The Monday ‘Joe: iPhone 5 Round Table Discussion

The Monday 'Joe

Mondays are usually slow for news as people start to stir for the coming week. Therefore, every Monday, we will address one topic to start the week and get discussion flowing. It stimulates the week like a cup of coffee, hence the title.

Last week, we discussed the Wii U, for which new information had been released by Nintendo. This was big news in gaming circles, but it didn’t register a blip with the mainstream press for one reason: all anyone wanted to talk about was the iPhone 5. By the time this article goes live, the iPhone 5 will be out after its release on September 21.

This week’s question:

What are your thoughts on the iPhone 5? Will you be getting one? If you’re an Android user, will you switch?

Christopher Bowen: When my AT&T contract arrived last year, I decided to take the plunge: I not only went to Sprint, I also picked up a new ecosystem altogether, giving up my very-old-by-now iPhone 3G for a Motorola Photon 4G running Android. I haven’t regretted the choice. There are things Android doesn’t do as well—it’s certainly not a gaming system, for one—but at some point, at least Android has the potential to get better, assuming Apple doesn’t obliterate them in patent court. Android supports some bluetooth controllers at this point, and it’s only going to get better. What does Apple support? They actively kick out emulators, and I’d have to jailbreak the phone and enter the cat-and-mouse game with Apple. At least with Android, it’s easier to root the damn thing.

I don’t see myself getting an iPhone at all because I like the fact that Android is much more open. If anything, if I have to get an iDevice, I can get an iPod Touch, which is fine because I was stupid years back and bought a lot of Apple’s DRM’d music. But that’s a lot of money for something that would ostensibly be my fourth place handheld behind my 3DS, PSP, and my old school DS that can play GBA games. Apple’s advantages aren’t advantageous to me, and unlike my colleague Jason Perlow, I’m still seeing the light on the Android platform.

Besides, the iPhone 5 is taller? That’s the big deal? My Photon’s been taller for over a year.

Joshua Moore: I will never, ever switch from Android to Apple for a phone. Much like Chris, I enjoy the openness of the Android platform, including my ability to root and customize the phone at will. I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and although I haven’t utilized much of the customization abilities of the phone yet, that’s mostly because I’m quite happy with the stock Android interface it includes. When I had my Motorola Droid X, I went full out and replaced the firmware with custom ROMs. I used both CyanogenMod and Liberty ROM for a time. I mostly stuck with Liberty ROM since CyanogenMod was quite unstable on my phone model.

However, I also don’t see a problem with the offerings available in the Android mark— I mean, on Google Play. All of the paid software on my phone, I bought. I know people like to rail the Android community and say it’s full of pirates who won’t buy software, but for me at least, this is entirely untrue. There are also plenty of apps in the market that cover a lot of what’s offered on the iPhone. Really, the only thing you’re buying with an iPhone is homogeneity. This means apps will be a lot more stable when they first launch, but after a time, Android apps tend to become just as stable.

Pretty much the only Apple product I own and see worth owning is my Classic 160 GB iPod. I do have to say, though, getting my collection of FLAC audio onto it is a pain. I have to transcode it into ALAC before I can put it on the iPod. God forbid it’s 24-bit. If the audio is 24-bit FLAC, you’re pretty much screwed.

Aileen Coe: As far as I can tell, the biggest things about the iPhone 5 are the taller screen (and another line of apps on the screen), thinner and lighter form factor, more powerful specs, and the new proprietary power cord. While the other features are all well and good, even if other phones beat Apple to having a larger screen, the last point kind of annoys me because it makes the existing iPhone accessories obsolete. If I did want a 5, I’d at least have to get a new power cord or at least an adapter.

I just got an iPhone 4S less than a year ago and I’m satisfied with it, so no, I won’t be getting a 5. I’m fine with the screen on the 4S, and for me, it’s not significant enough of an upgrade to bother with. It would be more of an upgrade for those with older phones, of course, so this new model is aimed less at those like me and more towards those who do need a new phone or feel a burning need to have the latest and greatest models. While I know some may not like the walled garden that is Apple’s App Store and iOS, it suits me fine as I’m not much of a tinkerer, and it seems a lot of things like games or otherwise are made for it. Even in grad school, one of my professors put up videos on Moodle from iTunes University and referred to apps from the App Store that might be helpful.

Nathan Wood: Looking at how I just cracked the screen of my two-year-old iPhone 4 a week or so ago, I will definitely look into getting the iPhone 5 in the coming months once stocks are replenished and my current contract is finished. Now I’m personally just a fan of iOS and Apple’s iPhone, but I’m not blind to the limitations of the platform and I don’t blindly praise Apple like they can do no wrong.

As for the latest device, I’m impressed with the all around improvements that they’ve made considering that they seem to be more substantial than the usual buffs the system gets each time. However, I’ve found myself more displeased than previous announcements of their latest device, and this is due to purely one reason: the inclusion of a new dock connector.

I honestly question whether the new dock is really the improvement they claim to be over the old. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Apple’s way of making customers repurchase all their accessories, which the majority of people will do considering the bulkiness of the adapter that will enable the old accessories to work with the new dock.

So what are my thoughts on the iPhone 5? For the most part, I like it. I really do. But I won’t sugarcoat and say that the the inclusion of a new dock hasn’t rubbed me the wrong way. At the very least, it made me look around the market for another option, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be the last iPhone I picked up before making the jump to Android.

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