Hey Apple, Where's the Bite?

Marco D'Souza
Published: 13, Sep 2012

Marco D'Souza is the founder and CEO of SpotMyGadget.com—a new-generation web-based service that helps end-users intuitively select and buy technology products based on specific real-world needs. An engineer by education, he was always drawn toward the intersection of technology and content, and was the erstwhile Editor of CHIP—India's leading technology magazine. He also served as Director of Content with a technology and marketing company headquartered in Seattle. Photography is a significant passion, and he has authored numerous articles on digital photography and image processing. Being an inveterate foodie, he is regularly on the hunt for the next must-visit restaurant.

After Apple's special event in San Francisco earlier today, the general mood was undoubtedly underwhelming. Sure, they launched a new iPhone and a couple of new iPods with notched-up specifications and capabilities. But really, that was it. Nothing fireworks-worthy. So here, then, is a translation of all the iPhone 5 announcements and what they all really mean.

iPhone_5

What's new What it means
- Weight: 112 grams. 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S.
- Thickness: 7.6 mm. Ok, that's quite thin.
- Display: 4-inch retina display, 16:9 aspect ratio, 1136x640, 44% more color saturation than the iPhone 4S. A bigger screen compared to its predecessor, but falls short of other new-gen phones like the Samsung Galaxy SIII or the Nokia Lumia 920 that have comparable image quality with larger screens and higher resolutions.
- Wireless: Single chip with HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and LTE. 4G support, with the ability to automatically switch between different wireless networks.
- WiFi: 802.11n at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Faster WiFi data transfer speeds--upto 150 Mbps.
Processor: A new chip--the A6. 2x faster processing and 2x faster graphics (delivering console-quality gaming,) 22 percent smaller compared to its predecessor, the A5 processor.
- SIM support: Only NanoSIM. A totally new SIM standard that is not compatible with a regular SIM or MicroSIM, so you'll need a new SIM card with this phone.
- Battery life: 8 hours of 3G talk time, 8 hours of LTE browsing, 10 hours of WiFi use, 10 hours of video playback, 40 hours of music playback, 225 hours on standby. Better browsing times on 3G and WiFi compared to its predecessor, but no word as to its talk time on 4G networks.
- Camera: 8 megapixel (3264x2448), hybrid ID filter, five-element lens, f/2.4 aperture, sapphire crystal lens cover, dynamic low light mode, precision lens alignment, Smart filter, 40% faster photo capture, Panorama mode, 1080p video, stabilization, photos while shooting video, face detection, 720p Facetime front-facing camera. A good set of photography features, but nothing revolutionary. These capabilities are on par with the cameras on high-end phones like the HTC One X, Droid Razr HD, Nokia Lumia 920 et al.
- Microphone and speakers: This phones has three microphones--on the bottom, front and back. The loudspeaker now has five magnets (up from two in its predecessor.) Noise cancelling on both the transmitting and receiving ends. Purportedly better noise cancellation, voice transmission clarity and speaker playback quality. Also, this phone uses a wider band for the higher voice quality, but this also needs to be supported by the cellular carrier.
- Earphones: New EarPods with acoustically-designed vents and new design based on the geometry of the ear. Apple states these new earphones were tested on over 600 subjects and deliver better acoustics even with more rigorous use, all the while being comfortable in a variety of ear types.
- Connector: A new, all-digital connector called 'Lightning'. 80% smaller, reversible, adaptive interface. A new connector means you won't be able to use this new iPhone with docks having the older connectors. However, Apple will be selling Lightning to 30-pin adapters. At $29 each (or $39 with attached cables.)
- iOS 6: New maps application, much use of vectors for smoother zooming etc, built-in search within maps, free turn-by-turn directions, 3D views, cinematic cameras that fly around during turns. Nicer-looking maps, but possibly not too different from the Google Maps experience on new-generation Android phones.
- iOS 6: Passbook--a new app that collects all electronic passes on one place-plane boarding passes, concert tickets, shopping coupons etc; integrates with the lock screen. A handy app to manage all of your e-tickets in a central, secure location.
- iOS 6: Siri--now able to understand and respond to a wider range of real world queries. Eg. "Find me a table for four at the nearest Italian restaurant." As is with any voice service, mileage will certainly vary across geographies. And with varying accents, this might be less than useable in most cases.
- Pricing: 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, $399 for 64GB with a two-year contract (US). The same pricing as the iPhone 4S when it was launched. Incidentally, with the contract the older iPhone 4 is now available for free (8GB) while the iPhone 4S is for $99 (16GB).
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