Can you feel it yet? The slow, subtle build-up in peer pressure. The smug, self-satisfied looks from that guy in the office who pre-ordered the iPhone 5 at midnight. The questions from friends who assume that, because you like tech, you're probably getting one. The calculations you catch yourself making, wondering if you could actually afford it, just in theory.
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(You're not alone: the hashtag #ButYouGotThatiPhone5Tho was the top worldwide trend on Twitter Friday).
Well, stay strong, my tempted friend. The iPhone 5 is a great phone, no doubt; another solid design achievement from Apple. It's thinner, lighter and taller. But it's not that huge a leap forward in hardware.
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If you already have an iPhone, you're about to get a whole new smartphone experience anyway. If you don't, consider that you can get pretty much the same device for a lot cheaper -- and that there are now one or two Android phones (and even a Windows phone) actually worth investigating.
Here are a whole bunch of reasons to print out, tape to your desk, and keep yourself iPhone 5-less.
Two Words: iOS 6.
If you already own an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S, you're about to feel like you just bought a new smartphone without spending a dime. On September 19, Apple releases the operating system iOS 6, which isn't just any old software upgrade -- it's a quantum leap forward.
iOS 6 adds a lot of fun new stuff, such as Facebook and Twitter integration that lets you post from anywhere in your phone, and the new Maps app (a replacement for Google Maps, which you'll likely have to download again separately).
Maps isn't just awesome 3D cityscapes, it's Tom Tom-powered turn-by-turn navigation. You get a top-of-the-range GPS device for free.
Safari adds Reading Lists, a free version of Instapaper. The Passbook app gives you access to all sorts of loyalty cards, boarding passes and movie tickets. You can see and add comments to your friends' photo streams. If you already have a 4S, Siri will become a whole lot more useful (she'll finally be able to launch apps for you, for one thing).
The $99 4S
Speaking of the iPhone 4S, here's one little-noted announcement at the Apple launch: Apple is dropping the price of its previous smartphone to $99 for a 16GB model.
The iPhone 4S is the device I own, and it's the number one reason I feel comfortable not upgrading. Apple perfected the improvements in the iPhone 4 (which is now free with contract), added a much faster chip, and Siri. The 8-megapixel camera works like a treat; the iPhone 5 camera may have improved on it in a variety of ways, but it too is stuck at 8MP.
And who wants a taller iPhone anyway? Think of it this way: the 4S will fit more easily in more pockets.
Patience Has Its Rewards
This time next year we'll likely have the iPhone 5S. The S cycle, we can start to see after two of them, is where Apple tweaks the iPhone to perfection. Because the number isn't changing, the company tends to add more features to justify your upgrade.
The 5S, for example, will almost certainly have the NFC payment technology Apple held back this time, just as the 5 had the LTE functionality that could easily have gone into the 4S. (LTE, by the way, is hardly ready for prime time across most of the US; give it another year.)
So if you hold out for the 5S, you'll be the one looking smug in front of all those iPhone 5 users, especially when you get to pay with your phone.
You Have Options
Even an iOS-lover like myself has to recognize that the competitive landscape has shifted in the last year. Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, is a much more powerful OS than Ice Cream Sandwich ever was. Google Now makes for a more useful personal assistant than Siri (though the jury is waiting to convene on her iOS 6 upgrade).
When the 4S launched, I couldn't think of a single Android phone I was remotely excited about. Now, if I were starting from scratch, I'd do due diligence and check out a tempting trio of Androids: the Galaxy SIII, the Nexus, and the HTC One X.
You Have Phone-free Apple Options
If you're starting afresh, consider also that you have options within the Apple ecosystem -- and I'm not just talking about the heavily discounted 4S and the free iPhone 4. If you don't live your life on the phone, the iPad and the new iPod Touch become viable options.
The fifth generation iPod Touch, also announced Wednesday, is pretty much the iPhone 5 without phone service. You could theoretically make most of your calls using cheap VOIP services such as Skype when you're within Wifi range, and get a cheap flip phone for when you're out and about. Get a Google Voice number, and calls will reach you no matter which device you're on.
Pay-as-you-go VOIP phone service is possible on an iPad with 3G. Connect with a bluetooth headset and you're good to go. Or wait for the 7-inch iPad Mini, reportedly coming next month, which will be even more portable.
Are you holding off on the iPhone 5? What do you think the future holds for Apple's smartphone line? Let us know in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.