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iPhone 5

Entry 1439, on 2012-09-17 at 09:11:05 (Rating 1, Computers)

Apple recently announced the iPhone 5. Is it a big deal? Is it just a slightly improved iPhone 4 (or 4S) or is it something more? Well I can't speak from experience yet - the iPhone 5 isn't available here for a couple of weeks - but I can still make some initial comments before I get one.

Yes, I will buy one because I buy every second new iPhone. That cycle corresponds to the 2 year plan finishing with the cell network company I use. I would always buy new Apple products unless things changed radically. If Apple stopped making great products and Google or Microsoft overtook them I would need to look at changing. But that hasn't happened yet.

So what about this new phone? There's nothing truly revolutionary there so this is more an evolutionary improvement on the existing product rather than something really new. But the small but significant improvements in the hardware should give Apple the opportunity to create more functionality using the operating system and individual applications.

If you haven't already heard, here are the improvements included in the iPhone 5...

Support for "fourth generation" ultra-fast LTE cell communications - which unfortunately I have no idea when or where I will be able to use - but the faster dual-channel 802.11a/b/g/n wifi running at up to 150Mbps will be welcome.

A bigger screen, capable of displaying true HD with the correct aspect ratio. The screen is taller than the earlier one but the same width. It has more pixels, of course.

A faster A6 processor - almost double the speed of the already fast iPhone 4S - and faster graphics capability - also about double the speed, which will be great for games.

Improved cameras. With higher resolution on the front camera, and better optics, noise reduction, and stabilisation, on the main back camera. There is also a built-in panorama mode (previously available in extra apps only) and better high definition video capture.

A thinner but taller and lighter case (by about 20%). The weight and size are an impressive achievement because anyone can make a bigger phone (isn't that right Samsung) but it takes skill to make one smaller and lighter. Also more of the case is aluminium which should make it more difficult to break (although the current phone is already surprisingly robust).

Various other improvements such as more microphones to provide noise reduction, a new easier to use dock connector (of course it is annoying to have a new connector in some ways), and new earbuds which will hopefully be better than the existing ones (which were a weak point in the old iPhone experience).

Some people might be disappointed that Apple haven't included NFC (near field communications, used for pricing and purchasing but not well standardised yet) and wireless charging (available in a few other phones) or any other new and exciting features, but just adding new features has never been Apple's way of doing things: they add technologies which are already fairly well defined and concentrate on the total user experience. That's what this phone seems aimed at.

Once I get the new phone I will report back here with my real world experience so if you are considering "investing" in an iPhone 5 check back early October.


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