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10/17/2013
11:21 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Why I Returned My iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s is a fine smartphone -- but it's not much different from the iPhone 5.

iPhone 5c, 5s: 10 Smart Design Choices
iPhone 5c, 5s: 10 Smart Design Choices
(click image for larger view)
After using the iPhone 5s for 25 days, I returned it to Apple. Apple graciously accepted the return with no trouble, as I was just within the 30-day limit. I liked the iPhone 5s, but I had several reasons for sending it back.

I recently described what it was like to live with the iPhone 5s for a week. Those observations haven't changed. I stand by all those statements.

Some background: I paid full price for the iPhone 5s because I didn't want to extend my contract. That means I spent more than $900 on the device including Apple Care and an upgrade to the 32-GB model. That's a lot of money. I already own an iPhone 5, which I purchased last year. The iPhone 5 runs iOS 7, which is the same operating system on the 5s.

The biggest reason I returned the iPhone 5s is because it didn't offer a different experience from the iPhone 5. Aside from the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, there was no obvious change in how the device performed. Sure, the 5s has a slightly better camera and faster processor, but the difference in performance is hardly noticeable. If you look at it from this angle, I spent $900 to get a fingerprint sensor. Let me tell you something: I don't need a fingerprint sensor on my smartphone. At least, not right now.

[ More iPhone shopping advice: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone. ]

Also, the iPhone 5 offers several things the 5s does not. For starters, it is free of bugs. iOS 7 runs flawlessly on the iPhone 5. iOS 7 on the 5s was a bug-ridden mess. Apps crashed constantly, and the 5s was prone to random reboots. Reboots are rather inconvenient when you're speaking to someone on the phone. Speaking of the phone, the call quality on the iPhone 5 is slightly better than on the 5s. It has a warmer sound that I prefer over the 5s.

Another gripe I have is Apple's entire concept of keeping the same design for its smartphones for two years. The 5s is identical to the iPhone 5 in size, shape and basic appearance, save for the color. The iPhone 4 and 4S were identical, as were the iPhone 3G and 3GS. I find this approach to be lazy. Don't get me wrong -- I fully appreciate how much work goes into designing smartphones and all the engineering needed to make everything fit into such a tiny space. One look at Apple's competitors, however, and it's hard for me to digest Apple's strategy.

Samsung brings dozens of new smartphones to the market each year, all of which have their own design. Samsung makes iterative updates to its products too, but when you look at the progression of hardware such as the Galaxy Note, Note 2 and Note 3, you see marked improvements year over year. Same with the GS4 and other Samsung devices. The same can be said of LG, Motorola, Nokia, HTC and other phone makers.

Surely Apple could create a unique phone each year. It simply chooses not to. I understand its thinking and strategy here, but as a consumer and as a tech journalist, I want to see Apple do more.

If I am going to pay between $500 and $900 for a smartphone each year, I want it to be different from the one I had before. With the iPhone 5s, there simply isn't enough of a difference for it to be worth the money. If you're upgrading from an iPhone 4s, it's a big step up. If you're coming from an iPhone 5, it's more of the same. If Apple decides to make an iPhone with a bigger screen or some other major alteration to the hardware, then perhaps I'll buy it and stick with it. From now on, however, I plan to skip Apple's "S" years.

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UNCLE BERNIE MADOFF
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UNCLE BERNIE MADOFF,
User Rank: Strategist
12/11/2013 | 1:05:00 PM
5s
Ok, those are fair arguments. But I object to holding Samsung up as innovators. All they can do is copy- and handsomely punished for it, too.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2013 | 7:18:07 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
I would respectfully dispute the point that the 4 and the 4S were the same. The 4S had a more advanced chipset AND it introduced Siri as a feature.

(Whether Siri counts as an improvement some might debate, but those two phones do definitely offer a different experience from each other, IMHO.)
Researcher32
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Researcher32,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/25/2013 | 10:06:02 PM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
Author, you say "...iOS 7 on the 5s was a bug-ridden mess..." Really? That tells me your anti-Apple bias gets in the way of your facts. Your article is a FAIL.
bwalker970
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bwalker970,
User Rank: Strategist
10/24/2013 | 12:23:52 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
Calling Apple lazy because they keep the same design for two years is a weak argument especially when holding up Samsung as an example of non-lazy design. Apple and Samsung could not be any different in their approach to design. Different is not necessarily better. Rather than demonstrating industriousness, Samsung's approach to design is undisciplined and haphazard. The reason that Samsung brings dozens of new product designs to market in a year is because they employ several competing product groups in the hope that if they throw enough ideas up against the wall, some of them will stick. Apple is much more deliberate and disciplined in their approach to design. Some of the folks who really appreciate Apple's disciplined process are the third-party developers who make accessories for the iPhone and the owners of iOS devices of which 64% are now using iOS 7. How many Samsung devices are running the latest version of Android?
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2013 | 5:26:12 PM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
Your household must have money to burn with all those (11 !!!) Apple devices. Very few can afford that much stuff.
kwhonder
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kwhonder,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2013 | 6:51:21 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
do us both a favor and save your reply. do you....fake wannabe...
kwhonder
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kwhonder,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2013 | 6:46:13 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
um, ok. keep on being an arrogant prick. it suits you.. (get over yourself). it's not about me and my money. it's about having a conscious - which clearly you don't, you overindulged sprat.
RomC462
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RomC462,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2013 | 4:17:44 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
I see a lot of apple hating clowns on here and Eric who cares why you returned your iphone clown
PiyaliR378
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PiyaliR378,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2013 | 1:42:05 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
A radical step. Such reactions also remain as clear indications about the marketing techniques of many providers which create a hype even before the formal launch of the product. Its good to know that somebody has shown the guts to protest in his own way. The mobile ad network companies like appnext or adcolony should also look into such incidents before framing out their apps and games
Andre Richards
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Andre Richards,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2013 | 12:35:36 AM
re: Why I Returned My iPhone 5s
This author is really suspect. His article history shows that he covers Android and Windows by talking up new products, but covers Apple by criticizing the crap out of them. Same for his Twitter feed. It's okay to have biases, Eric, but admit to them up-front so I can save my time avoiding your stuff. There's far too much noise out there nowadays as it is. Why add to it?
Page 1 / 11   >   >>
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