Guest post: The iPhone 5 has arrived

Here we are.

The iPhone 5 officially launches today and the hype leading up to it has now turned into anticipation for actually getting the device in hand to play with. People have pre-ordered and lined up — if that sounds familiar, that’s because it happens with each iPhone launch.

Line up at the Toronto Eaton Centre

This is one of the biggest device launches of the year, and the pre-order numbers (over 2 million in just the first 24 hours) seem to indicate that. It’s stating the obvious that consumers want to get their hands on Apple’s latest handset, and there may even be some who would like to get one of the models that came before it.

In my previous post, I outlined what the iPhone 5 has to offer and included some tips on selling and buying an iPhone on Kijiji. And with the focus centred on the newest iPhone, the preceding models kind of get lost in the shuffle. Still, just because there’s a new iPhone hitting the market, it doesn’t mean there’s no demand for the iPhone 4S, or even the 4.

Only two days ago, Apple released iOS 6, the latest update to the iPhone’s operating system. Over 200 new features (though many will fly under the radar) are part of the rollout, and older iPhones as far back as the 3GS are supported. That means that a lot of these features will be relevant to the iPhone 4S and 4, and in effect, make those handsets better, too.

So, what are they? Well, the new Maps app developed by Apple now replaces Google Maps, so you can get spoken turn-by-turn directions, for driving, cycling or as a pedestrian. It’s true that this new app has gotten some negative press so far because of various kinks, but these can be fixed with software updates, so you will have to be patient and muddle through the inconsistencies for now. There’s no Google Maps app in the App Store, but you can still access it through a mobile browser and save a bookmark to your home screen. That’s a quick fix to at least keep your options open.

You also get a Canadianized Siri voice assistant to search for local places or ask for information. Find a restaurant you want and make a reservation straight from within the app. You can even ask it for the score in whatever sports game you want. Naturally, because the technology behind Siri was only made available on the 4S, you won’t get any of this on the iPhone 4. Keep that in mind in case you like the idea of having an assistant.

Passbook is designed to be a repository for everything from movie tickets to your airline boarding pass. You can also keep store loyalty cards and coupons in there, too. It’s still pretty barebones right now, but it’s early and will take time to get retailers and airlines to jump on board.

Facebook and Twitter integration is much improved, letting you even update your Facebook status by voicing it through Siri. Snap a photo and you can upload it to either site with a tap. Facebook, in particular, is pretty much tied into every core iOS app, so you’ll be seeing plenty of the social network here.

Other things include FaceTime video chatting over a cellular connection, sharing Photo Streams with friends, auto-replying with a message when you decline a call and creating panoramas with the Camera app.

There are more features, of course, but the point is that there is an iPhone on Kijiji in your budget range. If you can’t necessarily dish out the money for an iPhone 5, or you prefer to start with a slightly older model in the 4S, you have options.

Sure, the hardware is obviously not the same, and you will have a smaller screen than the average smartphone out there now, but you will still get the best iOS has to offer. That counts for something, especially considering that you can scour Kijiji’s iPhone landing page for an affordable iPhone of your choice.

Some sellers might even sweeten the deal a little bit by adding a case or other accessories to give you some added value. And if they don’t, finding sellers with accessories won’t be hard at all. Do a search and you’ll see for yourself.

Now, because you’re likely to buy an iPhone 4S or 4 used, there are some things you might want to consider or look out for when scouring the site:

–       Do your research so you know what iOS 6 features will and won’t work, depending on which previous iPhone model you’re looking at. Read the fine print on Apple’s site here.

–       Always, always, always consider the internal storage size of the phone you want to buy. You might think 16GB is good for you, but if you’re an app junkie or you have a ton of music, that space will fill up fast. Contrarily, don’t go for a 64GB model if you don’t plan on downloading a lot of apps or storing it with a ton of your own content.

–       Good photos from the seller matter even more in these cases because you don’t get to touch the merchandise as the buyer. Don’t be shy in asking questions that give you a better sense of what the usage was like, and what imperfections the phone might have.

–       As a seller, be descriptive and honest in appraising your iPhone. The most important blemishes that hurt your chances are ones on the screen. A flawless screen with a signs of wear on the back is not necessarily a bad thing, but be clear about that and take photos to back up your assessment. Buyers will appreciate the honesty.

–       If you are selling accessories with the phone, a group shot with the items flanking the phone is always a good idea. Links to the products on the Web is also great at offering resources to back up your value proposition

–       It doesn’t hurt to ask the seller if he or she would be willing to unlock the phone for you in advance (in case it’s locked to a specific carrier in the description), but prepare yourself in case you have to go about doing it on your own.

The good news is that it’s both a seller’s and buyer’s market when it comes to Apple’s iconic phone. The supply is obviously there with all the postings people put up, and the demand never seems to cease. Join in and you can probably benefit from the iPhone-inspired commerce on Kijiji right now.

Bio: Ted Kritsonis  is a respected reporter, editor and TV personality who covers the high-tech industry and specializes in consumer electronics, gadgets, video games, industry trends and Internet and online developments. He is based in Toronto.

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