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The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

Last updated on: September 13, 2012 11:59 IST

The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

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US-based Get Ahead reader Rangaprabhu Parthasarthy offers his take on the iPhone 5 which was unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook at Yerba Buena Center in downtown San Francisco on September 12

First things first. The iPhone 5 marks a big departure in Apple's philosophy. This is the first time we have seen a product that does not blow our minds off.

When the Retina Display was announced for the iPhone 4, it was thrilling. Nothing today was thrilling.

But that is not a ding on Apple. The device is different in everyway possible without being very different (OK, the screen is bigger). And that may represent the new Apple. The iPhone will no longer boast revolutionary changes.

Just simple evolutionary changes that make it thinner, smaller, faster. And more importantly keeping or improving on the battery life of the device. From a design and manufacturing standpoint, some of these evolutionary changes are tremendously challenging. A bigger battery means smaller components and better board design.

A thinner device means challenges in manufacturing. And here is where Apple's engineering shines. And these efforts will be all it takes  to keep the massive Apple family to continue upgrading their devices every year or every other year.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Image: iPhone 5
Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: SEXY , US

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After a year, Apple announced the next iPhone to a receptive audience in the Yerba Buena Center in downtown San Francisco on September 12. The new iPhone, known as iPhone 5 is a major upgrade to the 4S. Here is what was announced and how it matters to you, the consumer.

The software in the new iPhone -- iOS6

iOS6 was officially announced way back in summer. In addition to all the minor upgrades -- the big feature with iOS6 was Apple's own take on Maps to replace the default Google Maps. Also announced in summer were updates to Siri, Facebook interop and a potential Trojan Horse/sleeper hit, Passbook.

Apple demonstrated all these new features on the new iPhone (more on that soon). Most of these features looked great in the presentation as they always do, but we will have to wait and see how good they are. Especially Maps and updates to Siri.

Google Maps is so ubiquitous and popular that people will predictably rant or rave about Apple's native Maps implementation. Siri has been a hit or a miss feature. One that promised so much but delivered so little. Like any learning machine, Siri will get better with more users, more voices, more accents and more queries.

Apple demonstrated iOS6 features on the new iPhone -- GPS, turn by turn directions with new Maps, updates to Siri with sports scores, movie info, etc., and Passbook.

Nothing new since the summer unveiling of iOS6. iOS6 will be available on September 19 for supported devices.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: Siri , GPS , SEXY , Yerba Buena , Apple

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The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

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The new iPhone hardware

As widely speculated (and photographed), the iPhone finally makes the leap to the big leagues of smartphones -- as in the ones with a large screen. 4 inches to be exact.

To do this without making the life of app developers miserable, Apple chose to keep the width of the device the same and just extended the length to make it a 4-inch screen.

The bigger screen is definitely a welcome change -- one that the rest of the smartphone industry has embraced well before Apple. Initially existing AppStore apps will have a black band on the top and bottom until they hopefully get updated for the new screen.

The device is made of glass and aluminum -- as speculated. The device is about 18 per cent thinner and claims the mantle of thinnest smartphone -- at least until the next LG or Samsung device comes along to lay claim to the throne.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: SEXY , LG , Samsung

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The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

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A6 processor

As widely speculated, the iPhone 5 carries an A6 processor which according to Apple is faster and better in every metric.

A6 boasts 2X faster graphics and 2X faster CPU. Given that the iPhone 4S and more importantly iOS runs pretty smoothly, this will be mostly an unnoticed change but for games that use high end graphics.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: SEXY , CPU

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The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

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Wireless connectivity

On the Wi-Fi front, the new iPhone supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n upto 150Mbps. This is expected. Most handsets and a lot of tablets are starting to support this configuration.

On the WAN front, iPhone 5 finally joined the LTE leagues (HTC, Moto and Samsung say, 'Welcome to the party. We were just cleaning the kitchen'). The iPhone boasts LTE support in multiple countries (a first) and DC-HSDPA for Europe that refuses to make the big time bet on LTE, yet.

At the time of this post, the LTE chipset is not known.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: LTE , WAN , HTC , SEXY , Moto

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Optics

The iPhone 4 and subsequently the iPhone 4S are considered to have some of the best smartphone cameras in the business. The iPhone 5 ups the camera game by offering a better camera -- better sensor, sapphire crystal, better low light performance and coupled with the more powerful A6 processor -- faster shooting and image processing overall.

The iPhone 5 also supports a panorama mode (Sony is thrilled that it has company here).

FaceTime goes HD finally. This obviously comes with the bandwidth problem. FaceTime is now supported over cellular networks with different carriers controlling the pricing and availability.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: SEXY , OSony

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The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

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All else

Apple announced its new Lightning connector to replace its 30-pin connector. There is an adapter that will be sold that converts the 30 pin to Lightning (I am guessing $19.95 for that).

The new iPhone supports Wideband audio, also known as HD Voice. This once proposed never mainstream feature is available on the new iPhone with 20 carriers on board with it. Remains to be seen how effective or obvious this feature is.

NFC is missing. Apple obviously thinks mobile payments is not ready for prime time or that NFC may not be the right technology for the game. Mobile payments are definitely the next big step for smartphones but Apple isn't sold on the technology available to do it. Not just yet.

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: NFC , HD Voice , SEXY

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The iPhone 5: 'SEXY' but not 'REVOLUTIONARY'

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iPod Touch, iPod Nano, iTunes, AppStore and Facebook

iTunes and the AppStore are completely revamped for the mobile experience (about time). The software looks designed from the ground up for an iOS user.

Facebook is integrated in every aspect of iTunes as it was originially expected before the creation of the now obsolete Ping service. Like Twitter with iOS5, Facebook is integrated into the OS and sharing options are everywhere.

The iPod Touch has been updated to keep pace with the new iPhone. It uses a 4-inch screen, A5 processor and a look very similar to the iPhone 5. Siri is also now available for the iPod Touch. And finally, iPod Touch in different colors (Nokia says, 'Color me yellow').

There are also new iPod Nanos -- cool, colorful and fancy, bigger and most importantly with Bluetooth. The Nanos are bigger (2.5-inch), boast physical buttons and with Bluetooth. The 2.5-inch screen may unfortunately take away the small but growing iPod Nano watch fanbase.

The venerable iPod headphones (I never liked them much to be honest, but thats just me) finally got a refresh with the EarPods. Maybe this one will fit in without falling out?

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: SEXY , Siri , AppStore , Nokia

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Apple says, 'Everything is better'

Apple loves to iterate on components by making them smaller and faster. The iPhone 5 is no different. Much of the device is really not revolutionary in the obvious sense. It is the innards where it all matters.

The components have been made smaller, faster and overall better. Most users will not feel a signficant different but for a thinner and longer device in their hands.

Developers will of course love anything faster to put their stuff on. The iPhone photographers, a growing group of fanboys will love and preach the camera upgrades.

And designers will call the device 'Sexy'. Apple did everything that was expected on the iPhone 5. Kept all its millions of loyal followers happy. And Verizon, ATT, Sprint and carriers around the world ready to take your money (and send a big check to Apple).

Will you buy iPhone 5? Discuss


Photographs: Apple.com
Tags: ATT , SEXY , Verizon

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