Transition from the iPhone 4S was quite easy. I prepared for the transition by using iTunes to back up my iPhone 4S the night on Thursday night (the night before getting the iPhone 5). I separately used HandBase’s sync functions to back up its data files to my computer.
Apple normally releases a new version of iTunes (the computer application that’s required for sync’ing to your computer or copying files from your computer) about a week before they release a new operating system for the iPhones and iPads. So, the first thing I did was to upgrade iTunes on my desktop computer.
iOS6 works with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. After you download the new version of iTunes, you should get the opportunity to download iOS6. Note that not all functions work with all iPhones. Siri, for example, only works with the 4S and the iPhone 5.
Apple normally releases the new operating system several days before the release of the new iPhone or my iPhone 4S to iOS 6. My second step was to upgrade the operating system on my iPhone 4S to the new iOS6. iTunes routinely checks for new operating systems, but it only checks every week or so. Fortunately, there’s a button to force a check. That found iOS6. As usual, with choices of "Download and install" and "Download only," I picked the Download Only option. Once the file is downloaded, you can click the install button, or just disconnect the iPhone and connect it again. At that point, iTunes will ask if you want to install the new version.
There were some reported problems for the earliest iOS6 adopters on Wednesday — their wireless connections didn’t work. By the time I updated Wednesday evening, all was well. If you’re running iOS5, I think you’ll be happy with the upgrade to iOS6, which works on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, as well as being installed on the new iPhone 5.
I was in line at one of the local AT&T stores about 7:15a.m. on Friday morning to get my iPhone 5. They opened at 8a.m. My time waiting in line and purchasing the iPhone went by quickly. I had my new iPhone 5 and was leaving by 8:45.
I ended up getting the black, 32GB iPhone 5. I wanted the black, 64GB version, but the store employees said they wouldn’t have them for a couple more weeks. THey had the white 64GB model. Other than the 64GB/black version, I think the other size/color versions were available.
At that point, I had a working iPhone 5 but none of my information on it. I stopped by a local coffee house for café au lait and beignets. I played with Safari, the iPhone’s web browser, using the 4G LTE wireless service. Nice!
Getting my files and apps onto my new iPhone 5 was easier than I remembered from earlier upgrades.
I hooked the new iPhone’s new cable (new, smaller "Lightning" connector) to my desktop computer. iTunes started automatically and asked if I wanted to configure the new phone as a new phone or if I wanted to restore my 4S backup to it. I picked the Restore option.
The restoration went smoothly. Then, after the restor was complete, I saw that iTunes now called my iPhone 5 "tas’s iPhone 4S." Fortunately, this was not an indication of a problem. Simply clicking on the name, in the Devices section of iTunes left headings column, allowed me to change the name for this device.
At that point, all was almost perfect. New apps were still there and the old apps were now installed the way I had previously arranged the screens.
One exception I have found is the new Maps application. Apple junked the Google Maps app in favor of their own version. It sure would be nice if it was readable…
As you can see above, and which was not mentioned in any of the prior-to-release reviews, the color choices are abysmal. Beige background? OK. White streets that are scaled for relative size? OK. Together? Unreadable — too little contrast. It sure would be nice to be able to see the streets on the map!
As a plus, the new Maps application offers turn-by-turn voice directions, just like an automobile GPS (not available on iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4). I haven’t tried it, but I doubt I’ll ever use it. You see, I like to glance at the GPS to see what’s coming up — and if I can’t see the streets when I hold the iPhone in my hands, I sure won’t be able to see them if I figured out how to stand the iPhone on the car’s dashboard. Yes, folks, Apple missed on the usability of this app. That doesn’t happen too often.
The other exception was that emails on the old phone didn’t restore to the new phone. That hasn’t worked on earlier iPhones, either. Apple must think that emails are transitory and don’t need to be up. THey’re wrong (another hint is that the iPhone, unlike the iPad, does not allow you to create folders to store emails).
Solving the "it didn’t move" problem: you can use wireless networking with the old phone, even after converting your service to the new phone (before you clear it to give or sell to someone else) to forward the old emails to yourself. If there is other information missing (i haven’t found any), you could use the iPhone to select the text, copy it, and paste it into an email to send to yourself. Then, download the email to your new phone.
Of course, you can always use your old iPhone as an iTouch. Videos, music, email, web surfing, everything but phone service, are available via wireless networking.
A final though about iOS6 — nice improvement on downloading updates to apps you’ve already purchased (or downloaded for free, if they were free) — you no longer have to enter your password to download updates to Apps that are already on your iOS6 iPhone.
I’m enjoying my new iPhone and look forward to a couple upcoming events. Grove ( www.grovemade.com ) hand-makes bamboo cases for iPhones, and I’m in the waiting line for one. The other event (?) is the availability of additional cables for the iPhone 5. Since Apple used a new, proprietary connector for the iPhone 5 instead of the ubiquitous micro-USB and mini-USB connectors, we can only wait for additional, optional cables to be released by Apple.