As with every iPhone conference or new product unveiling, being a big apple enthusiast, I was there ready to catch the action; with 10 different live blogs covering the launch as it unfolded, I felt fully equipped to capture and relish the actualization of a device which was expected to be the greatest mobile device ever, a revolution and the heartbeat of every individual – The iPhone 5!
The presentation was slick and smooth as always, however lacking the impact which was last seen only when Steve Jobs was there to demonstrate the new innovations. After some statistics showing the superiority of apple products, the device that everyone had been eagerly waiting for was revealed. (And the crowd goes wild)
Cutting to the chase now – What is new in the 5th version of the iPhone?
The very first thing noticeable thing is the form. The guys at the “Genius Bar” just made it thinner and lighter! It is now 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the 4S.
The next big thing, and everyone knew it was coming – A larger screen. The latest version of the iPhone sports a 4” screen as compared to the 3.5” of its predecessor and a new pixel resolution of 1136*640 pixels. Speaking of the outer shell, the back is now a 2-toned anodized one certainly adding to the beauty of the phone.
Basically meaning your HD movie and gaming experience just got a lot better! The phone remains the same in width and just becomes taller by 9mm. In place of the mini-SIM, they have introduced the nano-SIM port. The headphone socket is now at the bottom.
Probably the most significant change in the form of the phone is contributed by the new “Lightning Connector”. As compared to the old connector, this is extremely smaller in size allowing Apple to enable the phone to shed a few pounds and inches. I shall be discussing the implications further below.
In terms of software updates or internal changes, the biggest one is visible through the new operating system – iOS6. With a new maps application of their own having turn by turn navigation replacing the stock Google maps, Apple plans to give Garmin and Tom Tom a run for their money. Features like 3d flyover allow one to rotate the landscape as one wants; it does feel god-like!
Siri has also learnt a few new things such as opening apps and posting on Facebook. The camera has now been given the brand – “iSight” and is slightly improved. Probably the biggest new feature is the Panorama mode which stiches together photos to create a remarkable 28MP shot; now that’s a lot of pixels! The front camera now does recording at 720p.
In terms of performance and connectivity, the iPhone 5 is twice as fast, thanks to the new A6 processor. Also, the much awaited LTE (4G) connectivity technology has been incorporated in it too! (And we folks in India have just started using 3G!)
As for battery life, Apple has quoted an 8 hour talktime on 4G while 10 hours on wi-fi which is an improvement from the 4S. However, these claims cannot be verified until the product is out in the market. Lastly, Apple has also introduced new ear phones called the “earPods” which are improved in design and sound quality.
Alright, so at this point, with all the new features that I’ve listed above, you must be saying to yourself: “I will do anything to get my hands on the new iPhone 5”. However, think again. I will now proceed to analyse and review these features in the light of competition; this may change your mind!
Firstly, the screen size though an improvement is nowhere near the competition. The Galaxy SIII: 4.8” , HTC One X: 4.7” , Nokia Lumia 920: 4.5”; even though I personally feel that a mobile device needs no more than a 4” screen, the general opinion is that it is still too small.
The next problem is the lightning connector. Though it may be useful in the long run, currently it poses a huge problem and a threat to the whole apple ecosystem! Here’s why: The plethora of previous generation apple products may it be MacBook’s, iPods or anything else for the matter have all been using its old 30-pin connector. The new lighting connector renders them incompatible with the new iPhone 5. Even though Apple has provided an adaptor to ensure backward-compatibility, it is an additional burden and ruins the overall
simplicity and design.
Next, iOS6 is something which will be available on the previous iPhones as well, so I would be counting it in the shared feature set of the iPhone 5. This is important especially when someone is considering shifting from a 4S to a 5.
Many people feel that Apple should have provided a camera with more megapixels. (taking cue from Nokia PureView 32 megapixels!) I would ask them to read up more on photography! Anything which is 8MP or more is good enough, what matters more are the optics. Apple, in my opinion has some of the most superior optics technology available. Also, they have improved photos shot in low light in the iPhone 5; good enough!
Lastly, there are a number of features which people were expecting but have been given a miss in this avatar of the iPhone. Near Field Communication (NFC), Wireless charging and improved typing solutions (like swype) to name a few.
So, what is the final verdict?
On the whole, we are presented with an iPhone which is taller, thinner, lighter, faster with 4G and lightning. This completely fails to impress majority of people. From reviewers to Facebook updates, everywhere we can smell an air of disappointment.
I on the other hand ask why! Yes, it is true that there has been nothing revolutionary in the iPhone 5, but, the improvements when amalgamated together provide a product which is a substantially and discernably better than its predecessor – An evolution. The problem I believe is in the expectations that people have from the iPhone. Almost every time when an iPhone was launched before, Apple has managed to stir a revolution. This however puts tremendous pressure on it to continue the same legacy with its future devices as well. Were it some other phone, such betterment would have been lauded by the people.
At just $199, $299 and $399 for the 16GB, 32GB and the 64GB versions respectively (with 2-year contract), I don’t see a good enough reason not to buy it! The success of the iPhone 5 in India would largely be dependent on its price. Anything above the price of the 4S would be a negative for Apple. I personally believe that for a person owning a 4S, the successor may not offer enough value addition to press for a switch. For any other (i)Phone user, the iPhone 5 should provide an unparalleled advancement.
I can say with almost surety that when the iPhone 5 goes on sale on September 21 st of this year, it shall create a new milestone in sales figures and demand. Probably this unimaginable success of Apple can still be credited to Steve Jobs himself. In his own words:
“I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there, but I’ll always come back.”
I believe that he has entwined his soul into Apple so much so that each Apple product we own has a little part of him. This is maybe why it is rightly said: “If you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone!”
Photo Credit: Engadget.