Last night, while visiting an Apple Store to demo the Sennheiser Momentum
, I had the chance to try out the iP5 again and liked it far more.
Some people might suggest my improved experience was due to the special euphoria gas pumped into any Apple environment, which they would say because of the irritation gas that permeates their own.
I gather the pump wasn't running on the particular night of my visit.
The real problem with my previous iP5 encounter might have been Sprint's unintentionally awful demo setup and the display area itself. Since the phone was secured to its stand and impossible to actually hold (perhaps due to the surge in theft at launch), the experience of the phone as a tactile object wasn't available, and that's often the deciding factor for many users' purchases.
As a held object, the iP5 does not disappoint. The relief effect of the buttons and the feel and look of the thing in your hand is quite persuasive. Not persuasive enough to make me endure the transition from Google Maps to beta ware, but an iPhone in the hand is a far more sculpted and less generic object than an SIII, or even the X One in Sprint's striking black and red iteration.
Don't get me wrong, though. In terms of performance, GPS capablities, customization and SD and battery options, the SIII is clearly the better (and less expensive) phone. On the practical level, that makes it the better phone for my non-musical uses.
Disclaimer: Don't bother reading the rest of this post unless music capabilities on a smartphone are important to you.
At the Sprint Store, the paucity of apps on the demo model reminded me of everything that's limiting about the steel-colonnaded garden which is the App Store. But at the physical Apple Store, the presence of Garage Band and other music apps on the iP5 also reminded me that calculated long-term software development for music, and the comparative smoothness of the UI, make this a musician's phone just as Macs are used most often for professional recording (at least in the States).
Jellybean makes the overall UI experience tighter on Android, and that could
result in less janky and therefore more practical music apps. But I've yet to see any good ones available on Google Play to test their practicality with the SIII. The ones I've tried have been awful.
The ability to use virtually any external DAC with an SIII (and an OTG cable) is a selling point for audiophiles, but a lot of actual musicians would find a fully usable copy of Garage Band to be a better selling point, especially since it works with Logic Pro.
For those who don't know or can't remember, Logic is not some flashy morsel of app candy. Thirty years ago, it was an import from Berlin: an Atari ST application beloved for its time-locking features and lack of latency. It became available on PCs well before Apple bought it and made it impossible to get on any other platform.
Demo-level music composition -- notating, tracking, recording and editing -- is the hardest thing to find done well on a smartphone because so few users care about it and almost no one creates hardware/software integration smooth enough to make it practical. Google's collaboration series is getting there, but so far, the premium dedicated software just isn't available.
For those who travel and resent having to write and keep track of actual sheet music, the development of music creation software on the iPhone and iPad makes them clear choices for musicians who would have chosen Samsung, ASUS or Nokia iterations otherwise.
All of which doesn't mean I'm necessarily going to choose the iP5 when the time comes in the next four months. So far, I'm sold on open options, sane pricing and removable SD cards.
But that second encounter does make the iP5 and the experience of using it a lot more attractive.