The Apple iPhone 5 - is it good enough to remain as King of the smartphones?

iPhone5_white.jpg

Last night, in San Francisco, a press conference bought the news we had all been waiting for (and expecting) for some time: Apple revealed the latest generation iPhone, the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 has a larger 4-inch retina screen, yet is 18% thinner and 20% lighter than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S.
The extra height in the device, allows an extra row of apps, which should reduce the number of home screens needed to swipe through.
The device, again as many predicted, will work on 4G networks. Following the announcement that 4G is coming to the UK exclusively on the Everything Everywhere (EE) network, the operator must be jumping for joy as they can expect an influx of 24 month contracts in the near future.
It also features a controversial new connector, called Lightening.  It’s smaller than the traditional 30 pin connector, and will mean that any older accessories will now need an adaptor to work. 

Specs

  • Height: 123.8 mm
  • Width: 58.6 mm
  • Depth: 7.6 mm
  • Weight: 112 grams
  • Display: 1136×640 pixels
  • Camera: 8 megapixel and HD front facing camera
  • Processor: A6 chip (providing longer battery life)
  • Memory: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
However, I’m quite surprised at the lack of innovation from the company, bigger and thinner, 4G and a great camera, yet no NFC or wireless charging? I must admit I was left a bit disappointed. Yes, there are serious updates to the hardware and software, but is that enough with other handsets hot on Apple’s heels such as the Android King, Samsung, and the recent Nokia Lumia launch?
The updates to the operating system on the other hand include a few exciting features. The new iOS6 will include:
  • Maps from Apple with a 3D view of buildings – fantastic to look at, but how useful really?
  • More from Siri, including sports information and local information in the UK – finally the application has some use in Britain, ask your phone what the weather is like and now it will answer you
  • Face Time over 3G – could this replace Skype for video calls?
  • Offline reading list – save articles to this list and read on the tube
  • Do not disturb’ feature – this mutes notifications and calls unless someone rings multiple times, letting you get some peace and quiet without turning off your phone
  • And the Passbook – great for business travellers, the Passbook collects vouchers, tickets, gift cards, store cards and boarding passes in one place – this was where some expected to see NFC integration, but alas, no
iPhone5_passbook.jpg
I am however really glad to see that Apple has gone back to its conventional numbering, instead of just calling it ‘new’ or adding a letter to the end of ‘iPhone’ which could have become very confusing.
The iPhone 5 will be available on 21 September, however pricings in the UK have yet to be disclosed.

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Oh come on: NFC and wireless charging? How useful are they, really? The thing that makes the iPhone attractive - for business users, too - is the entire Apple ecosystem. From this perspective the iPhone is a solid, high-quality option that reduces weight (good), increases screen size (good), increases battery life (impressive) while remaining compatible with n-thousand apps and integrating nicely with all your other Apple devices (i.e. the iPads so many business users are carrying around today, regardless of whether or not they work on PC or Mac). There are some super-cool Android mobiles on the market, but they're all provided by suppliers who have not yet understood the importance of steady, reliable, regular updates and a fully-integrated ecosystem. Just ask an HTC or Samsung user how often they get useful information - let alone updates - out of the manufacturer. And I write as a reasonably satisfied Galaxy Note user!!!
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HTC and Samsung users don't have to rely on the manufacturer for updates. Due to the nature of Android, users have a true choice of operating systems and features without being forced to wait for Apple to develop the latest update and push it out sequentially. No platform is perfect, no piece of kit does everything. To my mind, Apple's main problem is how far behind the technology curve it tends to be. Their development process inevitably means that by the time a new I-phone hits the shelves, it is already approximately 3-6 months out of date compared to the latest Android offerings.. and only just on a par with even WinMobile devices released at the same time
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