September 12, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
I like iPhones, a lot, so it was with some bit of excitement I followed all the live blogs and tweets as the Apple press concert was in session, and I made some snarky remarks as little by little the details of the new product were revealed.
Electronic House is no stranger to press conference hype, but Apple is capable of levels of hyperbole neither political convention was able to achieve. I was expecting Apple CEO Tim Cook to come out with an empty chair representing a Samsung Galaxy.
Anyway, it’s official, and many of the iPhone 5 rumors floating around over the past few weeks turned out to be true.
You can sum up the new model pretty much like this: it’s a little bigger and a little faster. The 5 bears a 4-inch Retina display (a half inch bigger than the 4S), a new Apple A6 chip and a better battery. A few new features include a Maps app with turn-by-turn navigation, Facebook integration, and better Siri performance (thank you, Lord).
Apple says the “taller, not wider” iPhone is better suited for many applications, such as viewing a calendar, Facebook updates and more. The LTE standard will make browsing and downloading faster, so you better make sure your data plan is up to the task.
While the iPhone 5 may suck up more data, it will use less battery power to do that, so you won’t need to plug into a dock as often. Speaking of docks, the rumors of a new, small, connector are true, so you’ll need to get a few adapters for your old iPhone accessories, or just connect with Bluetooth or AirPlay for tunes. Apple calls the new connector “Lighting,” which I don’t think I’ll be able to get used to. See the new adapter below:
On the camera, the resolution remains essentially the same (8MP), but Apple redesigned the optics for better low-light performance, a panorama mode, video stabilization, video face detection and photo sharing through iCloud.
The included earbuds, now called EarPods, are also supposedly improved, but I don’t think the makers of high-performance headphones are going to feel challenged.
For home theater and home control apps, there’s not much here that wasn’t here already. Speed and battery life may be the biggest improvements if you use you iPhone to access your home control system or turn the volume up on your home theater. The bigger screen may allow more control options to be viewed at once. The LTE network could be a big improvement if you like to log into your security cameras to see what the animals are doing at home while you’re away.
How much? You can get it September 21st for $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB) or $399 (32GB). The iPhone 4 and 4S are being discounted to Free and $99 (with 2-year contracts).
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.