9to5Mac (@9to5mac) September 18, 2012
The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, and in those areas that didn’t see an upgrade over its predecessor — camera, storage capacity — one could make a strong case that the iPhone 4S was already ahead of the curve. Every area, that is, except for the OS. If anything, it’s the operating system here that’s beginning to feel a bit dated and beginning to show its age.
Still, the iPhone 5 absolutely shines. Pick your benchmark and you’ll find Apple’s thin new weapon sitting at or near the top. Will it convince you to give up your Android or Windows Phone ways and join the iOS side? Maybe, maybe not. Will it wow you? Hold it in your hand — you might be surprised. For the iOS faithful this is a no-brainer upgrade. This is without a doubt the best iPhone yet. This is a hallmark of design. This is the one you’ve been waiting for.
Many of us have experience with LTE from using the iPad. I’ll tell you it’s great to see it on the iPhone. I actually use LTE more on the iPhone than I do on the iPad, simply because I use the phone a lot more. The speed is incredibly fast, especially when compared to what the iPhone 4S could do.
Like the faster processor and graphics, LTE gives you the feeling of never waiting for anything. Apps open fast and you are ready to work or browse the Web right away.
Specificationists will say that with the iPhone 5 Apple is now behind its rivals in terms of features but in truth it’s hard to think of a feature offered elsewhere that the average person – as opposed to the tech obsessive – really needs. NFC is not sufficiently widely used, wireless charging is nice but still requires a charger plugged into the wall and most people get along fine without removable storage. The iPhone 5 is a great smartphone made even better. It’s fast, lightweight and backed by the largest application store for any device. It’s also probably the most beautiful smartphone anyone has ever made.
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Two other elements of the iPhone 5 that have already gotten a lot of press are the new EarPods and the new Lightning connector. I’m a big fan of the EarPods as they fit my ears almost perfectly — though I know that’s not the case with everyone. I can also hear bass for the first time with standard Apple earphones. They may not be the best earphones money can buy (nor should anyone expect them to be at $29.99 — or free with the new iPhone), but they’re a huge improvement over the old ones….As for the Lightning connector, it is what it is. A lot of people are upset that they’re going to need adapters for their old accessories. But that’s the price of progress. The Lightning connector is tiny compared to the old 30-pin connector, and the ability to plug it in with either side facing upwards is nice. I’m also not going to miss the pocket lint build up in the long port at the bottom of the iPhone.
Competition between mobile platforms keeps the industry moving and innovating. That can often present itself as a surfeit of innovation: feature upon feature, piled high in an all-singing, all-dancing device. Right now, the iPhone 5 has the best balance of everyday usability and performance, without the distraction of functionality that is clever but unintuitive. It’s an area in which Apple excels, and it’s the reason the iPhone 5 is one of the best smartphones on the market today.
Given that iPhone 4S users can upgrade to iOS 6 and do just about everything the iPhone 5 can do, and that Android users can get similarly impressive handsets for less dosh, we reckon the smart money won’t all be going on a new iPhone this year, even if the mass market can’t get enough of it. It’s good, very good. But it’s no longer the best around.
The bottom line, in case it isn’t clear already: The iPhone 5 is one terrific smartphone. Ignore the naysayers — even without any awesome technological breakthroughs, it’s a sizable improvement on the iPhone 4S. For many upgrades, LTE alone will be worth the price of admission.
How does it stack up against the Galaxy S III, the current champ among Android phones? It’s really not that complicated a question. The Galaxy does more stuff; the iPhone 5 does somewhat fewer things, but tends to do them better. (And when the iPhone doesn’t do something right out of the box, there’s often an App Store app that will.)
In other words, it boils down to a basic decision: features or polish? Only you can decide what’s important to you. It’s obvious which one Apple cares most about — and the iPhone 5 is the most artful, pleasing expression of its priorities yet.
The question everyone who hasn’t yet pre-ordered wants answered: Should you upgrade? My answer is simple. If you can afford it, yes.
There’s a reason why, just as with all five of its predecessors, it just says “iPhone” on the back. The iPhone 5 is all new technically, but it’s the exact same thing as an idea. Apple is simply improving upon that idea year after year in infinitely finer detail, like a fractal. It’s nice.
If you have an iPhone 4S, getting an iPhone 5 would mean breaking your two-year carrier contract and paying a painful penalty; maybe not worth it for the 5’s collection of nips and tucks. But if you’ve had the discipline to sit out a couple of iPhone generations — wow, are you in for a treat.
Apple has taken an already great product and made it better, overall. Consumers who prefer huge screens or certain marginal features have plenty of other choices,but the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice.
The result is a phone that’s compact and feather-weight, yet, thanks to the materials used in its aluminum-and-glass body, conveys a sense of solidity and feels great in the hand. It also comes with newly redesigned headphones called EarPods that are the first ever from Apple that don’t either immediately fall out of my ears, hurt or both.
The iPhone 5 is the iPhone we’ve wanted since 2010, adding long-overdue upgrades like a larger screen and faster 4G LTE in a razor-sharp new design. This is the iPhone, rebooted.
The new design is flat-out lovely both to look at and to hold, and it’s hard to find a single part that hasn’t been tweaked from the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is at once completely rebuilt and completely familiar.
Instead Apple has created a phone that the millions of current iPhone users will want to upgrade to. iPhone owners will love it, enjoy all those new features, and appreciate all the hard work, design, and engineering that has gone into it.
The iPhone 5 is a phone that makes you feel safe. A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect for a huge number of people.
It’s a phone that, until you start craving the iPhone 6, will serve you very well indeed.
People have always had lofty expectations for the iPhone 5, especially as the competition stiffens. In delivering a fast, attractive, LTE-capable and larger-screen handset, Apple has met those expectations with a gem.
Given the iPhone 5’s sales expectations, it’s clear that many consumers just don’t care about the pricing. It’s simply a must-have gadget.
Other manufacturers’ phones have newer, more innovative technologies in them – wireless charging or near-field communications that allow for data sharing by tapping phones together – but few if any inspire the obsessive devotion that Apple does.
Few have also been able to bundle everything together – music and video content, hardware, software and apps – into a simple and elegant total package. The iPhone 5 may not be terribly innovative, but it does deliver that package better than any previous Apple product, and better than just about any other smartphone.