Ah, it’s so nice when a good blog topic comes to you. Today’s was a no-brainer. As Apple prepared to unveil the new iPhone 5 in the brightly colored building above, thousands took to live updates via the Internet to see exactly what the geniuses had up their sleeves this time around. They did not disappoint. Below is our detailed account of the Apple event that went down around 1 pm ET today. If you’re on the fence when it comes to upgrading, this may be all you need to fork over some extra cash.
Let’s start this thing off with probably the first thing you’ll notice – the taller screen. The display offers 326 pixels per inch with a 4-inch screen and 1130 x 640 resolution. Being a bit taller, there is now room for a fifth row of icons on the home screen. In addition, all of Apple’s native apps have been updated to take advantage of the larger display.
The iPhone 5 also provides 44% more color saturation compared to the last model, and because the touch sensors are integrated into the display, it’s also 30% thinner. The imagery is sharper and there’s less glare in sunlight.
7.6mm thin (18% thinner than the iPhone 4s), the iPhone 5 is the world’s thinnest smartphone. It’s also the lightest, weighing only 112 grams (20% lighter than the 4s). Despite the screen being bigger, this phone still manages to be volumetrically smaller, which is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.
So far, things are looking good, even if some remained unimpressed…
The next difference you’re sure to recognize is the new dock connector port, which Apple has appropriately dubbed Lightning. That’s right, people – it’s time to throw away your old connector cables (or pick up adapters if you’re very fond of them).
The original 30-pin dock connector port appeared with the original iPod back in 2003. The new Lightning connector is all-digital, featuring an adaptive interface and improved durability. It’s reversible and 80% smaller than the original.
Perhaps the biggest difference on the inside, the iPhone 5 features the brand new Apple A6 processor, which is twice as fast at CPU and graphics processing compared to the A5 that drove the 4S. Keeping with Apple’s “smaller and better” mantra, it’s also 22% smaller, freeing up more space inside the phone and making it more energy-efficient.
At this point in the presentation, Pete Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, invited EA to show off a game called Real Racing 3, which did its part and then some in showing off the new “console-quality” graphics. The game is expected to be in the App Store later this year.
This is a big one for a lot of people and another reason for anyone trying to sell an actual camera to shutter. The iPhone 5’s camera has an 8-megapixel sensor, 3264 x 2448 pixel images. And, of course, it’s 25% smaller than the previous model’s. It features a sapphire lens cover, which Schiller claims not only protects the lens, but makes images cleaner and sharper. The A6 chip includes a new image signal processor with spatial noise reduction and filtering to improve photographs.
Perhaps the coolest feature is Panorama. By holding your iPhone 5 vertically and sweeping your scene (the app tells you at what speed to move), the software will create the final image.
As for video, the front-facing camera is now a FaceTime HD 720p HD camera with backside illumination – once again substantially besting the previous iPhone’s capabilities.
Ultrafast Wireless (WARNING: contains confusing terms)
The previous iPhone supported HPRS, EDGE, EV-DO and HSPA. In addition, the iPhone 5 will support LTE, HSOA+ and DC_HSDPA. Schiller said that with LTE support, the iPhone 5 can achieve a “theoretical maximum downlink of up to 100Mbps” – which is really, really fast. With support for 802.11 a/b/g/n, the new phone also gains better Wi-Fi.
Always important for music lovers, the speaker on the iPhone 5 is a solid improvement over the previous model’s. It now includes five magnets in its transducer, offering better frequency response and better sound quality – while, of course, being 20% smaller than the last one.
When it comes to talking, you will be heard more clearly than ever. There are three separate microphones: one on the front, one on the back, and one on the bottom. They all work flawlessly together to improve noise cancellation and voice recognition.
Apple’s intention was to match the battery life of the previous model in a thinner, lighter design. Always exceeding our expectations, Apple actually exceeded its own expectations with this one. The battery life is longer, offering eight hours of 3G talk time and browsing and LTE browsing, ten hours of Wi-Fi browsing, ten hours of video, 40 hours of music, and 225 hours of standby time.
$199 for 16GB
$299 for 32GB
$399 for 64GB
The most important news for those who aren’t exactly ready for an upgrade is that the iPhone 4 is now free with a plan and the 4S is now a cool $99.
It’s tough to grade this thing considering we haven’t held or even seen it in person, but there’s absolutely zero reason to believe any of these upgrades are somehow not what they have been claimed to be. Apple doesn’t play that game. So looking at the big picture, we have to say this is definitely something to consider for those looking for a new smartphone. It is better than the iPhone 4S in every way while maintaining the same price tag. Those still sporting the 3GS are free to snag the 4 or 4S if they haven’t been won over by the 5. For those looking at other brands, check out this handy chart put together by Mashable comparing the iPhone 5 to its competitors. Oh, we almost forgot. This is what it looks like (also available in white).