- Lacks NFC wireless technology for currently developing mobile payment systems
- Comes with a new dock connector called Lightning that makes old docks and other accessories obsolete
Apple is out to rule the world smartphone market once again with the release of the latest iPhone, dubbed simply the iPhone 5. Unlike some of the previous models that were released by Apple in the past few years, this new one actually brings several major changes to the table, including a larger screen, a more powerful processor, and faster wireless technology. It also comes in a body that’s made with anodized aluminum, making it a full 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. People from all over the world have been itching to get their hands on a proper iPhone 5 for a long time now. Was it worth the wait?
The biggest change in the 5 that can be seen with the naked eye is the use of a 4-inch panel on its touchscreen display. The iPhone has always had a 3.5-inch screen since the release of the original back in 2007. But with the new model, the screen has been stretched vertically, resulting in a taller display that offers 16:9 viewing with higher native resolution and higher pixel density—1136x640 pixels and 326 ppi, to be exact. This new 4-inch Retina display has room for one extra row of apps on the home screen but otherwise, it works in the exact same way as its 3.5-inch counterpart.
Its also faster all around, thanks to a new dual-core Apple A6 CPU that’s said to offer double the speed and graphics performance of the chip in the previous-generation model, as well as a single-radio LTE solution that gives faster mobile data connections than ever before. In the absence of LTE networks, it also supports HSDPA data. And of course, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both still onboard.
Other noteworthy hardware changes include a slimmer 8MP iSight camera with Panorama mode and improved video stabilization, a better microphone setup for higher quality voice during phone calls, and a new dock connector called Lightning. This new dock solution has already earned the ire of many current iPhone users because it renders hundreds of fully-functional iPhone docks and other accessories obsolete. Apple could have gone with USB to replace the older dock connector for convenience, but users only get Lightning. Those who want to use accessories that are now incompatible need a $30 adapter that’s sold by Apple separately.
There are a couple of missing features on this year’s new iPhone. These are microSD card support and NFC wireless technology. Lack of the former means that user-available storage space is limited to just what’s on the device itself, and the lack of the latter makes the new iPhone incompatible with new mobile payment systems that are quickly gaining traction.
The base configuration of the phone offers 16GB of storage, which should be more than enough for most users. Those needing more can upgrade to a 32GB or 64GB model.
In the iPhone 5, an old expression rings true: the more things change, the more they stay the same. It brings a number of hardware and software changes, some more welcome than others, and the price for each model still varies mostly based only on the amount of internal storage. It’s an attractive handheld computing solution in more ways than one, especially with the introduction of iOS 6. But users of the iPhone 4 or 4S may find that it’s not worth recycling their current handsets just yet.