The new iPhone 5 has a different motor that powers its vibrations than its predecessors and while it's been described as "louder and rougher and just more 'violent,'" this is a change for the better. The new phone part was first noticed during an iFixit teardown but those are the words of The Next Web's Mathew Panzarino. CNET's Don Reisinger also describes it as a "louder, harsher effect." Those may not be words often equated with good things, but the change will please at least some iPhone owners, who complained of the phone's faint buzz.
Back when Apple released the Verizon iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S, it went for a quieter vibration over the 4 that TUAW's Chris Roson described as a "one that you might not even hear from more than a few feet away if your iPhone's lying on a table; if you're holding the phone in your hand, you might barely hear the vibration at all." He appreciated the toned-down vibrate but not all users agreed. "I always thought the iPhone 4 vibrate was too weak. I've missed plenty of calls because of that. I'd hate the 4S' vibrator to be weaker, please tell me it isn't," wrote one user on the MacTalk forum. Others called it "annoying" on the MacRumors forums, where there is a whole other discussion about why the phone "vibrates so feebly." From personal experience, I miss a lot of calls when I carry the iPhone 4 in my purse. Others at The Atlantic Wire have told me they can miss calls even when the phone's in their pocket.
Some might find the new buzz too intense, especially since that is the phone's way of silencing itself—the smoother the better, they say. However, we'd argue the vibrate shouldn't be for blocking out the world. It should offer a less obnoxious alternative to a full volume ring-tone, that at the same time alerts the phone owner that someone is trying to reach them. With this new, more intense ringer, the iPhone 5 sounds like it does that. And for those looking to shut out the world, the phone is better equipped than ever with iOS 6's do not disturb mode which sends calls from people not on a special list straight to voicemail.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.