Critical Section


to 6 or not to 6

Saturday,  09/20/14  11:06 AM

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 6To 6 or not to 6, that is the question.  Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of new iPhone 6 fans, or to take arms against a sea of media, and by opposing stay with the more reasonably sized and perfectly capable iPhone 5S.

You are alive, so you have seen: millions of people are standing in long lines to buy a spiffy new iPhone 6.  But as a contented iPhone 5S owner - who has safely upgraded to IOS 8 - what's in it for me to join them?

Carissa with her iPhone 6I have seen an iPhone 6 in person - one of our interns Carissa Kaufman spent nearly all day Friday in line, and emerged victorious with one, which I subsequently saw, held, and used - and I must tell you the size is not compelling.  I've had an Amazon Fire phone for a couple of months now and it is exactly the same size, and while the larger screen is nice for reading, and the larger keyboard is nice for typing, the larger size overall is not nice for putting in my pocket and carrying around.  Overall I'm happy with the 5S size.  So what are the compelling features of the 6?

Well, the camera is better, everyone says so.  And I believe them.  And I use my phone's camera a lot.  But the 5S has a great little camera, so I'm not sure the difference makes upgrading to the 6 worth it.

The 6 supports Apple Pay.  That might do it for me, we'll see.  It will depend a lot on which merchants adopt NFC readers; if they become ubiquitos, maybe using Apple Pay will be compelling.  I am quite willing to abandon a pocket full of easily spoofed or stolen plastic cards.

The 6 has this little M8 motion processor, which means it can more accurately be used as a motion sensor than the 5S, which has an M7 processor.  I use the Argus app all the time, which measures my motion, and it uses the M7 on the 5S.  And it works pretty well.  The possibility that it could work better is ... not that interesting.

The 6 supports WiFi calling.  Well, that's nice.  There are most definitely times when I'm in a building where I have WiFi but no cell signal.  But I can always use Skype (it makes voice calls over WiFi), and frequently do.  So I'm not sure that's compelling.

And the 6 supports VoLTE.  This means, you can make a call and continue to use data over the same cell connection.  AT&T customers have had this for years, but I'm a Verizon person, and its always difficult to balance making calls with using data.  How often have I been on the phone in my car and wanted to use Google Maps?  Still, I can always use Skype to get around this (it makes voice calls over the data connection).  So I'm not sure that's compelling either.

Finally, there's the allure of having a 6.  Can a techno-savvy leading-edge software engineer resist the urge to have the latest and greatest?  So far, yes.  Stay tuned.

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