If you haven't by now made up your mind about the iPhone 5 you probably have little-to-no interest in the device. Which by our last count makes you virtually unique among sentient human beings.
If you have already made up your mind about the new iPhone, however, you should think again. Because whatever the opinion you hold about the new iPhone, it's wrong.
We've just spent two weeks with Apple's flagship device, and we think we're able to prove both that it's the greatest phone ever made, and that nobody in their right mind should buy one.
In a two-part special, we're about to prove that you're wrong. Either way.
PART ONE: Why You're Wrong To Love The New iPhone
PART TWO: Why You're Wrong To Hate The New iPhone
PART TWO: WHY YOU'RE WRONG TO LOVE THE NEW IPHONE
DESIGN:The iPhone 5 is just a chunk of screen.
Is the design of the iPhone a nicely-milled, minimalist statement? Or just really boring? If you step outside the reality-distortion field for a moment, you'll see this is a design team that has painted itself into a corner. There are no rough edges on the new iPhone, but there is no joy either. No character, no inspiration, and no energy. This is a generic-looking phone, and while people like it when they're holding it they don't notice when they aren't.
MAPS:Without Maps, iOS 6 is broken.
iOS doesn't have a bad mapping app. It doesn't have one at all. Towns are missing. Long-defunct train stations are inexplicably revived and relocated. Woolworth's is back. Woolworths! The data set in iOS 6 Maps is so incomplete that even Apple is recommending you use Microsoft's solution instead.
Why is this such a problem? Because while Apple might tell the world that its great innovation was the App Store, iTunes or its spiffy touchscreen calculator, it wasn't: Maps was - and is - the killer feature of the smartphone revolution. In its current form, the iPhone hasn't just brought a spoon to a knife fight - it hasn't brought a pair of trousers.
You can debate whether or not the iPhone 5 actually needs some of these, but it is an objective fact that other devices offer all or a combination of the following features, for the same price as the iPhone 5: NFC, wireless charging, bigger screens, better speakers, generic charging ports, customisable keyboards, on-screen widgets/live tiles, expandable memory, replaceable batteries, more powerful cameras and better low-light photo sensors.
iPhone 5 (white and black)
iPhone 5 Black
iPod Nano 7th Generation
iPod Touch (Side View)
SOFTWARE:Apple Maps aren't the only broken App in iOS 6.
There are at least two apps in iOS 6 which make recommending the iPhone 5 difficult. The first is Podcasts, which while pretty to look at is buggy as all hell. This app - currently lingering at one-and-a-half stars on Apple's own store - doesn't remember which podcasts are played and which are new. It deletes episodes at random. It fails to load almost 50% of the time. And even if you set the app to stop downloading files in the background on 3G, it won't listen. Instead it will happily download all 200 episodes of Smodcast - which you'd previously marked as listened to - until your monthly data limit runs out and you have to fork over another £10 to check your email.
Meanwhile, Apple's much-vaunted almost-NFC-but-not tickets and coupons app Passbook is a wasteland, where only four services (two of them airlines) are currently signed up. Siri also still feels like a beta product, after almost a year in active use. Apple's previously rock-solid iOS software line-up is starting to feel like, well, a mess.
DETAILS:It's the little things.
Apple has always made its reputation on the small details that combine to make a product more than the sum of its parts. The iPhone 5 has that too - just in reverse. Why are there ten speaker holes on the left of the new Lightning port and 14 on the right? Why is the numeral in the Calendar app icon not centred? Why does the lock button jiggle when you brush it with your finger? Why doesn't Siri know about cricket? Why can't you delete music from your device manually if you use iTunes Match? Why don't photos use the whole width of the screen to display by default? These things matter. It's time Apple remembered it.