iPhone 5 in my hand, this talk of micron-precision, fine watch craftsmanship, and the computerized selection of best-match inlays sounds not the least bit bullshitty or blustery. It simply sounds like an explanation of the level of obsession that it takes to create a mass-produced device that feels this, well, nice. It even feels as though they’ve put some serious work into the iPhone’s one historical weak spot: the home button.
The iPhone remains the flagship of Apple’s entire product line. It exhibits not merely the highest degree of fit and finish of any smartphone, but the highest degree of fit and finish for anything Apple has ever made. When first you hold it — where by you I mean “you, who, like me, is intimately familiar with the feel and heft of an iPhone 4 or 4S” — you will be struck by how light it feels, yet in a premium, not chintzy way. Within a week, it will feel normal, and your old iPhone 4/4S will feel like a brick.
On Apple choosing to offer only one version (in terms of screen size) of the iPhone:
In an ideal world, perhaps Apple would offer two iPhone sizes — like they do with products such as MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and iMacs. A smaller one with the classic 3.5-inch display, and a larger (say, 4.5-inch?) one for people who want that. On the logistics side, this doesn’t align with Apple’s interests — economies of scale and the marketing simplicity of just one new iPhone per year.
But there’s another factor. I believe many people would choose poorly. Bigger looks better. It’s like the old chestnut about TV sets in big box stores — side-by-side, standing in the store, people tend to choose TVs that are oversaturated, the ones with the boldest colors, rather than the ones with the better, more accurate colors. I can’t help but think that many people would choose the big-ass iPhone in my hypothetical two-sizes scenario, and later regret it with tired thumbs sore from stretching. (My thumbs feel sore just by looking at photos like this one of the LG Optimus G.) Design is making decisions, and Apple has always decided what the best size is for an iPhone display.
If you can afford the iPhone 5, John concludes, you should buy it.