The iPhone 5 has a number of wonderful new features. It also comes with iOS 6, Apple’s newest version of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch operating system. Together they are the envy of your IT guy, I promise, but is it the best choice for you?
To answer that question there a are few things to consider, the device itself, iOS 6 and the differences between the iPhone 5 and its predecessors the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. In this series we’re going to take a brief look back at the iPhone 4 line, iOS 5 and the limitations, benefits and carrier deals they now come with. Later in this series we will discuss the new iPhone 5 and then iOS 6 in detail. Finally, we’ll end with some useful tips, a great list of iPhone 5 optimized Apps and a few of my favorite Tips & Tricks!
So let’s jump in eh!
A Quick Look Back…
First let’s get up to speed on the pervious generation of devices. In June of 2010 Apple released the iPhone 4. It burst onto the mobile scene with a beautiful new monolithic form factor, the ultra-high resolution Retina display and significantly faster internal components.
Later in 2011 the iPhone 4S would introduce the world to Siri the Personal Assistant and a number of hardware improvements from an image stabilized camera to faster video processing for better App responsiveness — and dramatically improved gaming!
In October of 2011 iOS 5 introduced a number of features considered long overdue by many. The Android-style pull down notification center being the best example. It also enabled integration with Twitter, wireless iTunes syncing, iCloud integration (Apple’s cloud computing service), Photo Stream (secure over the net photo syncing), AirPlay & wireless mirroring to Apple TV devices, an improved Mail App and iMessages. A fantastic feature list that might leave you wondering “what else could they do?”
The short answer is, they could make it free!
Following the recent introduction of the iPhone 5 most cellular carriers have dramatically reduced the cost of the iPhone 4 and 4S. Both Verizon and AT&T now offer a free 16Gig iPhone 4 or a 99$ iPhone 4S with a two year service contract.
Don’t Grab Your Free iPhone 4 Just Yet — There’s A Catch!
Before you grab your free or cheap iPhone 4 or 4S consider that while iOS 6, like all Apple’s major mobile updates, is free from the iTunes App Store for all supported devices — there’s a catch: the iPhone 4 and 4S devices don’t support a few of the cooler iOS 6 features:
iOS 6 features not supported by the iPhone 4:
- Apple Maps Fly Over
- Apple Maps Turn by Turn directions
- Camera: Panorama images
- Camera: Snap stills while recording video
- FaceTime over cellular connection
- Safari: Offline reading list is unavailable
- Hearing Aids optimized for iOS 6 assistance
The iPhone 4S supports nearly all of iOS 6’s new features, save for snapping still images while recording video. Though there are Apps in the iTunes Store that will allow you to pull still frames from video once it’s recorded.
So while you might be able to score a free iPhone 4 with your upgrade, it’s important to remember that if you want all the features of iOS 6 and beyond you’ll need an iPhone 5.
So Let’s Get Down To It: What’s New?
The iPhone 5 and iOS 6 are packed with new features. So many we had to break this post into sections!
For now let’s just say the iPhone 5 continues the trends we saw in the iPhone 4 series. But don’t worry, we’ll quench your geek-info thirst for details in subsequent sections.
With significant upgrades in the iPhone 5’s internal components Apple’s newest iPhone is easily one of the fastest phones on the market (as of this writing). Let’s take a quick look at the things Apple updated in the iPhone 5:
- The screen has been upgraded to a beautiful four inch Retina display, perfect for HD TV, movies and games.
- New WiFi compatibility makes the iPhone 5’s wireless networking the fastest available by far.
- The iPhone is a world phone! Meaning it will work as well in London as it will in Laramie (provided you’ve got a carrier).
- The iPhone 5 is thiner than the 4 and 4S by nearly 20% and noticeably lighter.
- While lighter and thinner, the iPhone 5 features a Unibody design and an anodized aluminum back for extra durability and no more cracked back glass!
- The new smaller more durable doc connector can be plugged in either side up. An exciting feature if, like me, you’re tired of having to flip connectors over again and again to make them fit!
- iOS 6 introduces built in Facebook support, significant Siri upgrades, panoramic images, Apple’s new Maps App and a wealth of features too long to list here.
In short the iPhone 5 is everything the 4 and 4S sought to be and more. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that as the iPhone line and its dependancies progress the older devices will slowly become incompatible with new features and Apps. Even as I write this I’m updating a dozen or so Apps on my iPhone 4 (did I mention jealous IT guys yet?) and it would seem that all but one have ended support for the iPhone 3 and 3GS models. The world of mobile technology advances quickly and the tech savvy, or interested at least, will find a new iPhone 5 to be a stronger investment than a less expensive older iOS device.
So Is It Right For You?
Looking at even this brief list of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 features I have to believe you’re at least considering picking one up. While some of the features unique to the iPhone 5 aren’t for everyone, the more durable construction and increased screen real-estate will make for a friendlier user experience — especially for anyone with slippery fingers or vision problems. While the LTE world phone capabilities should be more than enough to convince regular travelers it’s the phone for them.
The iPhone 5 is a strong contender among smart phones in today’s mobile market. It’s faster and more durable than any of its predecessors and the iOS iTunes App Store is significantly larger and more secure than any Android store available. If you’ve been looking for a smart phone that does everything you want, everything you want to try and maybe even everything your IT guy drools over, the iPhone 5 is the clear winner.
And If you’re still on the fence I urge you to hold off on getting an iPhone 4 or 4S until you read our iPhone 5 specific follow up!
~ Aaron Perrell
IT Consultant from Laramie