Ah yes, another year, a new iPhone to buy. That’s pretty much become the mantra of Cupertino, but doesn’t answer the question of if you *should* buy it or not. I’ll offer my advice here.
Note: I have pre-ordered an iPhone 5 using the same logic I’m spelling out below.
First, what are you using now. If you’re on an Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Widows Phone or feature phone and want to move to the iPhone, then it makes sense to go with the latest model. Another great choice, however, would be to go to the iPhone 4S, as it will cost you much less and still runs the latest version of the iOS software and nearly all apps that are out there.
Verdict: Yes go for the 5, but if you’re looking to save money and don’t mind the smaller screen, go for the 4S instead.
Already own an iPhone? OK, then the question is “which one have you got now?”
3GS or earlier: It’s time to upgrade. These phones will soon be unable – or are already unable – to use iOS releases as they come out, which means you’re missing security and functionality updates. The 5 is the logical choice for you.
4: Definitely time to upgrade. While the iPhone 4 (which I have myself) is a great phone, it shows it’s age when running iOS 6. Apps can be sluggish, switching between them can be a frustrating lag-fest, etc.
4S: Wait. Unless you specifically need the bigger screen, there’s not a ton of benefit to going to the 5 just yet. The 4S has Siri, great battery life, works great with iOS 6 and is still 100% supported by Apple. So the better bet would be to hold the 4S for another year and then jump to the iPhone 6 (or whatever they call it).
Verdict: iPhone 4 or earlier, time to upgrade. iPhone 4S, hold off unless you need the bigger screen.
What’s new in the iPhone 5 is well documented on many other sites, so I won’t go into details on that now. What’s important is to really look at how you use your phone, what apps you need to run, and if you’re ready to swap out all of your sync/charge cables just yet. If you are on an earlier model (before the 4S), or if you need the bigger screen, then the 5 makes sense. Otherwise, opt for the 4S if you’re making the switch and want to save cash – it’ll still be useable and stable for at least another year or so. Go with the 5 if you can afford it and want to make the switch to a phone you’ll use for the next two to three years.