iPhone 5 Greets The World (Part 1)

10/1/2012 4:48:28 PM

It looks as if the leaks were right all along

With much fanfare and flourish from a rising, smoke filled platform on stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the iPhone 5 made its debut today in San Francisco, and there were few surprises in store. Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., Phil Schiller, following a brief history of the iPhone flanked by the quote "The phone that changed phones forever", introduced what many believe will be the highest selling iPhone of all-time by first pointing to its enhanced design features. The latest iGadget, like many of its predecessors, boasts vast improvements over the previous iteration. Schiller opened with the obvious, pointing out the sleek new design that makes this smart phone taller, thinner and constructed fully of glass and aluminum. As expected, the phone will be available in black and white with the aluminum backside shaded silver on the white version and "slate" on the black. At 7.6 mm thick, the iPhone 5 is the thinnest model iPhone ever released by Apple's design team and 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S. The latest device is also 20% lighter than its forerunner, weighing in at a scant 112 grams. However, the thinner construction and lighter weight have not affected the screen. The new gadget has a larger 4-inch screen at 1136x640 pixels with 326 pixels per inch and 16:9 aspect ratios. All features, Schiller cited, make this iPhone even easier to use with one hand. Video clarity is also improved and includes 44% more color saturation over the 4S. Touch sensors are now built right into the device, contributing to its sleeker blueprint.

Description: iPhone 5
iPhone 5

Upgrades were also announced regarding network and connectivity, with Schiller crowing over the "ultra-fast wireless technology". Having utilized GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), EDGE, EV-DO, HPSA; the latest generation will now include HDPA+, DC-HSPDA and the 4G LTE. The LTE is perhaps the most intriguing feature in connectivity, employing high-speed data transmission through different radio interface together with core network improvements and dynamic antennae with the ability to seamlessly switch between diverse networks. The list of carriers, however, seems largely unchanged over the previous generation, with LTE support offered by Sprint, AT&T and Verizon in the United States and Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin and Kudo in Canada.

Description: iphone 5

Another key advancement to the iPhone's functionality came from the introduction of the new A6 chip. A chip, Schiller assures, that is twice as fast at the A5 yet 22% smaller. In order to demonstrate the improved performance of Apple's new chip, EA executive producer Rob Murray took center stage with a demo of the latest version of EA's popular Real Racing game. Graphic performance was impressive, and Murray pointed to features in the game like life-like mirrors and "dynamic reflections" that showed off the chip's bulkier strength.

As Murray exited the spotlight, the familiar battery-life indicator appeared on the slide show behind Schiller eliciting a hushed excitement from those in attendance. Expectations were, based on components that have been shipped to Fox Conn factories and leaked iOS6 specs, that battery life would remain largely unchanged from previous versions, and the prognosticators were correct. The iPhone5 battery life allows for:

·         8 hours of 3G talk/3G browsing

·         8 hours of LTE browsing

·         10 hours of WiFi browsing

·         10 hours of video

·         40 hours of music, and

·         225 hours on standby

None of the preceding specs are that surprising, but the fact that there is no major degradation in battery life coupled with higher performance is worthy of some note.

A once "throw-away" feature for cellular devices that has become increasingly important as mobile media increases in popularity is the camera phone. Apple has increasingly put more importance into the manufacturing and implementation of cameras into its devices and the iPhone 5's camera is no exception. Phil Schiller unveiled a host of new features that make the 5's camera the most multi-faceted in Apple's history, not to mention, as Schiller points out, making "the world a more beautiful place". Undoubtedly, the hallmark enhancement of the latest camera is its panoramic feature, a mode that, with a vertical swipe of a finger, will analyze your scene and provide you feedback. At 28 megapixels, photos come out in full quality. It also boasts the ability, in real-time, of stitching together photos without redundancy, a hybrid IR filter, five-element lens, f/2.4 aperture, image stabilization and -welcome news to most iPhone camera users - a dynamic lowlight mode that promises to deliver better quality photos in darker settings. Another new component is the "sapphire crystal" which is reported to protect the lens as well as improve clarity.

Description: Facetime in iPhone 5
Facetime in iPhone 5

Video recording was also enhanced in the new generation phone. Recording is now done at 1080p with improved stabilization, face detection and the ability to capture photos while the device is recording. The front-end FaceTime camera saw an upgrade as well; now capturing video at 720p with a backside illuminated sensor and the ability to work over a 3G network in iOS6. Furthermore, Schiller touched on some minor improvements to sound capabilities on the new phone, like an additional microphone and superior speakers, as well as a new feature called "wideband audio". Wideband, according to Schiller, fills up more of the frequency spectrum and makes voices sound more natural.

Finally, an often overlooked but nonetheless important aspect of Apple devices was discussed: connectivity. For over a decade, since 2003, the iPhone (and other Apple devices) have used the traditional 30-pin connector. Schiller unveiled a new dock connector dubbed Lightening, an 8-signal all digital design with an adaptive interface. The new connector is 80% smaller than its precursor. It utilizes the Thunderbolt technology, first seen in the introduction of the new iMacs earlier this summer. The Apple exec went on to mention that the company has developed an adapter that works with the old 30-pin connector.

Strong audience support was evident as the price points of the iPhone were announced. A new iPhone 5 16GB model will retail for only $199, with 32GBs at $299 and 64GBs at $399; all prices, of course, dependent on a two-year contract. As Apple often does with new product announcements, previous models will see a drop in price. In fact, the iPhone 4 with 8GBs, only two generations removed from the iPhone 5, will now be free with a two-year contract! The device will officially hit shelves on September 21, with pre-orders accepted as of the 14th. Experts have also noted, following the closing of the Apple event with a rousing performance from Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters, that the new features and modest price points make Apple much more competitive with the proliferation of Android devices on the market today.

Description: iPhone 5 16GB
Strong audience in iPhone 5

Despite the lack of any earth-shattering news from the tech team at Apple (as if it were even possible), the iPhone 5 has arguably addressed issues with previous models while offering enhancements in photo quality, networking and software that will keep the world coming back for more.

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