Well Apple has announced the new iPhone 5. It pretty much conforms to the rumors that were flying around before the San Francisco event kicked off. It’s certainly an improvement on the iPhone 4S, but is it enough to tempt you away from Android? In a word – no!
So what’s new?
It is lighter and thinner than the old one. We’re talking 7.6mm thick and 112 grams. It has a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 1136 x 640 pixels, so it’s basically the same 326 ppi Retina display as before, no change to the width – the screen is just taller now. It has support for 4G LTE and dual-band Wi-Fi. The A6 processor is twice as fast as the A5 that was in the iPhone 4S. We’ve got an 8-megapixel camera and 1080p HD video recording. There are three microphones now and improved speakers. There’s also a new, much smaller, dock connector (adaptor for your old accessories sold separately of course).
The new iPhone 5 will run iOS 6 which was revealed back in June. It will be available in black or white and you’re looking at $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB version, all with a two-year contract. It ships on September 21 but pre-orders are go from September 14.
Apart from any surprises at all, there’s also no support for NFC so you can forget about contactless payments, presumably Apple has another digital wallet plan up its sleeve. There’s also no wireless charging.
The iPhone 5 looks like a straightforward upgrade to the iPhone line – no redesign, no major new feature that the competition lacks, and no obvious reason to rush out and buy one.
It’s quite surprising to find just how thoroughly the details of Apple’s new flagship phone were leaked before the announcement. The 4-inch display, support for LTE, smaller dock connector, the A6 processor, and even shots of the device design have all popped up online in the last few days.
We saw a few exciting devices announced in the run up to the Apple event. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 offers a smoother “phablet “ experience with a huge screen, the Kindle Fire HD is an interesting new Android tablet, the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx offers unbelievable battery life, even the new WP8 Nokia Lumia 920 has wireless charging.
Where is the cutting edge with the iPhone 5? We can expect it to be fast, but aside from that it looks like it will have a good display, a decent camera, and pretty ordinary battery life. All-in-all the Apple event was a dud. The new iOS 6 includes Apple’s new Maps app which looks inferior to Google Maps, there’s the Passbook app, and a couple of minor improvements, but nothing eye-catching. Does anyone care about the Apple stores and a new line of iPods?
How does it line up?
If we take a look at the iPhone 5 next to the leading Android devices on the market right now, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X, it looks like Apple is playing catch up. The next wave of Android releases, devices like the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, the LG Optimus G, and the Sony Xperia T, all have the potential to surpass the iPhone 5 in certain areas, even the WP8 Nokia Lumia 920 has some advantages over the iPhone 5.
You can bet it will impress in benchmark tests and we can expect some straight comparisons with the Android leaders in the not too distant future.
Android already did it
It’s tough to watch an event like that and not think about how many of the “new” features Apple is boasting about that have been around on Android for ages. Everything from panorama mode and the ability to take still images while shooting video, to turn-by-turn directions and a 4-inch screen are already part of the Android line-up.
The iOS 6 platform doesn’t appear to include much in the way of innovation.
Android strikes back
Now that everyone can see what the iPhone 5 brings to the table we can expect a flurry of activity amongst Android manufacturers. Expect to see some aggressive new price cuts and maybe a few new device announcements in the not too distant future.
There’s little doubt the iPhone 5 will fly off the shelves in the lead up to Christmas, fans of Apple and many indifferent mainstream consumers will want it, but a lot of people are inevitably asking “what’s the big attraction?”
It will be interesting to see how the big Android manufacturers react to this and how quickly they look to push out new devices to compete. The iPhone 5 looks like a perfectly decent phone, but it seems unlikely that it will provoke panic in the competition.
What do you think? Did you expect more? Are any of you tempted to buy an iPhone 5?