I got my iPhone 5s, and I LOVE it. (Space Gray, 32 GB, ordered via AT&T because the Apple Store hated me at preorder o’clock.) 1AT&T did a good job with all this; surprisingly, much better than Apple. 2 I was debating getting a larger hard drive, because I love having a massive music library on there and never having to think about space management when I shoot HD video or what have you. But after some research we decided to stick with AT&T as our carrier, and as such, we’re grandfathered into an unlimited data plan. So I decided I can rely more on streaming services. 3

As soon as I knew I had a phone en route, I went ahead ordered the yellow leather case and an extra two-meter Lightning cable from Apple. 4 I forgot to pay for fancy shipping (as I usually do when a slower but free option is available), so I just recently got this package. I’m glad I have them, but I have seriously mixed feelings about this case.

Just as I feared, the headphone jack takes you back to iPhone 1 days when nothing fits in because the hole is too deep. (Har har; go make the That’s What She Said joke and come back when you’re done.) I do still have some headphoney accessories designed to work with my original iPhone, but the vast majority are now defunct because they’re much more cheaply manufactured than Apple’s cables. 5

The headphone stuff is annoying on its own, but gets worse when coupled with Lightning cable aperture issues. Because that hole is also too small. I’m mostly OK with only buying Lightning cables that have a smallish aperture from now on. But how, HOW could apple design their Lightning adapter at 30-pin width, and then make a case that doesn’t accommodate said adapter? Argh! Because the leather case is incredibly difficult to remove (and who wants to constantly have to remove a case anyway), this is very irritating to me given our plethora of 30-pin items. I’m going to have to find some janky-ass third-party Lightning adaptor with a small enough girth (shut up) to work with them, or suck it up and spend a lot on new Lightning cables. 6 And as my Internet Pal Keith pointed out, the opening is too small for even non-30-pin choices. I’ve long thought Amazon Basics cables were WAY too bulky, but this still sucks:


Anyway, aperture frustrations aside, here are some not particularly well sorted hardware and accessory musings:

  • I hate how the bottom headphone holes are asymmetrical to make room for the headphone jack. Yes, I realize I’m insane. But it’s ugly, you know? And that much more obvious with the leather case.
  • The whole jack on the bottom thing takes a while to get used to, coming from a 4S! I don’t have strong feelings about this, but I certainly haven’t adjusted yet.
  • So does the TouchID sensor. I mostly remember to use it now, but gosh do I wish it worked from a sleep state.
  • I keep running into circumstances that still require me to enter my full AppleID password. Bummer! I thought I’d be freer of that. It feels like I still have to enter my AppleID password like 50% of the time. I need a less-mobile-keyboard-annoying password, I guess.
  • I’m sad to report that I don’t see a huge difference in the allegedly warm amber flash. I need to try it out on more humans instead of just cats, though.
  • Burst mode is FANTASTIC. But don’t you dare import into iPhoto before you remembered to clear a burst! I wish there were an iPhoto prompt about this. Maybe in Mavericks, but I doubt it.
  • Again, I know I’m insane, but it irks me that the inside of the camera aperture is black plastic, whereas the Lightning and headphone jack openings are just that crappy same-color yellow plasticky sealant. It’s inconsistent looking and less cleanly applied and yes I already said I know I’m insane. Look, you knew what you were getting into reading this. It doesn’t look “Apple,” OK?
  • The yellow leather case is a much greener yellow than anticipated. It looks positively chartreuse compared to my more goldenrod-colored lamps in my office. Looks greener than the yellow 5c too, though I haven’t compared in person.
  • The leather feels lovely and seems to hold up well to dirt/scuffing despite not being all that shiny or glossy a finish.
  • The top button is *significantly* harder to depress, but I’m hoping this softens up over time. The volume buttons are fine. The NY Times Symphony Scandal switch still feels easy enough for me to access, though Grant was annoyed by it being harder for him to get at. I’m not bothered.
  • I really, really like how the entire face is completely naked in this case.
  • I tried a Titan screen protector and I want to set it on fire.
  • Apparently Apple didn’t really plan ahead with the 5s dock. Read the comments about how it obscures the Home Button and how the jack doesn’t work for calls.
  • Despite all this kvetching, I really do like the leather case and plan to keep it. I just wish it felt better planned.

 

 

  1.  I went to bed, forgetting it was preorder night, and woke up with a start and scared my pal Jean who was kind enough to host me while I was in Portland pretending to be at XOXOfest. Jean sympathised and calmed me down after Apple said it hated me, and she helped me figure out what were reasonable choices to make (i.e. don’t go get in a line in the cold, dummy; just order it online via AT&T and wait a COUPLE days. You’ll hardly be the only one. Jean is so smart. And it’s amazingly helpful to have  a buddy in that frenzied moment!)

    So that’s how that all went. Let’s see how this works, embedding tweets in footnotes.

  2. The order went through, their site functioned as intended at midnight (unlike Apple’s confusingly punitive error, heh) and the phone got to me WAY sooner than their original estimate of mid-October. (I received it the Monday after the preorder.) Of COURSE I only articulate this thought after I receive the damn thing, but I must say, we should really be thankful of all the logistics-level workers who pitch in every time around, from China right on through to US warehouses and delivery services. It must be such an absolute pain in the ass clusterf*ck every damn year. I hope people get overtime pay AND a free iPhone for their hustle.
  3. Especially since I spent that extra hundred bucks on AppleCare(+?) this time around instead, as it now covers accidental shatterings. I considered getting gold, but it mattered more to me that my phone get here sooner, especially since I always planned to slap a case on it anyhow. (I’m a menace so the AppleCare and the case are just non-negotiables for me.) And I’ve missed having a black screen surround.
  4. I like the extra length for awkward coffee shop outlets; very glad you can get that first-party now. Was this also available for Apple brand 30-pin cables and I just never noticed?
  5. Apple brand cables always last me a good couple years, even if they look like this at the end. Seriously, part of why I’m so whiny about all this noise is that the multiple ten-dollar solutions I’m going to buy to make this new case work are going to crap out after about a month of light-to-medium usage. Happens every time. And I haven’t found a single “high-end” third-party provider to solve this. Yet I keep thinking it’s worthwhile to order cheap-ass Hong Kongian cables on Amazon; go figure.
  6. In browsing Amazon options, I see many comments noting that third-party Lightning cables don’t work with iOS 7 which seems bonkers but what do I know. So shop carefully.