I'll Buy the iPhone Out of Convenience, Nothing More

29/08/2014 16:58 BST | Updated 31/10/2014 15:59 GMT

When the iPhone 6 is inevitably released in September it'll be with a mixture of apathy and regret that I'll start working out how best to buy it. You see the iPhone has become a purchase of convenience, nothing more.

As a technology journalist it should come as no surprise that whenever a friend or relative wants to buy something that requires electricity they will ask me what I think. I'm always flattered that people value my opinion enough to spend their hard-earned cash on something I've recommended and until now I've been confident that every single product I've suggested was the right choice. The reason behind this boils down to a simple principle: I won't recommend it unless I'd be prepared to go down to the shop with them and buy one for myself.

This principle remained true until the iPhone 5 came along. I went along and bought a 64GB model and at the time I was, it's fair to say, impressed. It didn't crash like my HTC Legend had and it had thousands more apps than my Nokia Lumia 800. Since then however I've started to have a realisation which is that for me, at least aesthetically, Apple's iPhone has lost its 'wow' factor.

Now there are many that will argue I'm making judgements on the iPhone 6 when it hasn't come out yet. In truth though, it has. We've all seen iOS 8, so we know what the software will be like, and the phone itself has been leaked 600 times.

So yes, I am making a judgement based on my previous experiences and the information that's put in front of me. It's no different to what every other person who's thinking of buying an iPhone will be doing right now.

iphone 5

There's no denying the iPhone 5s is a truly impressive piece of technology and to all intents and purposes it looks like the iPhone 6 will be much of the same. Neither however have made me want to run down to Carphone Warehouse and upgrade early.

For starters I don't think the iPhone 5s is a particularly good-looking phone. It's a marked improvement on the 4 but it still doesn't catch my attention. Maybe I've just seen too many, but then I still think the MacBook Air is a triumph of design. Then there's the iPhone 6, which as far as we can tell (from a blurred army of photos) looks like a weird mix of the iPhone 3G and HTC's One.

It's not just the design that blankets me in apathy. The iPhone's battery life hasn't exactly been setting any gold standards now has it. Fine if you work in an office, not so great if you actually plan to go outside for more than a few hours.

There's the screen: how many friends do you know whose iPhone is a shattered mess? I can think of at least five people. Maybe all my friends are really clumsy, or maybe they're not.

It should be noted at this point that Apple could be about to solve that last point with a slab of sapphire. It couldn't come any sooner.

Now it's a proven fact that we are now forming emotional attachments with our smartphones, so why are we not buying them using that same logic? I wouldn't buy a car that I thought was ugly, or indeed OK looking, I'd buy it because on some small level at least, I would be happy to see it every day.

The HTC Legend may have suffered from the occasional crash but at the time it was a stunning piece of technology; it was one of the first phones to feature an aluminium-unibody and while it didn't become the world's most popular handset critics agreed it was easily the best-designed Android phone at the time. In fact it looked more suited to Apple's own family of products than the iPhone 4 did.

htc legend

Ultimately that was why I bought it, because every time I took it out of my pocket, I was happy to hold it.

The same goes for the Lumia 800. It was beautifully, radically simple. That all-black polycarbonate shell was basically bulletproof while the OLED screen looked beautiful.

nokia lumia 800

Now they weren't necessarily practical phones to use, but the emotional attachment I had to them meant that I was willing to overlook their downsides.

The iPhone's downside is that while it's the most practical phone you can buy, there's simply no emotional attachment. It's just a black, white or gold piece of metal with a screen that literally everyone else has.

I'm excited about the ecosystem and what Apple's trying to do with integration, I'm just less excited about how it's going to look in my hand.

So will I buy one? Yes. Will I be thankful that my iPhone will be wirelessly synced with all my other Apple products? Certainly. Will I feel like I'm holding something that's truly mine? Not really.