The iPhone 5 is coming, and here’s what you need to know

iphone-5

After the usual barrage of speculations, rumours and some surprisingly accurate leaks, the sixth generation iPhone has finally made its official appearance. The iPhone 5 – as the Cupertino based company calls it – is noticeably lighter and slimmer than its predecessor while also packing a larger 4-inch display. With 4G LTE connectivity and twice the processing power under its hood, the world’s most-discussed gadget appears to be well poised to keep fans of Apple products well and happy for another year.

Design

iP5_white

Constructed almost entirely out of glass and aluminium, the latest iPhone comes with a new, and also very familiar, design. At first glance, iPhone 5’s striking resemblance to its predecessor leaves a weird impression due to the elongated display. In comparison, the new phone has physically grown taller by around 8.6 mm, while the width has remained identical, meaning the iPhone 5 still feels very familiar in hand. The back cover has seen the most dramatic change as it now features an anodised aluminium band, which hopefully should translate in a much better resistance against cosmetic damage. Overall, the iPhone 5 demonstrates a meticulous attention to detail that is characteristic to Apple products, leaving little to be desired in terms of the premium feel of this handset.

 

Screen

The major new feature of the iPhone 5 is, unmistakeably, the 4-inch Retina display with 1136 x 640 pixels resolution which should make for a better experience when watching wide-screen movies or browsing the web. The iOS user interface has virtually remained the same but now sports an extra line of icons in the main menu, and Apple has also updated the built apps according to the new screen estate to display more information. All the current third party apps will be compatible with iPhone 5, though they will be running in a letterbox format at their native resolutions until developers release a respective update.

 

Performance

The iPhone 5 comes packing with a new A6 chip that, at least in terms of raw power, should provide twice the CPU and graphics performance of the iPhone 4S. While showing off an early build of the upcoming sequel to the blockbuster racing game ’’Real Racing 3’’, the new iPhone has been touted to offer ”full console quality” gaming experience. Although Apple wasn’t clear about the capacity of the built-in battery or about the specs of the A6 chip, the company claims the battery life has also been improved, offering up to 8 hours of talk time and up to 10 hours of video playback.

 

Connectivity

As expected, the freshly announced iPhone comes with a slew of modern connectivity features. Besides the basics like GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, Bluetooth and dual band Wi-Fi, the iPhone 5 also supports 4G LTE networks. Although all of the major UK carriers will be offering the iPhone 5, the LTE connectivity from the start will only be accessible through EE (Everything Everywhere), the first mobile network provider to offer 4G services in UK. Also worth mentioning, the new iPhone ditches the miroSIM standard in favour of an even tinnier, Apple-designed, nanoSIM cards.

120mm

The old 30-pin connector standard has also been replaced by a smaller, 9-pin connector Apple calls ‘Lightning’. The connector is about 80% smaller, and it features a reversible design that allows it to be plugged in either way. Regrettably, the new design of this dock connector also means that your current iPhone accessories are incompatible, and the only workaround here is to invest in the relatively expensive adaptor provided by Apple. Also unveiled were the redesigned earphones dubbed ‘EarPods’ that Apple claims to offer ”incredible acoustic quality” and improved durability. The ‘EarPods’ will ship with the iPhone 5 as well as with the newly announced iPod touch and iPod Nano products, but you’ll also be able to purchase these earphones separately.

 

Camera

iP5_back

Another key feature of the iPhone 5 that was discussed at lengths during the presentation is the camera. Though the 8 Mpix iSight camera appears to be identical to last year’s iPhone 4S, it’s actually 25 percent smaller and features a number of improvements that affect the image quality. First of all, the lens cover is now made from sapphire crustal that is clearer than glass and extremely durable. The camera itself is said to be 40% quicker to capture images thanks to the new A6 processor, and you’ll be able to snap pictures even while shooting videos. Additionally, the camera performance in poor lighting conditions has been improved, and with the new panorama mode you’ll be able to create beautiful vistas with the iPhone 5.

 

The missing features

Two features are notably missing on the iPhone 5 while present on competing smartphones like Samsung Galaxy SIII and Nokia Lumia 920. To start with, the rumours about the NFC chip in the new iPhone sadly turned out to be false. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a quick and convenient way for making contact-less payments or file transfers between compatible devices. NFC, however, is yet to see a wide-scale adoption and that in turn might have prompted Apple to delay the implementation of the technology in their products. However, Apple’s decision for omitting wireless charging is less clear, especially when considering that the rest of the industry is clearly moving towards utilizing seamless wireless technologies and cloud online services.

 

Conclusion

While the iPhone 5 is still expected to move in large quantities when it hits the stores on the 21st of September (including in UK), it’s hard to dismiss the notion that the latest smartphone from Apple is lacking in truly innovative features. The launch of the new iPhone didn’t mark an industry-wide disruption as many had expected, nor did it bear many surprises this time around because of the numerous leaks. The jump forward by the iPhone 5, some might even say, is a bit too conservative, as it only brings Apple’s smartphone on a similar level to its competition. Is Apple taking its leading position in the market for granted?

While the iPhone 5 might not appear to be the most featured packed smartphone on the market, the updated specs and bigger screen will be enough for many existing iPhone 4 and 3GS users to warrant an upgrade. The new, slimmer iPhone is a beautifully crafted smartphone that radiates Apple’s passion for detail every step of the way. On top of all, it provides a reliable and consistent product experience that an entire generation of consumers have grown to trust. And that, perhaps, is the main reason why the iPhone 5 is guaranteed to be yet another best-seller for Apple.

As mentioned, the new iPhone will hit the UK stores on the 21st of September, while the pre-orders on Apple’s website have already started. Unlocked, the iPhone 5 will cost £529 for 16GB, £599 for 32GB and £699 for the 64GB version.

 

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