Buying the next iPhone, will it be worth it?

Unless you’ve taken an extended vacation on a small remote island over the last few months, you might have heard some rumblings (a.k.a. rumors) about a new iPhone that will be announced by Apple on Tuesday the 4th. So where does that leave you? Well, it depends. Do you already have an iPhone? What model and what carrier is it tied to? How long have you had it for? If you don’t have an iPhone yet, what carrier do you want or need to choose for good service in your area? All these questions to answer, and yet, whether you’re thinking about upgrading from an older model or if you’re thinking about buying your first iPhone, the most important question just might be: “Is it worth it?”


After all, iOS 5 will be a free update to iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 users, so is it worth forking over all that dough to get a new iPhone that is yet to be announced? Is it worth dumping your old Blackberry, Android, webOS or feature phone? Is it worth getting out of a carrier contract prematurely only to pay an early termination fee?  Those questions are very difficult to answer seeing as we have no idea what the new iPhone will bring to the table in terms of carrier support, price, features, capabilities and looks! But we do have some tidbits of new information to look over.


The rumor sites all go on record to say that the new iPhone will include upgrades to its processor and adopt the A5 dual core chip that is currently used in the iPad 2,it will get more RAM, it will also see an upgraded 8 megapixel camera. Choice of storage in 8, 16, 32 and maybe even 64GB capacities. They also feel that there will be one iPhone model to manage the differing cellular network standards such as CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) and GSM (AT&T, apparently T-Mobile isn’t slated to carry the new iPhone this year) instead of two or three separate models, as they have with the current iPhone 4 and iPad 2.


So far, it doesn’t sound all too exciting. Will it be able to take advantage of true 4G (LTE) networks for ultrafast cellular data speeds? Will it incorporate NFC (Near Field Communications) technology to allow us to get rid of our wallets and pay for goods and services with only our phones? Will it look the same as an iPhone 4 or will it exhibit a new design with a larger display and be uber-thin? Will it sport a larger and curved glass display to hug the contours of our faces allowing us to better acknowledge the true contours of our visage? All valid questions, well, maybe not all valid, but still, lots of them. The answers, however, are a lot more elusive.

What interests me about the new iPhone, isn’t so much the exact hardware specifications, although that is an important consideration as it relates to the competition when weighing the benefits of buying a new product. I want to know what I can do better or what more I can do with it that I can’t do with my current phone. How will it make my life easier, safer, more productive?


The much rumored speech-to-text integration, dubbed Assistant, is what I am very interested in. Having this speech-to-text integration in iOS itself gives you the ability to dictate a text or email message, book a restaurant or hotel reservation, locate and share information with friends, find facts and answers to a multitude of questions via Wolfram Alpha, as well as other tasks by just speaking into your iPhone! Apple’s acquisition of Siri, and Nuance’s speech-to-text technology should make this experience really stand head and shoulders above the competition, (I’m looking at you Google).


What third party developers are able to create for the new iteration of an already awesome product is what’s most exciting. Since Apple is approaching this from a software platform perspective, I believe that their integrated hardware and software enhancements will advance the platform even further ahead of their competition. This will in turn create an even more vibrant software ecosystem that will lure more developers to create new applications that couldn’t have been developed before or improve upon the multitude of apps that are now available on the App Store, for all of us to take advantage of and enrich our lives for the better. There are a slew of new features in iOS 5 that have already been announced for users and developers.


Now it would seem that a new iPhone with even more advanced features will be announced tomorrow. This announcement should continue to keep many of us excited to be living in this fast moving, ever evolving mobile era and maybe it just might make it “worth it” after all to buy that shiny new iPhone!


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