Everyone expects “revolutionary” from Apple. The truth is they only really do revolutionary once or twice in a decade. Once they set the market it’s all about making evolutionary changes. Evolutionary is precisely how I’d describe the iPhone 5s. It feels exactly the same in hand as the 5. Aside from the new color options, you’d probably never know it was a new device until you fired it up and saw what was “under the hood.”
The 5s, not surprisingly runs iOS7 like a champion. It’s a very snappy performer at every task I’ve thrown at it in four days. The new camera is the real game changer for me. I think they’ve finally improved it to the point where I won’t even be tempted to drag along a stand alone point and shoot camera when I go somewhere. For you photogs, it’s obviously not SLR quality, but hey, it’s a phone and not a $1000 camera, so there’s that. The OS itself is starting to grow on me. It still feels a little too colorful for me, but I have to admit the interface is very slick once you get use to it. There are plenty of toggles and options to control how iPhone behaves, but at the end of the day you’re still in Apple’s walled garden so some options are limited. Fortunately, most of us don’t by iOS or Apple products because we want to tinker with the innards.
Apple issued a press release today that cited over 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c variants sold over this past weekend. I have no doubt that’s how many were ordered since early Friday morning, but there’s no way that’s how many phones they put in hands over the last three days. The buying experience has really been the only blemish on what I otherwise consider a pretty remarkable phone. Whether you blame rolling out in too many countries, over estimating demand of the 5c models, or manufacturing challenges with the fingerprint reader, Apple had far fewer “flagship” models available in their retail stores than they have in past years. My best estimate is that they had no more than 400-500 on hand at Christiana Mall on Friday at launch. Of course that only matters if you’re committed to getting your hands on a phone on day one. Fortunately for me, Best Buy stepped in and filled the gap left in Apple’s own retail supply chain.
The bottom line? It’s a great phone, a solid performer, and absolutely the best phone I have ever owned. I have no regrets upgrading from the 5 to the 5s. If you’re sitting on a 4s, it’s probably a “must have” upgrade.