Friday, February 25, 2011

7 Things to Convince Me to Switch to the iPhone 5

UPDATE: I have published a follow-up post to this article here.

A couple of disclaimers first: I currently own the original Motrola Droid on Verizon.  I like my Droid, but there have definitely been times that I've wanted to throw it out the window.  As a loyal Verizon customer, I've never had the option of an iPhone, but with my contract renewal coming up in July, it appears as though I may have a choice to make.  Now, I am not necessarily a "phandroid" even though I've developed Android apps and while I own a Macbook and an iPod, I'm not really an iFanBoy either.  I'm just a fan of using the best technology that simply "works" while providing the best features for me at the time.

With that out of the way, I've started thinking about the possibility of the iPhone 5 coming out this June -- which is a good possibility, right?  I've been wondering, what would it take for me to switch over to "the dark side"?  I have come up with a list of things that if completely implemented, I wouldn't hesitate to buy the next iPhone.  However, if only some (or none) of the following are included, I'll have quite the dilemma on my hands:

1) The iPhone 5 must be released on Verizon the same time as ATT
I would assume that this would be the case going forward, but since we haven't seen this happen yet, I have to include this as a possibility.  If the iPhone 5 gets released on Verizon much later than ATT, it will be a no-go because I don't like starting with outdated technology at the beginning of a 2-year contract.

2) The iPhone 5 must be capable of utilizing 4G / LTE 
I don't currently live in a city that is blanketed with LTE, so there may be a little bit of wiggle room here. However, I am trying to future-proof for 2 years, and I would think that by then my city will have that coverage.
3) The iPhone 5 must have a dual-core processor
One of the major benefits of an Apple product is that the hardware and software are coupled together very nicely, which virtually ensures that users will have a pleasant experience with the device. So, if they achieve the results they want without including a dual-core processor, I could understand; however, I'd like to see it included, again, mostly as an insurance policy so that as mobile apps and games start getting developed with two-cores in mind, I can enjoy them to their full potential, even 2 years from now.
4) The iPhone 5 must include an NFC implementation
If you have no idea what NFC is, ReadWriteWeb has put together a very nice write up on it here. As the article mentions, this technology is not huge right now, but it is poised to take off very, very soon.
5) The iPhone 5 must use a better notification system
In my opinion, this is one of the places where Android completely shines. I love the way notifications are handled in Android with the notification bar -- it brings all of your notifications to one place and you can pick and choose what you'd like to respond to in any order, without interrupting what you're currently doing. I would love for Apple to introduce a similar centralized way of handling notifications. Also -- I also like the idea of the use of a notification light on the outside of the phone. It's not intrusive, and alerts you when your screen is off.

6) The iPhone 5 must have a dependable, free (or inexpensive) turn-by-turn Navigation application
This is another thing that I think I take for granted with Android. The Google Navigation app is great -- I've used it on several trips, and I don't think that's it's ever really let me down. From what I understand, there are some free crowdsourced apps available for the iPhone, but that doesn't cut it in my mind.
7) Along side the iPhone 5, Apple must provide free MobileMe access
Now, I must confess that I didn't think of this one on my own. A few articles, like this one, have recently surfaced pointing to the possibility of this very thing. I currently use Google for a lot of things: calendar, email, contacts, etc. and I'd like to see a similar type of functionality available, for free, in the Apple world. The possibility of MobileMe being reintroduced as a media storage locker for music, pictures, video and the like is even more intriguing.

Well -- that's my list for now. What else would I be missing with the move from Android to the iPhone? Has anyone made that transition (or visa versa) and regretted it?  Perhaps I'm just suffering from "the grass is always greener on the other side" syndrome?
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

UPDATE (3-3-2011): In light of the iPad 2 announcement, a few updates:
Item 1) The iPad 2 will be available on both ATT's and Verizon's networks on the same day. This bodes well for a simultaneous iPhone 5 release. Interestingly though, iOS 4.3 will only be available for the ATT iPhone 4 at launch.
Item 2) Surprisingly, the iPad 2 does not have any tie ins to 4G networks. Does this mean that the iPhone 5 won't either? Not necessarily, but I don't like seeing this one.
Item 3) With the release of the A5 processor, which happens to be dual-core, I would say that there is a very good chance that this chip will land in the iPhone 5.
Item 7) There was no mention of MobileMe at all. Perhaps this was wishful thinking to begin with? Only time will tell!

UPDATE (3-28-2011): WWDC 2011 was formally announced today with the tagline: "Join us for a preview of the future of iOS and Mac OS X." Now, a few sites have published articles like this and this that take this (along with some information from their 'sources') to mean that there will not be an iPhone 5, or any kind of hardware announcement for that matter, this summer at WWDC. In fact, they believe that the soonest that we may even see a new iPhone would be this Fall. At this point, I'm not sure if I'd like to see some kind of 4GS minor refresh of the iPhone 4, or just see them wait to announce the availability of the iPhone 5 and iOS 5. I'm hopeful that if nothing else, we'll have a REALLY good idea of what's in store (in terms of features and timelines) for the iPhone 5 and iOS 5 during WWDC so that I can at least determine if it's worth waiting for, even if it's not available yet. Otherwise, it may make it an easy decision to stay on the Android train.

UPDATE (4-22-2011): On Apple's Q2 financial results conference call, COO Tim Cook made it sound like 4G/LTE is still a relatively immature technology (which it is), and that Apple is not willing, at least at this time, to make the design compromises required to include 4G/LTE in the iPhone. If it's anything like the HTC Thunderbolt, that would likely mean requiring two chips -- one for 3G and one for 4G. I've also heard pretty bad things about battery life in regards to using 4G on the Thunderbolt -- also not a good sign that the technology is ready for prime time. So, at this point, wishing for 4G/LTE in the next iteration of the iPhone seems like an incredible long shot. Here's an interesting discussion on why.

UPDATE (5-19-2011): Verizon's CFO confirmed Item 1 (that Verizon and AT&T would release the next iPhone at the same time). See the confirmation here and check one off of the list!

UPDATE (6-13-2011): The week of WWDC 2011 has come to an end, and a LOT of features were revealed regarding iOS5. Among these were my points 5 (a better notification system) and 7 (iCloud). So, check those off of the list as well! That leaves the question of 4G, NFC and Navigation. I did discover MapQuest as a free Nav app, but I have no idea if it's any good -- so if anyone has any experience in that department, I'd love to hear about it. Either way, unfortunately, it looks like the next iPhone won't be available until September!