The iPhone 5 was officially announced earlier today in Yerba Buena, San Francisco by Apple CEO, Tim Cooke and a slew of Apple engineers. Each one took the stage to show off the 16:9 aspect ratio, 4-inch, smaller dock port, thinner, light, faster and LTE-enabled goodness officially named; iPhone 5!
I purposely didn’t upgrade last year when the iPhone 4S was unveiled (I still use an iPhone 4) simply becuase I didn’t feel there was enough of an ‘update’ to get me to make the switch… but today’s news has me ready to line up next Friday to make sure I get my hands on one of the first ones to leave the Apple store. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 4S update was great, but it always felt like an incremental upgrade rather than a true step change, and although it sold wonderfully for Apple, there wasn’t enough for me to jump in and buy one.
If you’ve been following most of the leaked rumours over the past year on what to expect for the iPhone 5, today’s announcements were as expected. Things like a thinner design, the inclusion of the A6 processing chip, a smaller camera were great to see.
The forward facing camera has been beefed up to 720 p version, which means it’s 20% less fuzzy. The Wifi is ‘ultrafast’ (wait, did I just use an Apple buzzword?) and the 4G LTE had to be included to keep up with what the other phones are the market are doing.
Then there’s the all glass and aluminium chassis that claim to be the thinnest smartphone at 7.6 mm ‘thin’ and in order to make the phone more movie-friendly, they’ve increased the retina display to 4-inches. In the hand the iPhone 5 feels comfortable as it did with the 4S, so you see why Apple decided to keep the width the same. But fear not, the new phone certainly feels different – the aluminium manages to bring a premium feel in a notable lighter device.
Inside the phone, a beefier A6 chip definitely brings a snappier feel with less lag. Many with an iPhone 4, like me, will be all too used to the lagginess when tyring to do anything slightly complex with their phone. The iPhone 5 manages to make even the most demanding tasks seem like a walk in the park.
The added length could have made the phone unwieldy, but the loss of thickness ensures that it maintains its balance and premium feel. Those people who have got used to the iPhone 4 and 4S will certainly notice the difference that the design brings. It serves to make the device have a more modern feeling while utilizing the premium materials Apple has put so much stock in.
Thinner, lighter and more screen were always on Apple fan’s wish lists and I feel that this release has those wishes covered. The screen is brighter and splashes out a wider spectrum of rich colours. And compared to older iPhone, the camera now launches and captures pictures a lot quicker. One of the frustrating things I experience when trying to snap a quick picture.
What’s even better is what iOS 6 plans to bring to the table. iOS 6 brings with it a wealth of new features that will certainly make a major difference to not only the way the iPhone 5 feels, but also its predecessors the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S when they get the updated software. Maps, for instance, is significantly altered after Apple ended its longstanding agreement to use Google Maps and pushed forward with its own offering, in conjunction with satellite navigational giant TomTom.
The new maps certainly look the part, with some beautiful 3D renders and snazzy looking new vector graphics, although we would like to really take some time to tell you just how well the new offering performs in the wild.
Early indications elsewhere are good, however, as the ‘Apple designed’ tag is pushed to the fore. The tilt and rotate view functionality looks gorgeous and the turn-by-turn navigation is likely to attract plaudits with a simple and intuitive interface.
Siri has been given a major, and much-needed, overhaul with the voice ‘companion’ functionality extended into new languages and new territories in an attempt to turn the iPhone 4S’ overhyped and under-featured personal assistant up to a useful level.
Given the obsession with Facebook, the need for better integration was a key addition for Apple in its latest OS, and the iPhone 5 and its older brothers will benefit from a major overhaul of the way in which the social network links up with your handset.
The Facebook (and Twitter) functionality feels much more central to the experience this time around, and having the ability to post form the notifications screen feels like an obvious inclusion that works well.
If you want to compare specs of the iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 5, Apple has a nice chart to give you exactly what you need, side-by-side.