Apple lauches the much awaited iPhone 5, is it Good Enough?

We’re sure you all were eagerly following the Apple Keynote live blogs and Twitter stream for the latest news from Cupertino. Well now the iPhone 5 is out, and most of those rumours which were floating around the internet about the iPhone 5 ended being true. Apple’s seems to be loosing it’s stronghold of withholding and keeping a tight lock on any  information about a product launch.

The new iPhone touts a 4 inch screen, and is much slimmer than the older versions. Even though Apple touted the iPhone 5 to be the slimmest smartphone, at 7.6mm, during their keynote, there are others in the market which are actually slimmer than the iPhone 5. It’s still the slimmest of the iPhones as of now.  Let’s get through the quick specs of this smartphone before we head on to what my thoughts are.

iPhone 5 Quick Specs Highlight

  • Screen:  4-inch widescreen Multi-Touch display with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front. The display is capable of 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • Processor: Quad Core Apple A6 processor. This processor provides 2 times the performance on the CPU and GPU compared to Apple’s A5 processor.
  • Size and weight: 123.8 mm x 58.6 mm and 7.6 mm thick weighing 112 grams
  • Camera: 8-megapixel iSight camera capable of taking HD videos (1080p) up to 30 frames per second. The Camera app also allows you to take panorama shots up to 28 Megapixel by just moving the camera over a scene. Front-facing camera is 1.2 MP capable of 740p video capture  at 30 fps. The device also features a sapphire crystal lens cover, which is supposed to be more durable than standard glass lens covers.
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB – not expandable. The lack of expansion is not too much of a problem, since they have 3 variants of the phone with varying storage capacity. You can pick which you feel is right for you.
  • Connectors
    • Lightning Connector: Apple’s done away with their 30 Pin connector which was a default for their iPhone, iPod and iPad range of devices and introduced a new Lightning connector. So if you already have accessories which use the older 30 Pin connector and you are looking to upgrade to the new iPhone, be ready to shell out for Apple’s Lightning to 30 Pin Connector accessory.
    • Nano Sim Cards anyone? The iPhone 5 now requires a new SIM card – a Nano SIM. Just when you though the micro-sim was a pain. The Nano SIM is much smaller than the Micro SIM, which is pretty much just the metallic connectors barely needed for the SIM to function.
  • Audio: – Active noise cancellation with two microphones.
  • Wireless & Radio Connectivity: The iPhone features high-speed internet connectivity on Mobile networks through 3G and LTE as well. The connectivity options depend on the are and the model of the phone. On the WiFi side, it features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for a wireless speeds up to 150 Mbps.
  • Color Schemes: Apple has introduced a two-tone color scheme for the iPhone. The Black is now called Black & Slate and the White – White & Silver
For more detailed specs of the phone head over to Apple’s iPhone 5 product page.

How does it compare to other Phones in the Market?

Well, as the twitter stream during the Apple keynote showed, a lot fo people were really disappointed with Apple’s latest product. They were expecting a lot more “innovative” features from the new iPhone. This didn’t really come out in the new device. Spec wise, I too feel that there’s nothing really cutting edge with the iPhone 5.

4 inch screen anyone?

Well finally Apple realized that the mobile world really didn’t fit within Apple’s 3.5 inch screens. Without going into the  “Phablet” world, some of the popular phones feature screens bigger than 4 inches. I personally prefer larger screens to fit in as much information in one screen while browsing and navigating using map apps.

The Retina display on the iPhone is still a winner, since most other are almost reaching iPhone’s screen density of  326ppi. The newly announced Nokia Lumia 920 marginally beats the iPhone with a 332ppi. The more the pixel density, the better and smoother the display looks on screen. So again, no clear revolution, just marginal improvements here.

Quad Core Processor

This is pretty much the norm in most of this year’s Flagship phones released by HTC, Samsung and others. The extra juice in the processor will come in handy with Gaming, and CPU intensive apps like mapping and others. The Apple A6 boasts of a 2x performance boost over the older A5 processor, but eats up less battery than the older processor.

So yet again no revolution here.

Panoramic Saphire Camera?

Apple’s boasting the new iSight camera on the iPhone 5 which is a 8 Mega Pixel camera, which is also capable of taking Panorama photos which can go up to 28 Megapixel. The lens cover is made from Saphire Crystal, which is harder and more durable than the standard glass one – so less scratches are expected. The camera software also features include improved stabilization while shooting videos, video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos while recording a video clip.

No real revolutions here as well again. The 8 Megapixel camera is pretty much standard specs, what the revolutionary 41MP camera on Nokia’s Pureview 808. The HTC One X too featured the ability to take still photos while shooting video.

Panorama shots using the phone camera was a feature avaiable on other platforms for some time now. Symbian, Android and Windows Phone had apps which allowed you to capture panorama shots via the phone camera. Some phones like the Galaxy Nexus  featured this within the camera app itself without an external app.  In fact iPhone users could also take such shots using Microsoft’s Photosynth app from the App Store. So if you want to go Panorama with your current iPhone, try Photosynth out.

But the iPhone 5 is incredibly thin!

Yes, I’ve got to agree here. For all the features packed into the device it surely is really thin at just 7.6 mm. It’s comparatively thinner than most smartphones out there in the market. Apple’s Phil Schiller, in fact announce that the iPhone 5 is the “World’s Thinnest Smartphone”. Well someone in Apple didn’t do their research well enough – Motorola’s and Huawei’s devices are actually thinner than the iPhone 5.

iOS 6 Operating System

The iOS6 Mobile Operating System brings in quite a set of new features out for the iPhone 5. Older devices up to the iPhone 3G also get this latest OS upgrade. Improvements in Siri is something a lot of people are looking out for. I still don’t see Siri helping out too much, especially here in India where it just ends up being something to turn on alarms and send messages and tweets via voice commands. A lot of people would love the deep integration of Facebook into the operating system’s contacts and calendars.

Siri still requires an internet connection for it to work. I really love the offline voice recognition support Google provides in Jelly Bean useful in those may dead spots for data in India’s mobile networks.

Apple Maps? Well till we see how much data Apple’s maps provide in India, I really can’t comment on it’s usefulness. I’m sure a lot of people are waiting for Google to get their own Maps app submitted to Apple’s App Store. Since iOS 6 also remove’s Apple’s default (and much neglected) Youtube app which was shipped in their devices till now, Google went out just released the latest and greatest official Youtube last week ahead of iOS 6’s public debut.

iOS6 is a mixed bag, so let’s wait till it’s released to pass judgement on it.

What’s not in the iPhone 5?

Pretty much the latest buzz words this year are missing in the iPhone 5. What are those you ask? Well NFC technology is creeping into a lot of the devices this year. Analysts and writers mostly cover the commerce aspect of NFC looking at this technology for it’s mobile wallet capability. Well NFC is also a real easy way for you to Pair devices (Phone -> headset, speakers, or another phone) by just tapping the two devices together. NFC can also be used to share files or images by just tapping two phones together, or just sharing your “virtual” visiting card, by bumping your phone with another’s.

What else? Wireless charging, something the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Nokia Lumia 920 currently tout is missing here as well. Well Samsung is yet to release it’s wireless charging pads out in the market, but the phone is capable of Wireless charging.

What else do you think is missing on the iPhone 5? Leave us a comment at the end of this post.

iPhone 5 will sell!

Despite the lacklustre Apple Keynote and Lauch of the iPhone 5 and the lack of revolutionary features , the Apple will still sell a crazy number of iPhone 5. Why? Here’s why I think it’ll still sell:

  • Apple is still a aspirational brand, which a lot of people look up to and it’s devices are what they dream of getting.
  • A lot of people still perceive that the iPhone is a simpler phone to use than the Androids of this world. I’ve met quite a few people who share this sentiment. So their first Smartphone could be the iPhone.
  • Because a lot of the existing iPhone users will surely look at upgrading to the new phone, for all the features which their current phone lacks. This is especially true in markets where the phone cost is subsidised by the mobile carrier, and need not hold true for markets like India where we pay the full cost of the phone upfront.
  • Let’s not forget the iPhone fans, who queue up for hours on the end to snap up the latest and greatest Apple has to offer them.

Apple will also make a ton of money selling their Lightning Connector to the legacy 30 Pin Connector, especially with a lot of iPhone user’s who’ve bought accessories which require the 30 pin connector.  As of this writing, pre-orders of the iPhone were sold out in less than an hour, which does give a strong indication of it’s future sales.

Send us your thoughts, comments or rants by leaving your comments below.

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Vinu Thomas

Vinu is a Technical Architect working on Web technologies and a mobile enthusiast, who likes trying out new gadgets and apps. You can follow him on Twitter @vinuthomas

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