Have you all recovered from the excitement of yesterday’s Apple event? More importantly, have you got over your crushing disappointment (or having your mind blown)? Right, then we’ll get into what the iPhone 5 brings to the table (even though we pretty much covered it pre-event!).
As predicted, the screen has been increased in size from 3.5 inches to 4 inches with a screen resolution boost from 960×640 to 1136×640. That’s retina level by Apple’s standards and is a huge improvement. To go with it, the iPhone 5 now supports a movie standard 16:9 ratio. What this means is that things are going to look a lot, lot better on your screen, up to the standard of the new iPad in fact.
Thinner, Lighter…and Bigger
To accommodate the 4 inch screen the iPhone 5 is longer than its predecessors yet somehow Apple has managed to make it both thinner and lighter. It is 7.6mm thick and weighs just 112 grams. That’s an 18% and 20% reduction on the 4S respectively. Now while I welcome a lighter phone I have a concern here. I carry my iPhone 4 in my back pocket and frequently sit on it – will the iPhone 5 now fit comfortably there with its increased length and will it be able to take my weight for most of the day with its decreased thickness? I guess I’ll find out.
There’s no doubting the phone looks the business though.
No real surprise – the surprise would have been if Apple had left this out - that the iPhone 5 is 4G compatible, so it brings it up to speed with the latest smartphones and will give users signing up to EE in the UK and various carriers in the US a significant speed bump when accessing the internet. Here in the UK 4G is rolling out to 16 cities by Christmas and to 98% of the country by 2014 so it won’t be long before pretty much everyone has access, though we still lag behind a lot of countries in this respect.
This is where we expected the most significant improvements to be and we weren’t wrong. First of all, the iPhone 5 does feature the A6 processor which, according to Apple, is 22% smaller than the A5 in the iPhone 4S and will launch apps 2.1 times faster. That explains the ability to make the phone thinner and lighter then and the increase in speed is always welcome.
As ever, when you improve the processor and increase screen size battery life becomes an issue but Apple have stepped up there too, improving it in the sense that while they announced it would give as much video playback, browsing, standby and talk time as the 4S even with the other improvements.
The camera (now called iSight!) remains at 8 megapixels, which is perhaps a little disappointing, but Apple have given some significant improvements in other areas to improve performance. The optics, software and colour saturation have been upgraded to give faster performance and better image quality, while it features a sapphire lens and has a panorama mode for clarity and epic photography respectively.
Finally, the dock connector has, as was widely rumoured, been made much, much smaller. Apple have named the new connector Lightning. It’s actually 80% smaller than the 30-pin dock and brings improved data transfer with it via its all digital 8-signal design. It’s also said to be more durable than the former version.
Is any of this groundbreaking? No, not by Apple’s standards at least. If anything, it brings the iPhone up to standard in the market, very little takes it back into an outright lead. But that really shouldn’t matter – this is a market Apple invented. To expect the company to re-invent it is asking too much. The bottom line is that this is a brilliant and beautiful phone, exactly what we’ve come to expect and sales will go through the stratosphere, even if the media act all deflated.
iPhone 5 Models & Pricing
In the US the iPhone 5 will be available for pre-order on September 14th, starting at $199 for the 16GB model. The 32GB version will be $299 and 64GB $399 with a carrier contract. For UK users like myself things look a little more daunting on price. CNET have the 16GB model pegged at £529, while they predict the 32GB to be £629 and the 64GB a bank breaking £729. Those prices are, of course, SIM-free and you’re going to see hefty price cuts with a two year contract via EE, T-Mobile, Orange and O2 at the very least – though EE will be the only one offering 4G connectivity.
You can pre-order from September 14th and shipping starts September 21st – in both the UK and US from what we know.
When we hear more, we’ll update you.
Will you be buying an iPhone 5?