Most articles about the new iPhone 5 seem to focus on how the new mobile device will stack up against its competitors, or how it will impact Apple’s stock price. On a different note, today, I will explore some of the new features of the iPhone 5 for what they are. The iPhone 5 marks the first full iPhone version upgrade since the passing of Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs. Its time to open the wrapper and see what technological wizardry Apple has come up with this time.
Trim The Fat
The first feature of notice is the impressive but non-intrusive redesign of the iPhone’s physical profile. The iPhone 5 is reported as being 12% smaller in volume, 18% thinner, and 20% lighter. Apple has always made its goal to design simple, elegant technology, and it seems that they have continued with this tradition once again. If only I could shave off the weight like the iPhone can…
The comfortable and familiar horizontal width of the iPhone has stayed the same, keeping your hands happy. However, the vertical height is slightly longer in this iteration. iPhone 5 has achieved a a perfect balance of compact ergonomics while extending the vertical length of the screen to a full 4-inches. Did someone say screen, like… retina screen? That seems to be the perfect place to proceed with my analysis.
Feast Your Eyes
Retina display makes colors brighter, pictures more expressive, movies more life like, yada, yada… The new iPhone is obviously designed for premium quality visual stimulation, boasting a stellar 1136-by-640 resolution. The new screen is designed to play HD movies without annoying letterboxing, solving one of my long time grievances with the iPhone line. Despite these improvements and changes, the iPhone 5 looks almost exactly like the iPhone 4S when seen from the front, which, depending on who you ask, could be a good thing or a bad thing.
Finally Faster – LTE and the Legend of 4G
Comedian Louis C.K. does a bit about how impatient we are with mobile devices that I find hilarious, “Just give it a second!”. I wont go there for now… but the point is that a large group of people just like myself were tired of our 4G friends who use other devices gloating about how fast they can surf the web, download apps, and watch streaming videos. The updated LTE capabilities of the iPhone 5 mean that the new iPhone now can operate on the fastest available mobile networks.
Don’t ignore that the wireless capabilities also got a speed boost. With the new Dual-band 802.11n capabilities, Wi-Fi data transfer rates on the iPhone 5 can reach up to 150 Mbps! That’s bloody fast… Speaking of fast, lets move on to the heavy-duty brain of iPhone 5, the incredible A6 microchip.
One Chip To Rule Them All – The A6
Complaints about the speed of previous iPhone models was not just limited to internet limitations. It seems that we have become so accustomed to lightning fast computing devices that mere milliseconds of waiting time are too much to bear anymore. With iPhone 5, noone should ever have to complain about a slow smartphone ever again.
The A6 is a monster and masterpiece of microchip technology. Faster processing and graphic response often come at the expense of your battery life. Not so with the A6, it is designed to deliver breakneck speed while maintaining an impeccable battery life. These improvements in efficiency and raw power sooth many of the most common complaints about older iPhone models, how much faster can these things get?
Sounds Like Progress
Out with ear buds, in with EarPods! EarPods are a long awaited upgrade to the included earphones that come with a new iPhone. As an audio snob I have a simple but effective rule, don’t believe it until you hear it. That being said, I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair of these to see if the claims of comfort, stability, and clarity live up to the hype. Until then I will just say that when it comes to subtle innovation, this was a big move that some of my fellow bloggers out there have missed as important.
Face it, ear buds sucked… They hurt after awhile, they sound bad after a few loud songs, and they generally feel cheap and sound cheaper. Hopefully EarPods will do my snooty ears justice, we will just have to see about that…
While were on the subject of sound, I would like to add that they have revamped the microphone system on the iPhone 5 as well. In an attempt not to butcher the technological blah of how these microphones are better than before, here is a quote directly off the Apple website.
“It’s designed with three microphones: one on the front, one on the back, and one on the bottom. The front and back mics work together to achieve beamforming — a technique that helps iPhone focus on sound from the desired location for clearer audio. New noise-canceling technology reduces background noise.”
Sounds interesting, pun intended… I have always thought that the sound quality of iPhone calls was better than your average smart phone, so we shall see if this offers improvement or not.
One of the seemingly most important features of any smartphone is the ever increasing camera capabilities. It seems that along this trend, the iPhone 5’s beefed up still and HD video cameras do not disappoint. Lets face it, the new panorama capability is way cool. I know that there has been an app that does this for ages, but now its a fully integrate feature of the phone and works instantly and seamlessly with the swipe of your touch.
The camera is apparently faster, clearer, and more stable. Upgrades that allow it to satisfy the urgent needs of all the gadget lovers out there who must own the best camera phone in the world or they will cease to exist.
The HD video capabilities is no longer limited to the back, allowing you to chat in face time HD for the first time. I still don’t think its possible to record from both cameras at once but I guess I am the only one that wants that feature…
Connect the Dots – Introducing The Lightning Connector
The long awaited “lightning connector” has arrived with mixed feelings from Apple enthusiasts and critics. I am not sure how I feel about it, but it seems that the old 30-pin connectors just couldn’t keep up with how thin the iPhone 5 has become. That’s like buying a new pair of skinny jeans after shedding 20 pounds. The question is, does Levy’s want you to loose weight for your health, or so you have to buy new jeans, belts, and other waist dependent accessories?
Either way its seems pretty cool, I cant find much on their site about how functionally different it is from the old connector, but hey, it looks cool and its reversible.
Where Am I?
My personal favorite new iPhone 5 feature is all in the maps and navigation. Google maps on iPhone was a horrible mistake, biz 101, never partner with your rival, it generally doesn’t end well… I almost perished on the road many times because of the weak interface, shoty click through directions, and generally poor functionality of iPhone map system of the past. It reads the directions to you, enough said!
Apple Gets Siri-ous
I am very excited to play around with the improved Siri features on the iPhone 5. Last time Siri proved to be a bit lack luster, she still wont tell me how to play a B minor fith chord like in the commercial. Apparently she cant handle more requests, provided better results and works faster and perkier than before. This is going to be one thing that needs to be tried before opinions are formed.
I could write an entire article about iOS 6 I will just refer you to Apple for now on this one… I will add one point of warning however… When I upgraded my iPhone 4 to iOS 5 last year, it slowed way down. If you are not going to upgrade you phone, don’t be shocked if your old phone starts to drag.
iCloud on the iPhone 5 seems to be getting closer to a complete cloud based entertainment and lifestyle solution. I never really got the iCloud bug but hey maybe thats just me. Anyway there some really cool new features here, including shared photo streams, find my iPhone, and iCloud tabs.
As always, refer to the source for details about iCloud
Here are some more cool features to explore within the new iPhone 5!
That should keep you satisfied for now. Check back to our blog for our expert revie once we get our hands on the new iPhone 5. By the looks of the lines it could be a while!