iPhone 5- Reality sets in

Some waited two days outside stores for the new iPhone 5, with initial sales literally billions of dollarss Looks like Captain Picard didn’t defeat the Borg after all.

We might see a backlash with the iPhone 5. Maybe it’s too early to say, but so far, can’t say I’m that impressed. The new taller shape is harder to hold, it’s no easier for older eyes to read (would have preferred they went a bit wider, not taller), and nothing really jumps out at you as being cool.

A bit lighter, yes, but I’m also noticing battery life initially seems worse than the 4S. It renders web pages faster (but the 4S was pretty good). The new map option, that supposedly gives turn-by-turn directions? Doesn’t seem as intuitive as Google’s app, and if you really want to be disappointed, click on the “3D” button. Wow. Simulates the effect of tilting a map on its side. I’m guessing that some of my disappointment comes from features that are still works in progress, and some from not yet understanding all the cool stuff it can do.

Yet this gadget is going to continue to sell through the roof. Why?

What Apple’s been able to nail is the collective/community experience. Everyone’s got to have the same thing. You’re all in it together. It must be right if everyone else has it. And if everyone has it, everyone’s on the same page, then if you can’t figure something out, there’s always someone around who can help.

Contrast that to my business. What WE have going for us is the individual thing. You’re not like everyone else, so your bike isn’t like everyone else’s either. It reflects how and where you want to ride, and it’s fit like a tailored suit. It’s special & unique, and bicycle product cycles run about 3 years, not 12 months. That’s pretty cool! And your bike can evolve with you; you don’t have to toss it out if you want lower gears for climbing or smoother-riding tires. Nor do you have to spend $40-$80 (maybe more!) in monthly charges. When your bike needs something, you pay for it. When you’re not using it, it doesn’t keep running up charges. And our attitude towards our product is that, if it does something it shouldn’t, we’re going to find a way to get it taken care of. Once your phone’s a year old, nobody’s going to do any detective work to figure out why something happened and help prevent such things in the future. They’re going to sell you a whole new phone, at an inflated price.

I see a future for the bicycle biz. Not exactly a rebellion from the Borg-like mentality that Apple has brought upon us, but a realization that there’s something to be said for a product that, used as directed, is fun and good for your body and mind. And, used as directed, disconnects you from the Borg grid and allows you some time to experience the real world with all your senses, not just your eyes and fingers on a tiny screen. Nevertheless, in the spirit of full-disclosure, it’s likely I’ll be one of those guys that has to have the latest iPhone on the day it’s released.

3 thoughts on “iPhone 5- Reality sets in

  1. Gonna have to disagree on the first impressions of the iPhone. Mind you, I just upgraded from a 2+ year old iPhone 4 and *not* a 4S.

    The data connection is massively faster: I got 25 Mbps this morning. The call quality is much better, as are the speakers (perhaps due to lack of built-up pocket lint!). The camera blows away the iPhone 4 in low light and is faster in every regard. The sapphire crystal over the camera is perhaps the biggest improvement nobody’s talking about nor do any competitors do. My iPhone 4 camera lens was quite scratched over 2 years. Having designed and sourced sapphire windows at work for a very similar purpose, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet you will find no scratches on the 5’s lens in two years.

    The aluminum unibody will probably get dinged up over time, but will also be much more robust. There have already been various drop tests put on YouTube comparing the 5 to the 4S and Galaxy SIII and the 5 is the strongest by a mile.

    I have long hands and love the new size. The reduction in weight is also quite welcome. The main downside: I can barely feel it in my pocket and keep thinking I’ve lost the thing!

    Maps… Definitely some issues with searching for locations that will hopefully be incrementally improved as people use it and they crowd-source data, but it will take a while and will probably never catch up to Google. I prefer the aesthetics of the new app, but the old one had a better database behind it. Best-case scenario is Google releases their own app, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t. They *really* want/need the data from the 10s of millions of iPhones out there and they continue to make as much money (or more) from iPhone users as all Android users. Apple was really in a bind by having Google control a prime smartphone feature on the iPhone. They’ve had to swallow a very nasty pill with this one.

    3D Map: I think you’re not seeing the full feature. You need to enter 3D *and* go to satellite view *and* go to a city where they have the right data. I suggest either San Francisco or Stanford campus. Do those three things and there is quite a WOW factor. Is it super useful? Eh, not sure. But it is fantastic to play with and explore. So far, it has been better than Google Earth in the realism, though the list of mapped cities is shorter. I, too, was stumped as to why it was so useless until I entered Satellite mode. I’m not sure why they even have the 3D button when only in map mode.

    I’ve use a Galaxy SIII and am also very impressed with it. I don’t like the giant screen, it’s very hard to use one-handed, and prefer the fit and finish of the iPhone and its ecosystem.

    As for individuality, I fully agree. It would be nice if the iPhone OS was a bit more customizable, for instance.

    It’s been awhile… hope to see you again soon sometime!

    1. Ueyn: The data connection (LTE vs 3G) isn’t a huge issue for me, since I’m mostly connected via wifi or, if traveling, not likely to be in an LTE area. Haven’t checked to see how the reception quality is compared to the 4S; could be that it does indeed have more bars in more places now. For the 3D maps, I figured it was something like that… but shame on Apple for not putting their best foot forward and enabling that button only when relevant, so you don’t get someone whining like I did that it doesn’t work!

      Regarding customization, the answer is to jailbreak. Did that for my 4S; lots of new cool things you could do with it. When a safe jailbreak comes out, I’ll be there!

      Oh, haven’t touched the camera stuff yet. That could be what makes the new phone worthwhile. Meantime, you gotta get out and ride more, ‘cuz that first grader you’ve got is going to be growing up faster than you realize and kick your butt up the hills! –Mike–

  2. I’m looking forward to when my son beats me up the hills and it is NOT too far away. Almost 100% of my riding right now is with the 3-y.o. on the trail-a-bike and the 6-y.o. on his 20″ bike going to/from school and daycare. It is very fulfilling, but not quite the same as my old routine.

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