Tech Soup  

New iPhone: To buy or not to buy

The never-ending gadget lover’s dilemma rears its head next week when Apple releases its latest phone, the iPhone 4S. You say to yourself, “Do I shell out a few hundred bucks right now and commit to a 3-year cellular contract or can I afford to wait for the iPhone 5?” To buy or not to buy, that is the question.

Pretty serious stuff. Not quite Hamlet-contemplating-his-existence serious, but it’s a difficult dilemma nonetheless. Apple disappointed a lot of people Tuesday by not pulling an iPhone 5 out of their hat - many were hoping for a complete
redesign. The general consensus from those I’ve spoken with seems to be that the 4S isn’t enough to compel them to pull the trigger on the purchase. But you know what? Carrying through on that sentiment is easier said than done when the new gadget isn’t available yet.

Just wait until next Friday when the iPhone 4S is actually here. As the release date approaches, patient gadget lovers get antsy and that patience tends to jump out the window. So back to the big question: should you wait for the iPhone 5 or take Apple up on their heavily-upgraded offering?

As is the case with any technology purchase, it depends. Do you already have an iPhone 4? Unless you really need
a faster phone, or a great camera, I’d suggest waiting. Your current iPhone 4 can still take full advantage of all the cool software features announced on Tuesday (except for Siri, unfortunately) and the new 4S won’t look much different in your hot little hand. Aesthetics aren’t everything, but c’mon now... your jealous friends won’t be able to tell if its an iPhone 4 or 4S.

Don’t have an iPhone yet and have been waiting to take the plunge? The iPhone 4S is, at least for now, the best phone on the market. The super fast processor, solid battery life, point-and-shoot quality camera, improved connectivity - not to mention the aforementioned Siri - make this THE phone to get. Siri is the 4S’s new voice assistant which takes voice commands, and it appears to be the killer app that really sells this thing. Canadians need not worry about Siri not being available here, despite it being missing entirely from the Apple Canada website (it’s a Quebec french vs. France french legality). There are some great Android phones out there, but none that compare to Apple’s latest offering.

Given the fast pace of smartphone technology, we can expect some sweet offerings on the Android side of things before the end of the year. The iPhone 5 probably won’t see the light of day until spring of 2012, and that’s a long time to wait. In gadget world, that’s almost a lifetime. If you don’t already have an iPhone 4, I’m not sure you’ll want to wait. With iOS 5 and iCloud coming, there’s no better time to go iPhone.

If you’ve decided to get one, it appears that all three carriers - Bell, Telus and Rogers - will carry the phone, but only Rogers customers can reserve one at rogers.com/myrogers. Wonder how long the lines will be next Friday...

Last but certainly not least, I cannot talk about Apple without mentioning the death of Steve Jobs. So much has been said about the man who changed technology, and so many comparisons to other visionaries have been made. But to me, comparisons are unfair. Steve Jobs was in a league all to himself.

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Each week, Tech Soup will be written by a member of the Okanagan's burgeoning first-rate technology community. We already have a few regular contributors, but if you're interested in writing a tech piece for this weekly column, send us an email to [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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