First things first. As anticipated, Apple’s latest smartphone comes equipped with a four-inch display, up from the traditional 3.5-inches of the past. It’s a Retina display, of the same eye-popping variety introduced last year with the third-generation iPad, with 326 pixels per inch. That’s not the highest PPI count on the market (indeed, it’s no change from the iPhone 4S), but it offers stunning quality and is more than good enough to watch HD films or play graphics-heavy games.
To power the Retina display there’s a new chip inside the iPhone 5 – called the “A6” – and Apple is promising CPU and graphics performance that’s twice as fast as that of last generation’s A5 chip. Indeed, the graphics look fantastic, but with a faster chip you have to wonder about battery performance, right? Well, Apple hasn’t talked this up too much, except to say that the iPhone 5 will have better battery life than the 4S. That’s due to power-saving functions on the A6 chip, apparently.
“Ultra-fast wireless” was another talking point, but of course this depends in part on your mobile network provider. Still, LTE-support has been added, so if your carrier has a proper 4G network then you’ll finally be able to take full advantage of it with an iPhone.
Then there’s the new 8-megapixel, rear-facing iSight camera, which sounds a lot like the old 8-megapixel, rear-facing iSight camera last seen in the 4S, but is in fact not the same. This version is 25-percent smaller, apparently, with a extra-durable sapphire crystal lens.
What else, what else ... oh right. As expected, Apple is ditching two of its older technologies – the execrable 30-pin dock connector and the oft-maligned earbuds. The former is being replaced by an all-digital connector that’s 80 percent smaller. And, because Apple is never content without a flashy name for its proprietary technologies, the new connector has been dubbed “Lightning.” That’s probably because it’s fast, but we’d recommend keeping your dock connector indoors during storms. Just in case.
For their part, Apple’s earbuds have gotten a much-needed upgrade, though the fact that they’re officially called “EarPods” is a bit twee for Techeye’s tastes. Also, the “beam-forming” microphone system sounds vaguely ominous. On the plus side, they pack noise-canceling technology that will come in very handy, making it that much easier to ignore boring colleagues, hungry offspring, needy spouses or crazy, ranting bus passengers.
Probably the most eyebrow-raising aspect of the iPhone 5 is the fact that all of the performance upgrades have been accompanied by a significant slimming of the whole phone. The device is 0.3 inches (7.6 mm) wide and weighs 0.25 lbs (112 g), making it 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than the 4S. In fact, in what is obviously a cynical attempt to entice supermodels, Apple is calling this the “world’s thinnest smartphone.”
So that’s the iPhone 5, available starting September 21. It’s not a revolution. It’s not eye-wateringly innovative.
Instead it’s a refinement on Apple’s existing formula for success. It’s lighter, skinnier, more powerful and, um, display-ier than its predecessor. And, judging by the pomp with which it was introduced, the iPhone 5 is packing 25 percent more hubris than any other phone on the market.
Ever cynically attempted to entice a supermodel? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
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