The long awaited announcement has arrived. The anticipation and speculation is over!
The iPhone 5 has been officially announced.
Starting off the keynotes, they inevitably start with the sales report for the past year.
Apple have recently passed the 700,000 mark on the app store, with over 250,000 being specifically written for the iPad. (90% of which are downloaded every month)
Apple have now sold 400 million iOS devices through june of this year. Thats pretty impressive if you ask me.
Having launched the first iPhone in 2007, each successive generation has come with considerable upgrades. Naturally there are those that would prefer they launch each device with every possible spec physically possible at the time of its release, but what sort of company would they be if that were the case?
They have released a new device each year, all with new features and better technology ‘under the hood’.
There as been speculation overt what the new iPhone would be called. Guesses ranging from the New iPhone, following the naming of the recently released 3rd generation iPad (officially known as the New iPad), to the iPhone 6 (having been the 6th iPhone to be released, following the Original, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, then the current model) It is officially known as the iPhone 5, as it has just been announced by Tim Stevens at the apple keynote.
Leave it to apple to have a dramatic entrance… Having the iPhone 5 rise from the floor on the pedestal through the centre of the stage.
Having to improve on its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, it had to be redesigned, as the iPhone was simply an upgraded version of the iPhone 4. That being said, they have come through. Being 18% thinner than the older model, its only 7.6mm thick, weighing only 112 grams (thats 20% lighter than the 4S), making it the thinnest smarphone.
It has an increased screen size (probably annoying those that prefer not to have a phone book sized device attached to their head while answering a phone conversation), but being lighter than the older model, i dont see it as being an issue. the 4 inch, 1136×640 resolution screen, has a total of 326 pixels per inch, classing it as a Retina display. making it the same width, but slightly taller than the 4S.
Having added the new height, you can now fit 5 icons per row, with the standard 4 shortcuts on the bottom tab. This is great for those that love to have everything on one page.
Being apple, they have to be somewhat cheesy when they explain the background of the design, and why they took the product the way they did. But hey, why not when you have the world at the edge of their seat? What is the design centre for a phone? they ask? ‘Its your hand, thats just how we designed the iPhone 5’.
Moving away from the handset itself for a moment, they have also updated their software suit, known as iWork. This includes Keynote, Pages, and Numbers (apples version of microsoft office, if you can pardon my language). They have also updated iMovie and Garage band in the process. i’m assuming this is to take better advantage of the new screen resolution, but who knows. They’ll undoubtedly be fixing some bugs and increasing the speed at which the apps can function, as any developer would.
Now back to the handset (sorry about the diversion temporarily). Its stated as being 44% better colour saturation on the display, having full sRGB rendering. Tim Stevens has quoted that this will improve the viewing of the screen in direct sunlight, as it reduces glare. Its thinner and sharper, and the touch function is integrated into the display unit. This would be interesting to see in an exploded view when they are first dismantled. This would mean there are less service spares required to repair the new iPhones, but also that the display units will probably run more expensive to purchase in the unfortunate event of it being damaged or dropped. (unless they invent a retrievable iphone case, where it springs right back to your had when its dropped… that would be cool)
‘We couldn’t be prouder of it’ says Tim of the iPhone 5.
They then went on to describe the tech specs in more detail. (sorry to those that dont understand the abbreviations used below. if in any doubt, you can always use the old ‘copy and paste’ approach, and look up the terms online)
GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA and LTE they say. HSPA+ is 21Mbps, DC-HSDPA is 42Mbps and LTE is a max of 100Mbps. In Europe, it’ll be in DT and EE. They are referring to the latest wireless technology as ‘Ultrafast Wireless’… Sounds fancy.
Interestingly enough they have come up with a ‘really unique innovation with a dynamic antenna’. An improvement on the disappointment that was the iphone 4 antenna you say? I’d have to agree, although i never did see this problem for myself.
The antenna can automatically switch between antenna connections when needed.
Going back to some of the Tech specs of the New iPhone, its has been fitted with a new A6 processor chip, which operates 2x faster (both CPU and Graphics) than the A5 chip fitted in the 4 and 4S. The chip is also 22% smaller than its predecessor, and more energy efficient. This wouldn’t outwardly affect the end user in many ways. But because it is smaller, it can be fitted onto a smaller circuit board (in turn, making the main logic board more compact, so they can make the phone slimmer and more sleek), and it would increase the battery life of the phone.
With this increase in power, it is said to increase the speed at which Pages launches by 2.1x, and keynotes attachments load 1.7x faster. i wouldn’t complain about that at all. (although i am 2 generations behind now, with the iPhone 4 in my pocket)
Now for the details that really matter. What use is a phone if the battery dies when you’re watching a really important youtube video on the bus home from work and your wife is frantic about not having milk for her evening cup of tea?
Its not an all that impressive battery life, but its exceeded the life of the iPhone 4S. Lasting for 8hrs on 3G or LTE talk time or browsing, and 10hrs browsing on WIFI. This is, of course, referring to the amount of time the battery will last while being use non stop, so under normal use (including those times when the phone will be in your pocket) you’d be looking at a considerably longer battery life… But possibly not long enough to revoke the need to carry a USB to dock cable around in your bag, just in case.
The camera on the iPhone hasn’t been improved for the end user, just simply made smaller/thinner, to fit in the phone. (tech spec alert) with a 5-element lens and f/2.4 aperture. There is also a dynamic low light mode. It evaluates nearby pixels to give up to 2 f-stops greater low-light performance.
Onto the front facing camera, its now 720p. so an improvement on the previous model which was only VGA.
There are also 3 microphones fitted to the phone. A bit excessive you say? not if you want better voice recognition and awesome noise cancelation. This will improve the way siri can recognise your commands, and also the clarity of your phone conversations.
I know what you’re thinking. The world is a much better place now the iPhone 5 has been released, right? well, it hasn’t even started yet. (Just so you know, i’m referring to the other products that are being released as well) they have also announced a new iPod Nano, and a new iPod Touch. But details on them can be found out later.
The iPhone has always used the iPod dock connector. This dates back to the original iPod (back when the used firewire) over 9 years ago! Thats old in techno terms, believe me. Incorporated in this connector are things such as USB and Firewire connections, as well as a number of other connections that are not really needed for normal uses. My only concern with downsizing and eliminating a few of the data tracts, would be that it would make it more difficult to create accessories for the redesigned connector. But then again, i’ve never really used any accessories on my iPhone that were all that useful or noteworthy, so it wouldn’t really affect your average user. Besides, most things that were done by connecting through a dock connector, would be done wirelessly now-a-days.
They’ve used a term that was originally used to refer to the newly released Thunderbolt port (this is back in 2011 before it was officially named), and its going to be called Lightning. Making it rather easy to remember some of their connection types… Thunder (bolt) and Lightning.
The new connector is 80% smaller than the original dock connector, and can be plugged in either way, so you dont have to worry about jamming it in the wrong way. (we’ve all tried plugging in a device in the dark or into the back of a TV behind a cabinet of some kind, dont deny it)
The downside to all this, is that all your current dock connectors will become useless. They have redesigned docks and mounts before, but its normally to fit the new curve of a devices casing. But now, even if one was to try ‘rigging’ their current mount to work, it wont be possible, unless they release an adapter that will work with it. But we’ll see about that in the coming weeks. (some companies are already setting to work designing dock, speakers and accessories for the new connector)
The new Maps application is being released, with functions such as zooming in and out, and rotating, as well as 3D viewing. That will be an improvement, hopefully…
They have also released a search engine that will be built in, which means the speculations about them dropping googles incorporated search engine is true for the most part.
If you weren’t aware of it before, they have also dropped YouTube as an official app on the device. As of a few days ago, its been released as a separate application on the app store… But it hasn’t been released with an iPad compatible version yet. A bit of a joke considering they mentioned that over 250,000 apps have been directed towards the iPad on the app store. As an avid iPad user, this is a gutting thing to find out. But hopefully it won’t be long until they fix this problem.
(sorry, a bit of a side track, but still very relevant)
Aside from that, there have been a few other improvements, one being the release of iOS6, which has also been long awaited. Siri is now updated to work more smoothly, but we will have to wait until it has been tested in the UK to be sure. I doubt they’ve had a scouser or a geordie test these features to ensure they are truly multilingual.
But hey, not such a bad outcome to start off with.
Although the Apple Store is down at the moment, the iphone 5 will be up for pre ordering on the 14th of September, and will be shipping on the 21st. But i would recommend getting an order in quickly, unless you want to get caught up in the inevitable backlog of customers hounding the website for more devices.
Keep an eye out for further updates on the other devices being released, and follow our twitter feed to get more details.