The iPhone 5 goes on sale Friday, Sept. 21, and the early reviews are in. It's surprisingly thin, wonderfully light, shockingly fast and improved in dozens of little ways, the critics agree. What they disagree about is the primary niggling annoyance-the bit Apple didn't quite get right. And on this, each generally went his own way.
On the whole, however, they agree it's a delight, a super-fast marvel. Most people, they suggest, will find it to be the best smartphone on the market, and for everyone else, thank goodness-diversity is a good thing.
The New York Times' David Pogue writes that Apple's typical obsession over details and its ability to call the shots with components suppliers are both working to the buyer's advantage in the iPhone 5. The camera is "among the best ever put into a phone," he writes, and the device is so thin and light, "it's well on its way to becoming a bookmark."
But then there's that connector issue. For the first time, Apple has changed the charging connector on the iPhone, rendering obsolete all iPhone accessories (many of them quite expensive) unless a user buys a $29 adapter, and sometimes not even then.
The change was inevitableâApple did hold out a very long time, by tech standards-and necessary to slim the phone down as much as Apple did. It's a better connector as connectors go, most agree. But it still kind of stinks.
"If you have a few accessories, you could easily pay $150 in adapters for a $200 phone," wrote Pogue. "That's not just a slap in the face to loyal customers, it's a jab in the eye."
The major gripe of All Things D's Walt Mossberg-who, of course, also found the iPhone 5 to be significantly faster, thinner and lighter almost to the point of seeming a mock-up rather than the real thing-was Apple's proprietary mapping application that replaced Google Maps.