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.
|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).|
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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