A random Weblog

Why I returned my iPhone 5
October 1, 2012, 11:12 am
Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , , , , ,


I’m a self-confessed Apple fan and have owned iPhone 1, 2, 3, 4, 4S and briefly – iPhone 5.

I wanted to write about why I have returned it.  It has a great form-factor, feels perfect in the hand, and things open and run noticeably faster than it’s predecessor – but the main reason for my disappointment comes down to two words. Google Maps.  Granted this is an iOS6 issue not an iPhone 5 issue per-se, but it’s the branch that snapped for me. Big time.

I should have done a re-boxing video as a parody of all the unboxing nonsense on YouTube, but it’s not that funny.  A couple other factors in my decision to return my iPhone 5 though;

1. It took nearly six hours to set up the iPhone 5. I had (foolishly?) backed up to iCloud and it took forever to restore onto the new phone – most likely because the Apple server farms were being hammered. Even when that was done, there was a need to connect to iTunes to restore media and apps – so really no point in an iCloud backup IMO.  Even connected to iTunes, re-loading 80 or so apps took forever – it was a truly hopeless experience and not at all Apple-like.

2. I fully charged the phone and ensuring no apps were running, I left it on overnight.  Less than eight hours later, battery was down to 32%.  WTF?  I did not have any undue location services running, there was no bluetooth connectivity, mail was set to push as per my old iPhone so I did not expect this – my iPhone 4s looses a maximum of 10% battery overnight. 68% is unacceptable.

I wasn’t prepared to venture to work with a phone that can’t even hold a charge when it’s doing SFA, so I clicked the return button and it’s on the way back to Apple.  Fortunately I had not erased my iPhone 4S, so with a new SIM it’s back in action. End of story.  Or is it?  Right now I’m researching how I might keep my Apple Contacts Book in Sync with Google Contacts, because yes, an Android phone beckons – that’s how much I want my Google maps back.

This article from The Monday Note reports that the maps fiasco has so far sliced $30 billion off the value of Apple. I say so far, because there is NO WAY that Apple can recover from this mess until Google maps is restored on iOS6.  If they don’t do this, 2012 will be the year of the tipping point, and history will write it as moment that Apple Jumped the Shark.

Why am I so certain this isn’t just a speed bump for Apple?  Because maps matter more than Apple understands and Google maps are the best.  What many people don’t know (Apple included by the looks) is that Street-View data is some of the secret-sauce behind Google Maps.  Their clever algorithms read the street signage and interpret meaning from all those road signs along the way.  So when you request directions, a layer of data is coming from signage along the possible routes. Without their own Street view data, Apple is hopelessly lost.  This article is on how Google builds it’s maps is fascinating, seriously Apple – you had the arrogance to think a half-baked product could take this kind of mature product on? The consumer is not stupid, yours is the fail of the decade and you’re going to have to pull a giant rabbit out of somewhere – or this will become the business case study of all time – for all the wrong reasons.

And back to iOS6, well I’ve resisted upgrading my iPad because of the map “thing”, but now as various apps auto-update I’m told they won’t install as they require the latest version of the OS. That would be iOS 6. No thanks.

Friends at work are rather fond of their Galaxy Note tablets, and the latest video’s from Samsung show some remarkable thinking is going on in Korea, thinking that is seeing the tablet evolve to become an even more productive device.  I’m sure Apple are hardly sitting around on their hands and will continue to improve with iOS7 and beyond, but Mr Cook sure has his work cut out for him.


4 Comments so far
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Not a surprise, but what surprises me more is why anyone interested in a tablet settles for the limit of no sd card slot. If they would pop a serious OS like windows or a full macOS into these phones with a USB slot and an sd card we could drop laptops and use our smart phones. So what’s the use in a tablet that is maybe a fraction in capability aside from the touch screen space above a smart phone. I’m still sporting an iPhone 3G for my tablet and if I do upgrade it’ll either be with a windows capable smart phone or an android and with an sd card slot. Apple is to successful with such a constrictive device that their running on a system of marketable popularity and their strong points are now becoming apart of their flaws. Someone is going to make smart phones that cross over to a full replacement for the laptop not that they don’t already do that for people who never had access to the Internet until smartphones.

Comment by epistem5

Hey, saw your post, I sympathize. My dad’s keeping his iPhone 5 but he misses Google Maps. Just FYI, from the day he got an iPhone 3GS I’ve had his contacts syncing with his Google Contacts via Exchange using this method: http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=138740

When iCloud was introduced the contacts he would add to his phone would automatically add to his iCloud too, but primarily every time he adds a new contact to his phone it adds to his Gmail address book instantaneously. (I mentioned this in my latest post, near the end, after the YouTube video, http://usamaisawake.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/the-iphone-5/ )

Why did I do this? This way whether he sticks w/ iOS (iPhone, iPad), or moves to Android OR even switches to Blackberry or Windows Phone, the data is always accessible from Google since all those devices can access Google data in one form or another (contacts, calendar, email, etc.). If you need help setting it up please let me know. I’m slow to respond because of work but I would definitely love to help someone store their data in a more flexible and reliable place like Google (or Microsoft’s SkyDrive/Live).

Comment by usamaisawake

Thanks for your very useful response and the links – really appreciate this!

Comment by zeofoto

I returned my iPhone 5 also..

1. Bluetooth. It is so underpowered, if my Plantronics (the best IMHO) is more than a few inches away, all you hear is a crackle.. I don’t like holding phones (too many long conversations driving) Bluetooth 1 out of 10.

2. Battery life. You can’t call a phone the most advanced iPhone yet, if it only does 5 miles to the gallon, when the old phone can do 50. (iPhone 3G)

3. Apple maps (enough said)

I’ll wait until problems are sorted or wait for the iPhone Err 5.1.1.. Or else “Samsung, here I come..”

Comment by Lone Racer

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