iPhone 5: Highs and Lows
By Pamela Perez
By Pamela Perez
Apple fanatics around the globe beam with delight as the new iPhone hits stores from London to New York to Sydney. Eager buyers line the streets of Apple stores to get their hands on the newest iPhone. One research firm claimed the iPhone 5 queue to be the biggest in Apple's history – with 1,297 people queuing outside Apple’s Regent Street store. This far beats Apple’s previous record queue of 778 people for the iPhone 4S just 11 months ago.
With all the buzz going around, is the year’s must-have phone really worth it? Or should you pass it up and pick one out of the iPhone-alternatives list instead?
From a 3.5-inch screen to a 4-inch screen, the iPhone 5 may not be that big of a leap from its predecessor, especially not when Samsung's current flagship has a 4.8-inch. However, I have to be honest, the extra row of icons is sweet- giving more navigation options in apps and HD movies shown without the black bar "letterbox" effect.
The iPhone 4 and 4s may have been a bit fragile due to the back-to-back glass pane. Though this gave the phone that extra oomph, it meant for more smudges and more likelihood to shatter. The iPhone 5 brings as back to the more sane and stable, with it having just one glass pane. The new model also now has an aluminium matte-finish back, making it less perilous for scratches and gives off that classy flair.
Thinner and lighter
The thinnest iPhone yet, at 7.6 mm, Apple claims it's the "thinnest smartphone in the world," as well as being 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S. This may not sound much, but as soon as you pick it up, you realise it means a lot. It really does feel superb in your hand.
Faster chip and 4G LTE connectivity
Users will appreciate the improved processing and graphics of the iPhone 5's brand-new A6 chip at a reported 1GHz, 1GB of RAM. This makes everything a tad quicker, from photo and video processing to everyday app usage. The LTE gives the best flavor of 4G, delivering data so fast it can feel like you're on a cable modem. Apple is the last smartphone maker to join the 4G party, and it's about time it did.
Better battery life
Despite the battery-draining 4G LTE, Apple seems to have solved that hiccup and even managed to give the iPhone 5 better battery life than its predecessor. Apple has been known to have sacrificed features to keep battery life long, but in the iPhone 5, there doesn't appear to be a real downside.
Apple has improved the notoriously poor earbuds and transformed it to a considerably more robust earpods. The warm throb they produce is markedly better than before. They also have a more sophisticated and comfortable design.
iOS 6 on older iPhones
Anyone with an older iPhone, iPod or iPad may jump in on the new IOS, however, most, but not all of the amazing new features discussed by Apple, such as turn-by-turn navigation, 3-D maps, Passbook ticket and gift card system, sports-score-spouting Siri, may actually not be available on older devices.
Lack of 4G LTE coverage
That sweet 4G LTE technology may not be available everywhere, so check your carrier's coverage maps before you buy. If you're buying for powerhouse data speeds, you have to know the territory.
Lightning port-speaker dock incompatibility
The new Lightning connector may be a design improvement, but it's worth pointing out that if your current lifestyle includes many iPhone docks and car chargers, these will require an additional purchase. You will need an adapter if you want to keep using them with an iPhone 5. Also, there’s the physical issue that while an adapter may work well with cable connections, using it with cradle-type peripherals could be problematic.
The new iPhone 5 has new maps that are powered by Apple rather than Google, as in previous years. The in-house mapping was done with the help of satnav specialist TomTom in the hope that the iPhone 5 would be able to rival most in-car systems. However, there have been reports of teething problems. Users have complained about missing towns, villages located in the wrong place, satellite images blanketed by cloud and numerous incorrect searches.
Apple moved the headphone jack to the bottom of the phone, which may seem weird and annoying, especially when you use it in the car or have it placed on a cradle. Now you’d have to dump it in upside down.
Overall, the iPhone 5 does seem to be a good choice and definitely a great improvement from its older models. I do suggest, waiting a bit though for some bugs to get patched before grabbing one.