It feels much longer than 9 months ago that I lined up on day one to purchase my iPhone 5 (32GB, white) when they arrived in New Zealand. Now just 100 days short of a year have past, I've adapted to the decreased weight (and increased physical size) of the phone that I just can't help chuckle to myself when picking up the preceding 'archaic' iPhone 4S.
The 'old' iPhone 4S. The all-glass device which showed off the true potential of Apple's hardware design flair in comparison to the plastic iPhone 3/3GS, now feels like a toy in side-by-side comparison with the iPhone 5.
I enjoyed the full glass body of the 4/4S due to the fact it felt 'safe' to put down with either side facing up on any surface. I find myself 'babying' the iPhone 5 much more than I did with my 4S. I'm incredibly meticulous in making sure it's placed glass side down, as to not scratch the anodised aluminium back.
As I liked to feel the presence of the phone in my pocket, I didn't initially enjoy the lighter feel (3.95 oz vs 4.94 oz). In hindsight, when now picking up my fiancés iPhone 4, I can't get over how much heavier and uncomfortable it feels to use.
Observations & Oddities
One marked improvement is the Lightning connector over the previous 30-pin connector. There's no 'right way' to plug it in, eliminating the need to fumble around when connecting the phone for charging.
My biggest gripe with the Lightning connector is the current unpopularity of the cable. With any previous iPhone using the 30-pin USB connector, I never had to worry about leaving the house without a USB cable as the majority of the time, a workmate, friend, or coffee shop would have a cable available for charging purposes. I expect this issue to fix itself in time as more consumers transition to the latest iPhone/iPad/s.
Frustration kicks in every single time I power up the camera on my fiancés iPhone 4. I can't believe how much quicker the launch and shutter animations take on the iPhone 5. There's a night-and-day difference between the time it takes to pull the phone out of my pocket, and start snapping pictures.
There's a fairly noticeable difference between the saturation and crispness of the Retina display on the iPhone 5 compared with the iPhone 4S.
In my usage, the battery life is very similar, if not slightly worse than that of the 4S. As is the same with each previous release of the iPhone dating back to the first 3G I owned, it's difficult to make the phone last a full day of regular use.
Apple decision to cease production of the charging dock was disappointing to say the least. The Apple branded dock was the most convenient and tidy way to charge the iPhone on my bedside table, and on my desk at work. The Elevation Dock is currently the best third-party alternative available.
Apple indecision in the most appropriate location is for the headphone jack on their portable devices is extremely frustrating when using multiple (different) iOS devices. The location of this port needs to remain the same across the iPhone, iPad, and iPod/s. It's incredibly awkward to continue 'normal' use of the phone while the port is in use.
If you're looking for a full review of the iPhone 5, there's only one which remains completely relevant and begs to be read. That's John Gruber's ever detailed and witty piece on Daring Fireball.