I've decided to buy an iPhone 5. It's not as if I'll be the only one, but I'm sharing my thoughts because until today, I was not sure I would upgrade. The thing I did not see coming is that the purchase decision is as much about the resale value of my old iPhone as it is about the features of the new one.
I wrote recently about spending two years with the iPhone 4, and it has been a great experience. In that post, I said "it will take quite a good offering to convince me to part with cash and my old phone for a new one." When I said that, I did not anticipate just how little cash it would take to make the upgrade happen.
Everyone is talking about 4G, but speed is a non-issue for me. It was hardly part of my purchase decision at all. 3G has been good for me in DC. I wish it was faster, yes, but if you download more than several gigabytes you will either get throttled (if you have "unlimited" data) or cut off because you hit your cap. This means that I can't do anything truly new on 4G/LTE. The things I could do on 3G, I'll be able to do faster now. However, anything that requires so much data that it was not possible over the older, slower, connection is still out of reach.
My fiancée has the 4S, and she's not upgrading; I think if I had the 4S then I'd also skip this model. However, coming from the 4, I am really looking forward to the new phone. The camera is going to be the biggest difference for me day-to-day. Faster and better low light performance is even more important than the increase in megapixels.
There are numerous other improvements that, while not convincing on their own, add up to a nice package. More importantly, I sold my old phone for $175 to gazelle.com today. I could have gotten more on ebay (it is really amazing how much resale value these things retain), but that's extra hassle and dealing with bidders who might not pay. I haven't decided which model phone I'll get, but it'll probably be the base 16GB (although I wish the base was 32GB now). Granted, I'll have to sign a contract, but the ability to move up 2 generations for $25
out-of-pocket was a huge part of my decision. I am considering the 32GB model as well as applecare, so I may end up spending a bit more, but I have definitely decided to buy.