Christmas and Black Friday are several weeks away, but shortly after 9 a.m., iPhone Friday brought a similar vibe to the cities malls as millions of tech enthusiasts, geeks and Apple fanboys (some who arrived last week!) waited in line to buy their apple product, the iPhone 5, which starts at $199.
New phone, new design, a larger 4-inch screen, LTE, a faster chip and a very strong feeling of Deja Vu, that’s what you get for ~$199.
Everybody has been totally “nerdgasming” all over themselves this morning about the thinness of the iPhone 5. It’s been kind of annoying to be honest, but then once you actually get on in hand, you realize no one is overreacting. In terms of volume, the iPhone 5 is actually bigger than the iPhone 4S (even though it’s thinner) but you won’t notice it at all. There’s not a single Android phone on the market that is as thin and light as the iPhone 5, other than the Android RAZR HD. Apple didn’t completely redesign the iPhone this year, but they definitely did a good job, ultrathin and clean phone. Apple’s fans would probably tell you that, it’s not just how the phone looks, it’s also how it feels.
For nearly 10 years the 30-pin Dock connector has been ubiquitous, but ever since iPods started getting thinner we all knew its days were numbered. The giant connector is a painful legacy of an earlier time that needs to be removed from the ecosystem and, with the iPhone 5, Apple decided it was time to say good bye. Indeed the Dock connector must go, but Lightning doesn’t always feel like a confident step forward. Lightning connector is easier to connect. It plugs in nicely and does so regardless of orientation, plugging in right-side-up or upside-down. Superficially, it’s perfect, but Lightning comes up short in a number of important areas. It is, incompatible with the 350 billion iPhone and iPod accessories currently on the market including iPod Out, the specification used in most cars. iPhone 5 itself only supports USB 2.0, so a faster interconnect on the other end wouldn’t help anything, but there’s nothing stopping the company from expanding the Lightning standard to work with Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 in the future.
The heart of the iPhone 5 is the new “A6” processor, a chip that Apple wasn’t able to describe other than it being “[…]twice as fast as the last-gen A5 and “22 percent smaller.”. Thanks to benchmarks, which identifies this as a dual-core 1.05GHz processor paired with 1GB of RAM. For storage you have a choice of 16, 32 or 64GB models priced at $199, $299 and $399. Storage is, of course, not expandable, but iCloud is your best friend in that case.
iPhone’s wireless connectivity options are also greatly improved with the addition of LTE. On top of that is an expanded selection of WiFi connectivity options. The iPhone 5 adds 802.11a support to complete the set of a/b/g/n compatibility. That connectivity is now dual-band as well, so you can step up out of the crowded 2.4GHz into the less crowded band at 5GHz. Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS support all return.
Battery life is untouched.
iOS6, sigh. “What Apple has done with #iOS6 maps is like planning a mission to outer space and NOT TALKING TO NASA,” tweeted comedian Baratunde Thurston. That’s all I have to say on iOS6 maps, it’s terrible. Apple announced earlier this year it was replacing its mobile map software from Google with a new Apple-designed system. All iPhone and iPad users are now forced to use the new map system when they update their software or buy the iPhone 5, which will come pre-loaded with the maps. But within minutes of the new software launch on Wednesday, iPhone users began to point out that a number of landmarks had been misplaced on Apple maps, incorrectly named and lost entirely. Screenshots posted online show a museum located underneath a river, the map service deny the existence of the English town Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born. Other users say a search for London directed them to London, Ontario, in Canada, instead of the British capital etc… Some fellow tech bloggers on Thursday were advising owners of older iPhones not to upgrade to iOS 6 because of the maps, I do agree with them, same advice, just don’t update yet!
I saw somewhere on CNN website that Dutch satellite navigation company TomTom, which provided the data for the new map system, told broadcaster CNN it is not responsible for the way the maps work. /facepalm
However, the poor result for Apple’s maps don’t appear to have scraped the popularity of the iPhone 5, 2 millions of copies are sold already.