The main conclusion after the September 12, 2012, launch of the iPhone 5 is that this is “a phone Steve Jobs would have loved”. The event was actually ‘attended’ by the holographic representation of the late Apple founder himself, and while most media representatives only got 15 minutes to test the phone, in a crowded, noisy, over-lit presentation room, the verdict is positive overall. Yes, the phone is slightly underwhelming since it lacks the hotly anticipated NFC chip, but it’s thinner, lighter, better designed, more powerful, better optimized, and, all in all, well worth sticking around with Apple for yet another generation of products. Check out the major improvements below.
Size and Design
The new iPhone is definitely lighter and easier to handle; as one launch event attendee mentioned, women finally get a smartphone that’s easier for them to handle. It features the same width, but more length, and the materials are sleeker and sturdier. The new phone is all-glass, with scratch-proof aluminum for the back-plate. It claims to be the thinnest smartphone, at 7.6 mm thin, which makes it easy to handle since it balances out the added length.
The new phone has a larger screen by half an inch. It now stands at 4 inches in diagonal and a 16:9 ratio, which makes it significantly better for looking at pictures and watching videos.
The camera on the iPhone 5 is smaller, with a better chip and quicker when it comes to taking pictures. The front-facing camera has been bumped up to a 720p version, while the all-new “Panorama” mode allows you to create 360° pictures simply by entering camera mode and then panning the camera around, as guided by the arrows on the screen.
The iPhone 5 features a better sound system, an improved mic and all-new headphones now called “EarPods.” These long-awaited headphones spent three years in development and represent a major improvement over the headphones Apple has been giving away with all of its products for the past ten years.
The iPhone 5 is powered by iOS6, which can be freely downloaded on all Apple devices starting September 18. The new OS introduces an easier way to share pictures between people who own iOS6-powered Apple devices. It also no longer comes with the YouTube app pre-installed – you can download a new Google-produced YouTube app from the App Store. Also, Google Maps has been replaced by Apple’s own map app, produced in collaboration with the satellite navigation giant TomTom. The new map application features 3D renderings of major cities, aerial views, tilt and rotate views, and play-by-play directions narrated by Siri. Siri has also received a ‘facelift’ as she is now available in new languages and territories. Facebook and Twitter have been seamlessly integrated into the new phone’s ecosystem, as users can now post directly from their notification wall. There is also an exciting new feature called “Passbook”, for storing coupons, airline tickets, and gift cards — yet no NFC chip, like on some Android phones.
The new iPhone features a more powerful A6 chip that will probably not convince 4S users to switch to the iPhone 5, but it will most likely determine Apple users to stick around for another generation of products.
The Wi-Fi technology on the iPhone 5 has been upgraded and the phone also feature the much anticipated 4G technology for faster download times, which is expected to render 3G obsolete in the foreseeable future.