iPhone 5 Details – Yawn

// September 12th, 2012 // Mobile

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The iPhone 5As we announced a week ago, the changes coming to the iPhone 5 are minimal at best and not too many are that excited about the improvements. Announced on September 12, 2012 (launched on September 21, 2012), the iPhone 5 includes a 4-inch Retina display (still 326 PPI) with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1136 x 640 resolution.   Unlike the iPhone 4 and 4S which had to be disassembled from the back, repairs on the iPhone 5 are done by removing the front cover first, an advantage for quick (and cheaper) repairs for a broken screen (it took 38 steps to repair a iPhone 4S screen).  The A6 is built around a dual-core processor, based on a custom ARMv7 based CPU core that is clocked at 1.3GHz.

The body sports an aluminum metallic plate across most the back, and a miniaturized Dock connector (called Lightning) and relocated 3.5mm headset jack along the bottom (finally!).  The case has performed much better in “drop tests” and now has a support bracket under the home screen button which should fix the “deteriorating home button problem users experienced on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4.  It has USB connectivity but strangely, it is USB 2.0 rather than the newer, and faster USB 3.0 standard.  The screen is taller (an iPhone 5 walks into the bar and the bartender says “Hey buddy, why the long face?) but the same width as the iPhone 4S – and it’s still not a HD 720P display.  It is thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S.

Also announced, more comfortable ear phones were introduced with the new device and new multitouch technology (an addition that helps reduce the depth of the device). And yes, the iPhone finally gets 4G LTE connectivity although on some networks (e.g. Verizon, Sprint) it still cannot do simultaneous voice and data (hey, dual-use requires an additional antenna and you wanted the iPhone to be thinner – right?). Only minimum battery life improvement (8 hours of LTE browsing and 225 hours of standby time) and the device will continue to be manufactured by Chinese Foxconn. It has a dual-core processor (Apple A6) and 1GB of RAM, 16-64GB onboard storage,  8MB camera in back and a 720P HD camera in front. There are improvements in the camera software allowing faster capture time and better low-light performance.  Disappointingly, the device still has no NFC chip (hence, no touch-to-share nor digital payment system), no dynamic home screen or widgets, no face unlock, and no wireless charging.

iPhone 5 from side and backThe new iPhone 5 comes  in three models – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, costing $199, $299 and $399 respectively on a two-year contract. Pre-orders started on September 14 and Apple began shipping the devices September 21. iOS 6, the OS that the iPhone 5 runs natively, was released on September 19. It is available on the iPhone 4, 4S, 3GS, the iPad 2, iPad 3, and the fourth-generation iPod touch. The iPhone 4 replaces the iPhone 3GS as Apple’s entry-level smartphone, and will typically be free on a two-year contract.

Last but note least, Ziff Davis tells us:

Despite the new iPhone design and the wealth of new features, ultimately it will be the software that carries the next-generation smartphone. Dubbed the “world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” Apple will make the latest mobile software available to download for older devices later this month.

Our take?  To be honest, we’re a bit peeved.  It seems to us that Apple needs to step it up a bit more in the technology front.  Even though we agree that the device has matured, the improvements on the iPhone 5 are minimal at best.  You have to wonder if Apple should spend more time engineering improvements to their devices and less time trying to slow down competitors via lawsuits.  Will the new iPhone be a hit?  Probably so.  The Wall Street Journal puts it best:

Whether Apple will satisfy expectations is hard to tell as are the consequences if it doesn’t. Almost a year ago, Mr. Cook introduced the iPhone 4S to a lukewarm reception. Yet the gadget went on to be wildly popular and drove Apple’s sales and stock to new heights.

Time will tell if the iPhone 5 is enough to kickstart iPhone sales or if they will continue to lose market share to Android devices.  Click here for a comparison of the iPhone 5 to the top Android smartphones.

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Photos courtesy: Apple Computer
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