Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 29, 2013

iPhone 5S mania hits Kokomo

New operating system might be the big story

By Scott Smith
Kokomo Tribune

---- — OK, last year, I finally broke down and purchased a smartphone. It was none too soon, because Twitter is the most addictive thing ever invented, and I really needed something to fill up all of my free time.

But having an iPhone (mine’s a 4S) also gives me a frame of reference to some of the great debates and mysteries of the day, namely whether to upgrade to the new finger-swiping iPhone 5S, or whether to upgrade to i0S 7.

I went ahead and did the latter, mainly because I read a New York Times review which made it sound like the bee’s knees, particularly the carpenter’s level added to the compass app. Will wonders never cease.

With no pre-sales, the phones, first unveiled Sept. 10, were sure to be a big seller on the first day, and Apple reported selling 9 million units within the first few days, breaking last year’s mark for the iPhone 5.

Tyler Rose, who works second shift, normally isn’t out of bed at 7:30 a.m., but as a self-confessed “Apple Geek,” he wasn’t about to miss the launch, heading to the Kokomo AT&T store shortly after 8 a.m. Friday.

No one was getting a gold iPhone in Kokomo Friday. People who waited in line overnight at large city Apple stores weren’t getting gold iPhones.

Rose talked his girlfriend into signing a two-year contract with him, which allowed him to both give her his iPhone 5 (which he’d upgraded to in March) and to upgrade himself to a new 5C.

This was a day, he said, he’d been waiting for since watching Apple CEO Tim Cook unveil the new phone.

“I think Apple really did a good job on this release, and I haven’t heard of any issues,” Rose said. “I think they were losing some of their base to Samsung, and wanted to get them back.”

Not everyone wants a phone with the ability to use a bio-metric scan of a finger’s sub-epidural layer as a pass code, but the new feature is drawing positive reviews. For the most part.

Kokomo tech savant Drew Larison tweeted last week, “This fingerprint scanner is the most overrated and unnecessary thing I’ve ever seen on a phone.”

And U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., got in on the criticism, questioning Apple executives on what they plan to do with the bio-metric data they acquire.

But the new phones do have two processors, one of which is able to collect data on the user’s movements in a way which avoids draining the phone’s main power source.

The main processor is also capable of running all of the next generation apps, most of which haven’t been written or put on the market yet.

Gold wasn’t the only color unavailable Friday; one couple left the AT&T store empty-handed when they couldn’t find the 32GB 5S in white. They returned a short time later to look at other options, having struck out elsewhere.

There’s little question the phones are beginning to supplant laptop computers everywhere

Reviewer John Gruber of the Daring Fireball website, said the 5S “is, in some measures, computationally superior to the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro from just five years ago.”

Maybe that’s why Kokomo resident Kirk Paprocki was first in line Friday to get a 5S for his tech-savvy 10-year-old son.

“What interested him was the fingerprint scanner; that’s what sold him on it,” Paprocki said.

“He’s a little bit spoiled,” Paprocki added sheepishly. “But he’s a good kid; he’ll be really excited about this.”

So there, Louis C.K. At least some of us enjoy our phones.