And so it begins (I finally got an iPhone)

IPhone 5

After about the 5th random reboot, and the 10th time of not waking up from sleep mode, I knew I didn't want to keep my Nokia Lumia 521 Windows Phone long-term. Maybe I got a defective phone. Maybe Windows Phone 8 still has a way to go as a mobile OS. All I knew was I had grown weary of "smartphone hopping". I needed something proven, reliable, and in it for the long-haul. It was time to get an iPhone.

Why I chose Verizon

I hadn't had a cell phone contract in years. I'm too curious about technology and always want to try new things. The longest I ever kept a smartphone was a year (Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Google Play Edition). I used T-Mobile for a while, but their coverage is terrible in Cache Valley. Going on a business trip to out-of-the-way places like Vernal and Moab and being met with the same terrible coverage pretty much sealed the deal for me as far as not wanting to use T-Mobile anymore. Excellent coverage was important to me, so it came down to Verizon or AT&T. Their plan and phone pricing was very similar, but after careful research my hunch was confirmed: Verizon has the best coverage in the areas I need it.

I wasn't a big fan of the ridiculously high plan rates, nor getting locked into a contract after years of enjoying contract-free freedom. But I managed to qualify for a decent monthly discount on Verizon plans through my current employer (Utah State University), as well as a small monthly allowance towards my cell phone bill, since I need to be able to travel for work and communication on the road is important.

I also felt that, since I was getting an iPhone, I had a greater probability of being happy with it for 2 years than I would have with other phones. My wife has an iPhone 4. It's a 3-year-old phone, yet it's still very capable and does what she needs. Despite the fact that it's 3 years old, it will receive the next major update to iOS 7. How many 3-year-old Android phones will receive updates like that? Very few, if any. I felt good about keeping an iPhone long-term, so a 2 year contract didn't seem so bad in this situation.

Why I chose the iPhone 5

Familiarity. Before I owned my first true smartphone, I owned an iPod Touch. This was my first experience with iOS and it was great. I still have that trusty old iPod Touch. It'll never receive another OS update, and its showing its age, but through all my experiences with other smartphones before finally settling on the iPhone, I found my self drawn back to it for many reasons. If it had that much hold on me, that's a pretty significant thing, as I am a self-described "fickle techie". I'm pretty intuitive when it comes to technology, and can figure out new devices pretty quickly, but I knew there would be no learning curve by going with an iPhone. I knew what to expect, and for once, that was appealing to me.

Apps. In a previous post, one of the points I made justifying my purchase of a BlackBerry PlayBook was that apps aren't everything. In retrospect, I think was wrong on that point. iOS still has the best app library on the planet, although Android is quickly catching up. But I used a high-end Android phone for a year and I can honestly say that I feel the overall app experience - not only the selection, but the quality, functionality, and polish of the apps themselves - is better on the iPhone. Popular apps like Facebook, Netflix, Skype - they all seem to be a bit more refined and stable on iOS. I don't know whether this has to do with the fact that iOS has been around longer, or just that the platform lends itself to a better experience. All I know is, I prefer the iOS app experience over all the rest. And while iOS itself is looking and feeling dated compared to the others (but not for long as iOS 7 is just around the corner), the superior app experience more than makes up for that. At least for me. I still love my BlackBerry PlayBook, by the way, but its lack of quality apps is, undeniably, a glaring deficiency.

Connections. Many of my family and friends have iPhones. For those who don't use IM apps or Skype, it's much easier to keep in touch with them via iMessage and FaceTime, which are integrated with iOS and very easy to use.

Staying power. Apple has a good track record with their products. High quality, high customer satisfaction, high resale value. Their products seem to stand the test of time better than most. Again, I cite the 3-year-old iPhone 4 as an example. It will receive the upcoming iOS 7 update, along with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Will it receive ALL the updates and functionality iOS 7 has to offer? Probably not - it will likely be limited by its older hardware. But the fact that it is receiving any updates at this stage is significant. There are newer devices out there from other manufacturers that have never received an OS update, or for which updates have been discontinued much earlier in their existence. Another thing to consider is that there is a significant number of companies, organizations, developers, and individuals that have invested a great amount of time and resources in the iPhone and its ecosystem, and will not easily be persuaded to abandon it for another platform. Android my supplant iOS as the dominant mobile platform (it may have done so already), but Apple has done quite well in the PC market without being the dominant platform. Unless Apple completely abandons its business model and implodes, the iPhone should be around for a long time to come.

Why I didn't wait for the iPhone 5S (or whatever it ends up being called)

The tech blogs are buzzing with rumors about Apple's next generation iPhone, which many are referring to as the iPhone 5S. It is expected to be released in September or October. I was seriously considering waiting for its release so I could have the latest iPhone model, but decided against it for a few reasons.

First, some rumors suggest that it will include a built-in fingerprint scanner. I'm not sure how I feel about Apple having access to my biometric information. I don't know the specifics of how the system would work, whether the information would be stored locally on the phone or in the cloud. Can it be disabled? And will it track that information whether or not you have disabled it? Regardless, it's a feature I don't want or need.

Second, I didn't want to keep using my old smartphone for another couple months. It wasn't horrible, I was just done with it and ready for my preferred device.

Finally, while the new iPhone will likely have a faster processor, more RAM, and other new and improved specs, they weren't enough to "wow" me and make me wait. The iPhone 5 is an excellent device and its specs and functionality were more than sufficient for my needs.

Review coming soon

I plan to write a detailed review of the iPhone 5 in another week or two. I want to have more time using it as my go-to device so I can really see whether it has met my expectations.

I will tell you that, as of the time I write this post, I consider the iPhone 5 to be the best smartphone I have ever owned.


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