It can’t have escaped your attention that the iPhone 5 was launched this week, back on Wednesday.
And, unlike with the iPhone 4S where a lot of the speculation was off the mark, much of the iPhone 5 rumours came to fruition.
Apple did indeed switch to a larger 4 inch screen (up from 3.5 inch), upping the resolution in order to maintain the iPhone 4S’ retina resolution (326 ppi).
The 16:9 format of the new screen is also better for movie viewing – but the downside is old iPhone apps will display with black bars top and bottom, letterbox style, until the developers rejig them for the new size panel.
Obviously the CPU was upgraded, that’s a given, to an A6 chip which Apple has been pretty secretive about regarding the exact spec. The company just gave out general performance figures, basically stating that the iPhone 5 is roughly twice as fast as its predecessor.
The design was changed, too, with the glass back switched to a metal (aluminium) rear cover – and that should help on the durability front. The handset is also very svelte indeed at just 7.6mm thick.
As expected, 4G LTE has been brought on board, and the good news for the UK is that it’s compatible with EE’s LTE network which is now rolling out across major cities.
The battery was also beefed up to help deal with the demands of the faster CPU, LTE and so forth; although Apple claims it’s slightly better than the iPhone 4S even with those extra demands, boasting 25 hours more standby time, and 8 hours of 3G surfing as opposed to 6 hours with the 4S.
We’ll have to see if the official figures are validated by the reviews, when they emerge.
The camera was tweaked, as ever, with image stabilisation and a panoramic mode – all stuff that’s already on other rival phones, though. And the front-facer is now 720p HD.
Apple also bundled a fresh set of earphones, or EarPods as it calls them, with the iPhone 5, a much-needed change as they’d stayed the same for the last decade bar a minor tweak (and the old earbuds were pretty pants).
None of this, however, amounts to a hugely exciting evolution of the phone. Don’t get us wrong, the bigger screen is nice – and the extra pep from the processor too. But otherwise, it’s all pretty minor stuff – except for 4G LTE, but not everyone will be in a position to benefit from that.
There was nothing much new with iOS 6, either – Apple’s new Maps system (with Google getting the boot) and full Facebook integration were the highlights, pretty much. We can’t get excited about Passbook… and there was certainly no Siri on the software front.
The switched dock connector is also a bit of a pain, and as we’ve discussed before, will cause considerable faffing with third-party accessories and adapters. We suppose it’s a necessary evil to make space inside the phone, for the bigger battery to power the chunkier CPU and so forth.
However, on an overall level, we’re a bit underwhelmed by the iPhone 5. There’s nothing bad about it, certainly. It’s clearly a good – and very smart looking – device. It’s just lacking… a spark.
Doubtless, that won’t stop it selling like hot cakes. But at some point, Apple is going to have to pull out some more innovative stops, otherwise the iPhone is going to fall by the wayside at the hands of the Samsung Galaxy S III and other high-end rivals.
Indeed, the Nokia Lumia 920 is showing strong progress with Windows Phone 8 – Microsoft can’t be counted out of the mobile race just yet, and Redmond is certainly trying its hardest to polish WP8 until it shines.
It might just work, yet, particularly with Windows 8 pushing Microsoft’s multi-device strategy, in an Apple style. While the iPhone dwarfs WP8 handsets, the number of PCs dwarfs the number of Macs…