5 reasons I'm passing on the iPhone 5

New connector, longer screen, upgrade price, and no NFC, just to name a few. And with iOS 6, the iPhone 4S is like a new phone. So, who needs an iPhone 5?
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

My colleague Jason O'Grady has put together a great list of iPhone 5 reviews, now that the embargo has lifted. To summarize, all critics love the iPhone 5 and are calling it the best iPhone yet.

So, with the above, why am I passing on the iPhone 5? I'll explain below:

It's not that different from the iPhone 4S

Critics will argue that it's longer, lighter, faster, etc., but with iOS 6, the iPhone 4S is new and improved, too. My iPhone 4S now boots super fast, and browsing is substantially improved. Also, you get improved Siri, 3D Maps, spoken turn-by-turn directions, Facebook integration, and a whole host of other improvements. One feature of note is when you download apps that you already own, you're not prompted for your iTunes information. In addition, when an app is first downloaded and isn't yet launched, it has a nice "New" band around it. It's subtle touches like this that make the iPhone such a pleasure to use. Of course the 3-D maps are very cool, and I have been browsing different parts of my neighborhood just for fun.


I've been watching mobile payments for a while now and was really hoping that Apple would dip its toes into NFC with the iPhone 5. The company has stated that it believes its Passbook app is enough, but my guess is that it's going to take advantage of its acquisition of AuthenTec and bring some fingerprint technology into a future iOS version.

New connector: Lightning

The last thing we needed was a new connector. Apple says that it did it for a number of reasons, including being able to keep the iPhone 5 and other iPods thin and light, but I'm so tired of new connectors. You can buy an adapter to make your iPhone 5's "lightning" connector work with older accessories, but that will cost you about $30 or so.

Screen size

The new screen is 4 inches. The old iPhone screen is 3.5 inches, so not that big a jump. I have heard that you have more real estate and that videos rock, but otherwise the screen is just longer. I haven't had hands-on time, but it sounds like it's going to be difficult to type in landscape mode. Of course, portrait will remain the same, but will the iPhone 5 now be a bit awkward to hold?


I'm an iPhone 4S user, so the first thing I did was check to see if I'm eligible for the iPhone 5. If you'd like to check for yourself, Apple has a dedicated page for you, that features AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless. In my case, I checked with AT&T, and while I can get one slightly subsidized, I still have to shell out $549 for the 32GB iPhone 5. Granted, if I want to wait until May 8, 2013, I can pick it up for $299.


For now I'm holding off. The 4S does a great job for me, and the high price I'd have to pay to upgrade right now has me seriously considering the Galaxy S3, or something coming from HTC--there's an HTC event scheduled for tomorrow, last I heard.

I should also mention that I'm apparently in the minority since iPhone 5 pre-orders topped 2 million in the first 24 hours.

Are you picking up an iPhone 5? Share your yes or no reasons below.

See also:

Editorial standards