I was all set to buy my iPhone 5 last year, when everyone expected the iPhone 5 to be released. But then Apple went and released a modest upgrade to the iPhone 4, and there seemed no reason to buy that when the iPhone 5 was about to come out.
(I have an iPhone 3GS, which still works great. But I confess I have been coveting some of the newer features. I tried to buy an iPhone 4 once, a couple of months after it came out, but hundreds of people had been waiting all night in line to buy them to ship them to Asia, so I gave up. But I have decided to upgrade to the iPhone 5, unless it totally sucks.)
The iPhone 5 is not going to have a really big screen, like the gorgeous screen on the SamsungGalaxy S III. I played with an S III the other night, and it confirmed my suspicion that it is just awesome to have such a big screen. Next to the Samsung, my iPhone felt small and old. Given that Apple thinks Samsung has ripped off everything about the Galaxy from the iPhone, I assumed that Apple would want to return the favor and rip off the awesome big Galaxy screen from Samsung. But according to the gadget gods, Apple has decided to just make the iPhone 5 screen slightly taller, not huge and insanely great like the Galaxy S III. And that's annoying. Who cares about having a "taller" screen? I certainly don't want to have to turn the phone to "landscape" view every time I want to look at something.
The iPhone 5 will have a new power cord, one that will render the dozen or so Apple power cords I have obsolete. This is also annoying. One of the positive side-effects of becoming an Apple household is that we have one of those power cords lying around pretty much everywhere you look. And now, I gather, Apple is going to make all of those cords worthless. (Unless I buy some special adapter. But having to do that is annoying.)
So all that is annoying.
But the screen thing is really annoying. I'm not a watch-movies-or-play-video-games-on-my-phone guy. I'm a do-email-and-tweet-and-read-the-Internet-on-my-phone guy. So the idea of having to turn the phone to landscape to take advantage of the screen being slightly taller sounds more annoying than anything.
I gather Apple is making some other changes to the iPhone 5, too--moving a button, for example. But I haven't seen any changes that I care about.
All of which means, I'm already annoyed by my iPhone 5. If, after using it, I determine that the smaller screen is, in fact, inferior to the big Samsung screen, I'm going to be really annoyed.
So, if I'm so annoyed by the iPhone 5 and Apple's lame patent attack, why am I not just rushing out and buying a Samsung Galaxy S III before Apple gets them sued off the shelves?
Well, I'll tell you, I'm close to doing that. Very close.
But, as I feared a couple of years ago when I realized the lengths Apple was going to to build a closed system with "network effects," I'm also kind of stuck with Apple now, given that our entire household has standardized on it. If I switched to Samsung, I'd have to learn how to use something new. And none of my iTunes stuff and passwords would work. So the sad truth is that I'm going to buy an iPhone 5 even if it's an inferior phone.
But it's going to bum me out knowing that I have to go with Apple even though it's an inferior phone.
And it's going to really bum me out now that Apple is suing people to protect its vast profits instead of just making superior products like it used to.
(Litigation might protect you for a little while, but not over the long run. And I know I'm not the only one who finds it disheartening to see Apple resorting to it.)