After the obligatory months and months of iPhone rumors, Apple has finally announced its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5. If you were waiting with bated breath for something new and exciting, go watch the iOS 6.0 announcement from WWDC back in June. The only really exciting features in the new iPhone 5 are the features that come with iOS 6.0, which is coming to the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S on September 19th. In fact, I can sum up the differences between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 in under sixteen words: it’s a little bit taller, a little bit lighter, a little bit thinner, and it’s faster. That’s it. Oh, and it has a new connector that doesn’t work with any of the accessories you already have, but you’ll be able to buy an adapter. The only thing that the iPhone 5 can do that the iPhone 4S can’t do, other than showing an extra bar of icons, is take pictures while I’m shooting video. I guess that’s kinda cool.
OK, so yes, there are more things about the iPhone 5 that are different than the iPhone 4S, but not much that is going to impress the average consumer. The new 4″ screen is 1136-by-640 resolution instead of the 960-by-640 resolution of the 3.5″ that the iPhone 4 and 4S has. Since Apple kept the width of the screen the same, the new screen is now about 9mm taller than the previous iPhones. Apps that aren’t redesigned to work on the iPhone 5′s longer screen will be letterboxed, like what happens when you’re watching an HD movie on a regular definition television.
The new connector that Apple has dubbed, the Lightning connector, while making all of your existing accessories obsolete, is supposed to be more durable, and easier to use. No more trying to figure out if you are putting the cord in the right way though; the Lightning connector is reversable. A $29 adapter to make the iPhone 5 compatible with devices designed to work with the older 30 pin iPod connector is supposed to be coming soon, however the adapter does not support video out.
The iPhone 5 will be quite faster than the iPhone 4S because it has Apple’s A6 processor in it and LTE 4G data. However, because of the complexity of the different LTE 4G technologies, the iPhone 5 will not be a world phone like the iPhone 4S was. In the United States the GSM version will be supported on AT&T, and the CDMA version will be supported on Sprint and Verizon. Even with the faster processor and wireless data, the iPhone 5 is not suffering from decreased battery life. In fact, the
The rear camera on the iPhone 5 is the same as the iPhone 4S, but the front-facing is now a 1.2 MP camera that can shoot 720p video. The lens is made of sapphire crystal which is second in hardness only to diamond, which should help some iShutterbugs from scratching their iPhone’s camera lens. Also, the entire back of the iPhone 5 is no longer glass like the iPhone 4S and 4; instead, it is now mostly aluminum, with glass inlays on the top and bottom.
Apple also announced new “Earpods,” headphones that have been redesigned fit into your ear more comfortably and securely and to give better, fuller sound. The remote on the headphones has also been enlarged to make it easier to use the controls. It took 11 years, but Apple has finally fixed the problem of having a tangled mess of wires in our pockets; the Earpods come with a storage and travel case.
The pricing of the iPhone 5 remains the same as the pricing of what the iPhone 4S was: on a two-year contract the iPhone 5 costs $199 for 16 GB, $299 for 32 GB, and $399 for the 64 GB. The iPhone 4S has been reduced to $99 on a two-year contract, but only comes with 16 GB, and the iPhone 4 is now $0 on a two-year contract. Preorders of the iPhone 5 begin on September 14th, and the iPhone 5 will be available in stores at 8:00 AM, September 21st.
So, in summary, if you’re in the market for a new phone, the iPhone 5 is a good phone. It has solid hardware, and it is a handsome phone. If you were hoping for something more exciting, we’re sorry to disappoint. As soon as it is available in stores we’ll put up a hands-on review with the iPhone 5.