iPhone 5: A blend of beauty, utility and versatility

iPhone 5: A blend of beauty, utility and versatility


iPhone 5, the world’s most-awaited gadget, is here. iPhone has been here since 2007, but Apple gave it a completely new avatar made of glass and aluminium on Wednesday

Apple has come up with iPhone 5 that will compel hordes of people to line up outside its stores before its Sept 21 release in the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and four other countries. 

The mad dash to buy the iPhone 5 will be repeated again on Sept 28 when it goes on sale in 22 other countries.

I wondered what the late Steve Jobs would have thought about the latest twist on Apple’s best-selling device. It didn’t take long to conclude Jobs would have been delighted with the iPhone 5’s blend of beauty, utility and versatility.


 iPhone 5 is everything that a smartphone owner could possibly ever desire for: It is taller, leaner, lighter, shinier and packs in much more punch than ever.

Yet, to call it a completely revamped, revolutionary smartphone that was being expected of Apple in the post-Jobs era would be a hyperbole. While the launch seemed to enthuse Apple watchers, it had little impact on the company’s stock price movement on the Wall Street.

Add in the more advanced technology and new features that went into this iPhone, and it’s clear Apple has come up with another product that will compel hordes of people to line up outside its stores before its Sept 21 release in the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and four other countries.

For many people, the iPhone is going to be a case of love at first touch. It’s incredibly light and seems to be easier to hold. That means it might not be dropped as frequently as previous iPhones, reducing the chances of the glass on the display screen getting damaged.

The new iPhone also is easy on the eyes, thanks to a larger screen and its “Retina Display,” the high-definition technology that Apple introduced in previous models. Video and photos look even more lush on the iPhone 5’s bigger and better screen.

At 4 inches diagonally, the iPhone 5’s screen is a half-inch larger than previous generations and Apple make sure to take advantage of it. On the more prosaic side of things, the extra space means you can now see five rows of apps on the home screen instead of the previous limit of four rows. Open the calendar and you can see five days of events on the screen in horizontal mode, instead of just three.

The larger screen really comes to life, though, with what is perhaps its coolest feature – a tool called “Panorama” that automatically stitches together a series of pictures into a majestic vista. Panorama can be turned on simply by going into the iPhone 5’s camera mode and then selecting it on an option menu. Once it’s activated, an arrow guides you as you slowly pan the camera around whatever scenery you desire (if you move too fast, Panorama tells you to slow down and also advises you if you are moving the camera too high or low). Once you are done, you can look at the panoramic shot within seconds and zoom into whichever areas of the picture look most interesting.

Not surprisingly, watching video on the larger screen is also more pleasurable, although I still think the iPad and other tablet computers are a much better way to watch movies and TV shows on the go.

The device is also speedier because of a more powerful processing chip and upgraded wireless technology that accelerates Web surfing.

Apple also has equipped the iPhone 5 with a superior sound system, courtesy of the new headphones that the company says it spent three years developing. The headphones, called “EarPods,” are a vast improvement on the ear buds that Apple has been giving away with its devices for more than a decade. The new headphones actually stay in your ears and make it seem as if the sound is playing inside your head. The EarPods come free with the iPhone 5, and they sounded as good as $100 headphones sold by a variety of other companies.

The new phone’s operating system, iOS 6, also introduces another fun toy that makes it easy to share photos with your friends and family. Just select a picture, or even a series of photos, then email them to whomever you want. Assuming the recipients also has an Apple device running on iOS 6, they will get a notification that will send the designated photos to their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The recipients don’t necessarily have to own an iPhone 5 because the new iOS can be downloaded for free beginning Sept. 19 on a wide range of older Apple devices, including the three previous versions of the iPhone and the last two versions of the iPad.

The new iOS also offers a feature called “Passbook,” where digital coupons, airline tickets and gift cards can be conveniently stored in one location. This, too, is going to be popular. Yet, Passbook would be an even handier tool if the iPhone 5 boasted a near-field communication chip to enable wireless payments at the checkout stands equipped for the still-nascent technology. Some phones running Google’s Android software are able to process payments because they have the NFC chip.

Siri is also supposed to be smarter and even more helpful in the iPhone 5 .

What’s more, in the iOS6 users can now share pictures via iCloud’s Shared Photo Streams using the iPhone 5.

Significantly, iPhone 5 will have LTE 4G functionality that can transfer data at much faster rate. The phone will be able to switch between antennae in order to support the network.

It will be interesting to see how rivals will react to the LTE-equipped iPhone 5. Arch rival Samsung and HTC few days ago threatened Apple with patent lawsuits if it ported iPhone 5 with LTE.

Considering that LTE is already present in the flagship phone of Samsung and the fact that LTE has not been rolled out on a large scale even worldwide, the feature may not excite buyers in many markets, including India. Apple has announced LTE support on Sprint, AT&T and Verizon in the US, but not on T-Mobile.

Apple also unveiled the much-rumoured new 9-pin dock connector called Lightning, which is 80% smaller than the 30-pin dock connector so far common in iPods, iPhones and iPads of earlier generation.

The new dock connector has 8-signal design and can be plugged in the device from either side, making it easier for the user. The company will also sell an adapter for older Apple connectors.

Meanwhile, to complete the new eco-system, Bose, JBL and some other companies are already working on speakers and docks meant for iPhone 5.

Confirming another rumour, Apple said the iPhone 5 will not be compatible with existing sim cards. This means iPhone 5 users will have to move to new nano sim cards to be issued by the operators around the world in sync with the phone’s launch.

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