Apple used today to finally oust the iPhone 5, none of us really had any doubts over the name now, did we? Oh and, – wait for it – another generation of marginally altered iPods were announced!
Tim Cook took to the stage to deliver the iPhone 5 to the masses of eager Apple fanatics – who were not actually there. The big cheese even decided against live streaming the event leaving said zealots to do a whole lot of reading over the course of the hour through various live blogs – kind of like what you’re doing now. Regardless, Mr. Cook seemed awefully pleased with what the company had achieved over the year which is primarily thanks to the loyal Apple fanbase, Dispite the rapid influx of competing devices in the tablet market ranging in prices from cheaper than the iPad to… cheaper than the iPad, the head honcho was still able to announce an actual growth in the iPad userbase bringing them from a 62% share of the tablet market to an even more crushing 68%. Somehow it seems Apple have no real need to release the rumoured iPad Mini, which it seems they’re not, as it wasn’t at the event today.
In the mood to throw numbers our way before getting to the good stuff, Tim Cook did just that by announcing that 700,000 apps are now available on the Apple App Store with iOS users having around 100 apps on their devices on average. The company’s range of desktop computers and laptops have also contributed to a growth in their market hold far greater than the common PC has seen for a while, so kudos to you there, Apple!
The iPhone 5 reared its head after all that impressive spouting of figures – it was like a small-scale Microsoft E3 conference. Much as expected, the iPhone 5 spans a taller 4-inch display housing a freshly designed aluminium chassis, something which suddenly makes me loathe the very housing of the 4/4S that I was still in love with seconds prior to the showing. I’m sure you clumsy folk will be pleased to say goodbye to that promised rugged gorilla-glass coating and saying hello to something that looks like it could defend you against a awkwardly aimed assassination attempt.
Sadly though, the specs fail to live up to the sexy stylings as the iPhone 5 packs the same retina display as it’s previous two iterations with a resolution only increasing one-way due to the 0.5″ larger display. Second to that it’s also housing the same camera, though actually now features a panorama shot and still shooting during video. It’s still a great camera, sure, but everyone likes an improvment over incredible; it comes with the claim.
Internally the phone is packing it’s cellular capabilities onto a single chip – both speech and connectivity – which it turn is credited as the reason why the iPhone 5 is now the thinnest smartphone on the market at a mere 7.6mm 18% thinner than it’s 9.3mm older brother. What’s more, unsurprisingly it’s packing LTE (4G) compatibility meaning it’ll be able to embrace those super fast networks with new UK phone network, Everything Everywhere, confirmed to be the only carrier capable of fulfilling that feature here in the UK.
Now me being a PC guy, the internals are all about raw power. Though, in a phone, I’m not all that fussed as ghaphical capabilities in a handset don’t really affect those who hate gaming on mobile phones – which is generally the readership of any gaming website. Regardless, the iPhone 5 is packing the all-new Apple A6 processor, and while the company have yet to announce it’s specific clock speeds or core count (or even the an-board memory), they’re promising 2x faster performance in both general use and gaming. Not bad on a phone that was already speedy enough in it’s last iteration. Along with that they’re promising improved battery life with up to 10 hours of WiFi browsing or 8 on 3G, it’s a decent improvement, something which may mean the difference between my 3GS dying during my dull commute home or entertaining me with the misfortune of Reddit readers.
It’s hard to see where Apple are going with this. The iPhone 5 hasn’t revolutionised the mobile display like it did with the ultra-HD resolution of the iPad 3 at the beginning of the year. The resolution of the iPhone 5 is practically that of the 4/4S only with a slight increase to due to the extra half an inch they’ve added to the screen, which is sad considering how the iPad 3 blew everything else out of the water. Now they’re lagging behind with their Retina display thanks to the SuperAMOLED+ screens of the Galaxy S III and maybe even the PureView display of the newly announced Lumia 920. It’s still a damn pretty screen, but at least the latter two can be called 720p displays whereas 1,136 x 640 cannot; it just sounds old fashioned.
Looking at my 3GS now, non of the apps situated on any of it’s home screen pages would get left out by me jumping ship to a Windows Phone 8 device. Just the sheer thrill of switching to a different user interface is enough to sell me to a rival right now, and I love iOS! Apple just haven’t done enough in the hardware sense to tide me over with another iPhone.
With the same camera, marginal updates of iOS6 and lack of a considerate screen improvement in turn with the iPad – Apple have done little to really set this apart from it’s competitors or even it’s model from the previous year. It’s safe to say the difficult choice between me replacing my now out of production iPhone 3GS with either a Lumia 920 or an iPhone 5 has been made for me courtousy of Apple themselves – and Lumia is their choice.