iPhone 5S is a great upgrade from the 4S, but…

As a nerd who follows Apple, I have to maintain a delicate zen-balancing of wanting the latest and greatest, with the best specs and fastest everything, with the understanding Apple isn’t about the specs.

But the iPhone 5S is mostly a miss for this iPhone 5 owner. Its a great upgrade over a 4S model – users who upgrade from the 4S will see amazing speed improvements in the CPU, GPU, cellular connectivity (LTE), and WiFi reception (using the 5GHz band instead of the ultra-congested 2.4GHz band).

But for the iPhone 5S, the areas in which Apple showed the biggest improvement (CPU, GPU) were already fast enough me, and iOS was always responsive even with the iOS 7 betas. I remember many times on my 4S while I was waiting for something to download and process, but I don’t have that on the iPhone 5 – between the A6 CPU and LTE, I’m quite content.

The areas that I did want to see improvement – LTE-Advanced radios, 802.11ac WiFi, and battery life went missing or didn’t get improved that much (battery life got a tiny boost, but not as much as I was hoping for if they had used IGZO screens).

I’m almost tempted to hold out and wait another year for the iPhone 6, particularly because I pay the premium to buy the 64GB model. I cant hold out because I already promised my phone to a family member when I bought it and used their upgrade, but I think that if I could, I would hold out for the 6.

Its a change in the way the cell phone market exists – phones only need to be compelling in two respects 1) against current competitors and 2) upgrade-worthy over the two year ago model once you’re locked into an ecosystem. All other concerns for Apple reside in the “ease of use” and “margins and profit” categories.

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