I Can't Think of an iPhone 5 Feature That Would Make Me Buy It

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I love my iPhone 4. It does everything I ask of it and more. I read Kindle books on it. I tweet. I do basic and advanced iPhone photography (defined as Instagram and Camera+). I record a lot of sound and sometimes post it with Audioboo. I stream music with Rdio and unlock my Zipcars with their app. I play fantasy football and read longform with Instapaper. Before I realized that I was wasting too much time, I played Angry Birds and Bouncedown. This phone is sturdy and this phone is fast. Having had the iPhone 3G and the 3GS, I can say that the iPhone 4 is a much better device than either.

This is all great and makes me a loyal iPhone user. But there's a problem for Apple at the company prepares to launch its new phone tomorrow. I can't imagine what they might unveil in the iPhone 5 that would make me throw down money for the new device. I'm sure there will be upgrades. The camera will be better. The messaging might work differently. The form factor will evolve.

But I like my current phone so much that I'm not primed for a new device launch. And besides, now that iPads have a regular release cycle, too, I've got to think about whether I'd like an iPhone 5 at some point or an iPad 3 at some point. My guess is that the latter will be a bigger upgrade.

Apple reinvented the smartphone category. But that they can't do that every year.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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