I wasn’t planning on getting an iPhone 5 right away. I ignored the preorder midnight madness, and wasn’t even paying much attention to the date. Avoiding the IPHONE 5 LAUNCHES TODAY headlines everywhere was impossible though. So yesterday I diverted from my usual run route to go by the Apple Store (a few blocks from my house) and get a first look at the frenzy…
… and… there was no queue. It was only 9 am or so, about an hour after the store opened, but most of the people outside where Apple Store employees (blue shirts), Security (black shirts), and reporters (easily identifiable by trying to shove a mike or a camera in front of anyone). The store itself was full but not beyond the usual chattering mob. I asked one of the Apple guys if they still had iPhone in stock, secretly wondering if some kind of calamity had befallen the line earlier (Samsung retaliation? perhaps a well-aimed asteroid?) but no, it was all good. I went back home, got the credit card, came back, got the phone, a bit more than an hour after launch. It felt a bit like cheating for some reason.
It looks familiar, but as soon as you hold it, and touch it, and use it, it feels like a completely new device. Your eyes tell your brain that your hand should expect X and instead it gets Z. And it’s so light, it has me actually looking forward to the new iPod touch, which will be even lighter but share the base design.
It’s fast, the screen is great and the extra space is welcome and visually seamless when dealing with non-optimized apps. As Gruber speculated, the letterboxing of apps is unnoticeable for every day use on the black iPhone 5. Again: visually. As with the phone itself, while it looks similar on the surface, once you use it it’s another thing entirely. Muscle memory gets in the way the most for me with keyboards on letterboxed apps. We’ll see how fast I adapt. It’s not a huge problem, but definitely noticeable, on and off, particularly if you’re mindlessly switching between an app that is letterboxed and one that isn’t.
As for the EarPods, the jury’s still out. Unlike many other people, I’ve never had a problem with Apple headphones and used them as my main headphones, the EarPods didn’t seem immediately as comfortable but then again after using one type of headphone for 7-8 ears any change will be an issue. We’ll see.
Finally — no dock so far. Apparently Phil Schiller said that “Most people who use docks use them with speaker or clock systems.”. I would point out that there’s also, I don’t know, many, many developers for whom docks are a useful tool to connect to your desktop and laptop and hold the device while you’re working, especially when you take into account that there are app components that must be tested in the device (in app purchases, accelerometers, camera, etc.). I guess developers, even at a few million, would only be 1% of the iOS device market or so, but still, it would be nice if as a segment developers weren’t forgotten quite so easily.