7 years ago, Steve Jobs and Co. put their hope in a completely new device. The computer company designed and manufactured a mobile device that was introduced as a mobile phone, music player and internet communication device. It was an uphill battle that will have them enter a very competitive, congested and hungry industry filled with companies with deep pockets. Not to mention the constant barrage of headaches dealing with carriers. Something that Apple had never done. This device was named the iPhone.
Today, the iPhone has grown to become the world’s most important device to Apple. Not only have they succeeded in taking over the market, but they have obtained 73% of the world’s mobile operating profits (Samsung being the only other significant company making money – the others are losing money). So with so much pressure to continue outperforming the market, what does the newly released iPhone 5 bring to the market?
When I first opened the box of my iPhone 5 and picked it up, I was amazed at how light it is. The device is 18 % thinner and 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S. The attention to detail is phenomenal and you can tell that Apple took great caution into making this device extremely beautiful. You can tell Apple was obsessed in making the aluminum unibody feel very nice in your hand.Top that off with a larger 4 inch retina screen that makes the device bigger without sacrificing the one handed use of the device. It really is the perfect fit.
The display on the iPhone 5 is beautiful. Apple removed one layer of display so that the thinner 30% thinner display provides more clarity. This feels like the icons on the phone are painted on. Very close to your eyes and looks better than the iPhone 4S before it. Also the iPhone 5 has the best and most accurate display on the market (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6334/iphone-5-screen-performance) and provides full sRGB colors.
The new iPhone has been updated to include LTE networking. The speeds I’m seeing here in New York city are insane. I can get 25Mbps down and 29Mbps up network speeds. That’s faster than most people’s wifi network. In addition, Apple’s A6 chip makes the operating system run smoothly. I have yet to see any hiccups with it. Scrolling is smooth, fast and very responsive. For the first time Apple provides a chip that is faster than that of the latest iPad. Very impressed so far. Even though the phone runs on power hungry LTE and the chip is powerful enough to make the phone scream, the battery life is very good on it. I can leave my home fully charged and by the time it’s 8PM still have 25% of my battery life. This is with normal use (tweets, emails, Instagram, reading and listening to music).
The iPhone 5 keeps its 8MP camera like the device before it, but it has been enhanced with better low-light performance. Photos taken in darker scenes look better than the previous iteration. Apple also introduced Panorama mode to the camera. You hold your phone portrait and scroll slowly to your left. I was surprised how well it works. I took the following photo from Top of the Rock ( http://d.pr/i/nolJ ) and 9/11 memorial ( http://d.pr/i/iIQU ) so you can see the effect. (on both photos, I didn’t span all the way to the right due to people being in the way, otherwise, it would have been wider). The mode works well and it’s a nice little addition. Video has also been enhanced with better face detection and taking photos while shooting video. Also, the iPhone camera has been fitted with sapphire crystal to protect the surface of the lens.
Apple’s new iOS is faster, more stable and introduces some very welcomed additions. I won’t go through each detail, but we have new maps (more on this later), new redesigned app and iTunes stores, improvements to Siri, new iCloud features, passbook, mail and safari improvements, phone app do not disturb features and more.
The new maps app have been a point of controversy lately and rightly so. Here in NYC maps has worked really great, but this is a big “main” city. People run into issues in places that are not very common. There’s also the quality and quantity of POIs (point of interest) missing compared to Google’s. Apple uses Yelp for POIs which compared to Google’s, it’s not as robust. People wonder why Apple made this move and I come to the following conclusion. Google and Apple are rivals and competitors. Why continue to provide data to your competitor based on their maps? If Apple wants to remain competitive, they HAD to provide their own maps. Even though we all suffer in the beginning for it, the only way to enhance maps data is by users actually using it. One of the premier reasons why Google maps is so good, is based on all the data that us iPhone users have been giving them. We have made Google maps better (in addition to Android users) by using the app. Do you remember Google maps before the iPhone? yeah, it was a mediocre product at best. Apple had to make this move now and not later. If it waited longer, they would have to sign another deal with Google to use their maps and rumors are that Google wanted to fill their app with ads and ask for more data from their users. Apple wasn’t going to comply. It’s a tough decision, but I think it’s the right one. You never want to provide your competitor with data that can become fuel against your own product. I would say that though this is early pains, we will see a very mature product in the future. Make no mistake, location is the future of mobility. Google knows this, Apple knows this, Nokia knows this. Apple was caught between a rock and a hard place and they made the right move. UPDATE: Tim cook today wrote this in regards to Maps: http://www.apple.com/letter-from-tim-cook-on-maps/ )
There’s no denying that the iPhone 5 is the best iPhone in existence. In fact, the iPhone 5 today is the most powerful and well-designed smartphone in the market. It feels great, works great, and though we suffer with a premature maps application, I trust that it will become better month after month. I can say with certainty that if you are due for an upgrade, you would do well to upgrade to an iPhone 5. Oh, and yes, I will continue to use my iPhone 5 naked! #nocase