass on the street will think you're so cool!
VendicarD
2.8 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2012
I really don't get all of this objection to CrApple products on the basis of price.

The people who purchase them are of course fools, but I don't blame Apple for that.

The iPhone is a silly fad, like any other, and foolish fanboies will do what fanboies will always do.

There are vastly more important things in the world to whine about.
FMA
3 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2012
Apple is a fully closed system, I supply open source.
kochevnik
4 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2012
Apple is a fully closed system, I supply open source.

Untrue their IOS is a patched version of BSD. They are sponsoring the clang compiler as a substitute for the GNU gcc compiler. You can argue that these projects are not forwarding the computer arts the way that, say hadoop or tor or Virtualbox do. They are moving sideways and forking open source projects into one or the other camps. That said gcc is old and a realtime compiler like clang is overdue.

I agree though that Apple arrogance is still evident, but they're starting fires elsewhere at the moment.
Anda
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 17, 2012
I won't buy it. My 4S's allright. Steve's dead, so is fucking apple
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (9) Sep 17, 2012
is no longer the unchallenged technological leader.


When was Apple ever a technological leader? Everything they have has been lifted out of someone else's portfolio and then put through the media spin cycle to plain and simply lie that they did it first.

I recently heard a claim that Apple brought apps to smartphones. What happened to the thousands of free apps you could download for Symbian S60 and Blackberry just by googling for them, several years before anyone even knew about the iPhone? The reason why there were no appstores for the earlier smartphones was that they didn't need one.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (55) Sep 17, 2012
Apple is now a follower not a leader.


This is correct given the iPhone 5, ...after five years, the anti-Apple-fad girls are finally right.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Sep 17, 2012
Should you buy the new iPhone 5?

No. Why 'should' anyone buy anything? Buy it if you need it. Buy it if you want it. But I hardly think that something as ephemeral as a smartphone are on the 'should' have list.

You should, if ...
-You already own an iPhone. In that case, you've probably bought a bunch of apps and other items that will easily transfer to the new device.
...
- You own a bunch of Apple products.

Erm... If you have something that works - how exactly does that translate to a 'should buy' to something that lets you run and do the same stuff? Where exactly is the benefit that is worth shelling out the dollars?

Which just leaves:
-You want style points.

Basically saying: "Yeah: i spend a lot of money on overpriced, overhyped junk hardware"
If that's the 'style' message you want to send then by all means: Apple is your go-to company
SatanLover
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2012
why should you support a company that uses cheap wage slaves and pays no taxes?
Noumenon
4.1 / 5 (58) Sep 17, 2012
Basically saying: "Yeah: i spend a lot of money on overpriced, overhyped junk hardware"


Apple hardware is "junk"? And you want to be taken seriously?
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (55) Sep 17, 2012
why should you support a company that uses cheap wage slaves and pays no taxes?


If you want a smart phone, you have no choice. Only naive twit would think that Apple is any different than other phones manufactures in that regard.

Those cheap wage slaves want and need those jobs. If those wages were much higher, there wouldn't be a smart phone market on such a mass scale, period.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2012
Those cheap wage slaves want and need those jobs. If those wages were much higher, there wouldn't be a smart phone market on such a mass scale, period.
Apple keeps over half the sale price as profit. It's a slavery sweatshop in the American tradition.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (52) Sep 17, 2012
Those cheap wage slaves want and need those jobs. If those wages were much higher, there wouldn't be a smart phone market on such a mass scale, period.
Apple keeps over half the sale price as profit. It's a slavery sweatshop in the American tradition.


You being Russian, it would be pointless for me to educate you on the difference between "gross profit margin" and "net profit margin".
Noumenon
4.1 / 5 (56) Sep 17, 2012
Those cheap wage slaves want and need those jobs. If those wages were much higher, there wouldn't be a smart phone market on such a mass scale, period.
Apple keeps over half the sale price as profit. It's a slavery sweatshop in the American tradition.


Your bed-wetting anti-capitalist / activist mentality is not relevant in the real world. Do you really think that Samsung is declining to have a 20% net profit margin out of emotional "goodness"?! They would love to double their profit margin, and are in trying.

You should be glad that Apple is making products that employ those people. Increasing wages results in more expensive phones which in turn causes sales to drop which in turn causes reduced employment.
PaxAeterna
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2012
I don't get all the panty wetting over Apple products. They aren't better in most cases than the alternatives and cost significantly more. I can't tell whether it's more pathetic to defend apple or tear them down. Both sides are dumb as hell.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2012
Apple hardware is "junk"? And you want to be taken seriously?

Have you ever seen a teardown of their products? Go to the web, there are plenty of sites that take Apple products apart and show you what kind of junk they put in there. It's triple overpriced, from what other vendors charge for the EXACT SAME hardware. (If other vendors would dare to put such outdated hardware up for sale at all)
Apple doesn't manufacture most of the hardware they sell. they buy that stuff like anyone else from electronics manufacturers.

Example? On their site Apple currently charges 499 dollars for a 3TB harddrive (Apple does not manufacture the hardware for harddrives). You can get the same 3TB drive from any store for under 150 dollars.

If you have a different word for this than 'ripoff' then I'm interested to hear it.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (54) Sep 18, 2012
Those people who tear down those iPhones are no-nothing's like the typical emotionally driven "occupy wall street" bed-wetting activists.

Their supposed purpose is to show that it doesn't cost alot to assemble an iPhone compared to its retail price. The problem is that they're far to ignorant to account for the costs. For example, Apple designs much of their own hardware, like the processor. This is enormous design and R&D costs, while other phone makers buy off the shelf. In additition they develop their own OS, while other phone makers get it for nothing, ...more design costs for Apple.

The idea that their hardware is "junk" makes no rational sense either. Hardware is hardware, the manufacture of which is based on the technology to do so on a mass scale. What did these dip-sticks expect to see when they opened the case? I don't hear of many Apple product failures, which is the real measure of quality design.

I bet you own several things which you could have bought cheaper.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2012
You being Russian, it would be pointless for me to educate you on the difference between "gross profit margin" and "net profit margin".
My account can probably run circles around yours and look much better while doing so.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (51) Sep 18, 2012
It's triple overpriced, from what other vendors charge for the EXACT SAME hardware.


The facts don't back up your hysteria. The iPhone 5 will cost $649 without a contract. The Samsung S3, when it came out, cost $699 without a contract. The carriers may want more up front for the iPhone, but all phones with contract are being paid for monthly.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (52) Sep 18, 2012
You being Russian, it would be pointless for me to educate you on the difference between "gross profit margin" and "net profit margin".
My account can probably run circles around yours and look much better while doing so.


Wild meaningless speculation, and doubtful. Even if that were so by a significant margin, I most likely live better quality of life, based in where I reside.

I think the original point was that you are incorrect that Apple's profit is over half of its retail price, ...which is factually incorrect "Internet knowledge".
evropej
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2012
I dont like apple but the truth is I own an iPhone. To the people saying that the phone is outdated, show me a phone which has a high resolution screen, accurate touch sensitivity, consistent response, application stability, ready to go out of the box, long battery life, browse while talking, good camera back and front, practical size and shape, resale value, stylish all in one package and then you have the right to say that there is competition let alone down play the phone. PS the phone costs me the same as those other competitors as well.
ValeriaT
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2012
You shouldn't buy the iPhone 5 if You want to save money
It doesn't apply to Americans, who are like the small kids and who need every toy at the market at any price, particularly because the ownership of iPhone belongs into indicators of social status for many Americans.
Darktitan
3 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2012

Apple is a fully closed system, I supply open source.

Untrue their IOS is a patched version of BSD.


I totally agree with you on this one, BSD (which is basically Linux) is actually open source and for crApple to take it, modify it, call it their own then close the source hinders their software development, it is for this reason alone that "free" open source projects such as Android which you can update on whatever device running Linux kernel will always be one step ahead of any other phone/tablet OS.

So when it come to software, both apple and samsung can't really claim it's their own because if it wasn't for many freelance linux coders neither OS' would exist.
Darktitan
3 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2012
I dont like apple but the truth is I own an iPhone. To the people saying that the phone is outdated, show me a phone which has a high resolution screen, accurate touch sensitivity, consistent response, application stability, ready to go out of the box, long battery life, browse while talking, good camera back and front, practical size and shape, resale value, stylish all in one package and then you have the right to say that there is competition let alone down play the phone. PS the phone costs me the same as those other competitors as well.


And as for the superior quality of iphones, you mustn't get out much or socialize with anyone out side of your fanboy group as I've known plenty of people with iphones who have constantly complained to me not only about Wifi connectivity issues, but loss of call reception (even in areas where other phone users have PERFECT reception), low battery life and the need to charge it sooner than most other phones/smartphones (newer and older).
Darktitan
3 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2012
In all honesty the camera resolution still lacks and isn't anything special in regards to modern smartphone standards & the apps from apple aren't any more stable than those on the android market, even the old Symbian s60 apps are often surprisingly more stable.

All phones are ready to go out of the box just some phones aren't designed for kids, therefore if you can't navigate on other devices "out of the box" then simply stick with apple, more "simple" OS.
As for multitasking, that's been around for so long on most platforms that it's laughable that anyone would regard an apple device as a flagship device for such technology.

But the most hilarious thing about apple devices is that regardless of how many times they attempt to improve their hardware, it's usually still the same old cr*p under the hood and the screens are just as fragile as the last whereas other companies' devices will resist greater impacts.
Youtube apple vs x droptest and I'm certain you will see obvious results.
evropej
1 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2012
Anyone who mentions the word linux or kernel is not aware of the 95% market share and the users who drive that demand. I like linux but I am also aware that most people can care less on whats under the hood, they just want to use the apps on the phone. For the people who tell me that apple has horrible display and battery life, please base it on some facts. The service is bad on the iPhone with ATT but I think thats due to ATT and partly to the iPhone. The speakers also suck on the iPhone 4 but these are minor compared to cheap plastic cases, over sized displays, battery hogs with crashing apps. You can hate apple and so do I but the fact is that the iPhone paved the way for the rest of these noobs to follow and they have a great product whether you want to admit it or not. Like I said, the iPhone cost me the same as other phones so its not some social status or expensive product. Awaiting more flaming...
Noumenon
4.2 / 5 (51) Sep 20, 2012
it's usually still the same old cr*p under the hood and the screens are just as fragile as the last whereas other companies' devices will resist greater impacts.


The Samesung galaxy s3 has a noticeably cheap flimsy plastic back , while the iPhone 5 has a metal back, and previous iterations had strong glass back.

"crap under the hood" is a vague and meaningless statement. Hardware is hardware, ...there is no Cadillac of hardware manufacturers . Apple designs their own processor and other components, and I don't hear of any hardware failures.
kaokao
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2012
Guys, China ganna have tragedy happen again.more people will sale their organs...........
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2012
Hardware is hardware, ...there is no Cadillac of hardware manufacturers

Very true, but there are those that sell a fiat punto at fiat punto prices and those that sell a fiat punto at rolls royce prices.
And one of the customer groups is stupid for shelling out triple of what the others are paying.