Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Takes On the iPhone 5 hardware (before seeing it in person)

I'm an iPhone 4 user at the moment.  I held off on an iphone 4S purchase as the improvements were too incremental to get me to buy a new phone out-of-band (when not subsidized by the phone company when if I waited a year it would be cheaper).

I have family that asked my opinion, before the iPhone 5 event, of what was likely to happen after the iPhone 5 event.  I have said that based on past experience:

  • The phone is likely to have many innovative features that are attractive to users.  
  • Some media folks would croon over the phone and love it
  • Some media folks would surely state that the features are "old" and that some android phone or phones have had such features or better for a while and that the iPhone 5 is out-of-date and android is better and... (it can go on and on)
  • The stock might take a bit of a dive.
  • Sales of the new phone would be huge, and this would drive the apple stock price up.
Well, the stock price is already up prior to the start of sales for the phone.   The rumor is that the phone has been selling very well - sold out (delayed shipping) within 1 hour?  And, it sounds like the release actually went well.  There were some reports of slowness and problems with integration between Apple and cell companies (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint) in the US, but these reports were few and reports of people buying phones were many.  That bodes well for Apple.

I've sifted through hardware differences:

  • 20% thinner, same width, taller - 4.87" (the thinnest smartphone)
    • They made it taller but also lighter?
    • The new height is supposed to improve the antennae quite a bit.
  • 12% less volume
  • About 20% lighter
  • A new core CPU that is more energy efficient while being 2x faster (it is rumored to be the first truly Apple-designed CPU and is also rumored to run at 1Ghz instead of being "underclocked" to 800Mhz)
  • 1Gb RAM (double the previous generation)
  • somewhat better battery life with that smaller size and lighter weight
  • 4" screen (instead of 3.5" screen) with 16:9 ratio (like a big-screen movie screen)
    • 44% deeper color saturation
    • the first cell phone to meet the sRGB (see Macrumors sRGB article) - movies will accurately have the colors as chosen by movie makers.
    • Thinner without a separate touch layer and offers less glare than ever.
  • 3 microphones = better noise cancellation
  • Camera changes: (Digital Trends iphone 5 camera article)
    • rear camera will use a sapphire crystal to be scratch proof, and is smaller while not losing quality
    • front facetime camera now up to HD!  From .3 megapixel to 1.2megapixel.
  • Support (in one small efficient chip) for newer faster cellular
    • network technologies - mainly LTE - which can be VERY fast (often a touted android feature)
  • Support in that same chip for better WiFi technologies - finally 5Ghz 802.11n with up to 150Mbps - this Macworld article says it well.
  • newer better headphones - here's a link to a decent Macworld earbud article
  • lightning connector - the new cable plug is small, and has the advantage of being able to be plugged in either way.  Many are panning the new cable for a variety of reasons (expensive adapters, not adhering to the standard of using micro usb).  I will wait and see what comes of this.
The main trend I see is this:  Apple is truly innovating and trying to provide hardware that will delight, amaze, and provide long-term value to users:

  • Apple refused to support LTE and 5Ghz WiFi until chipsets supporting low power use were available.
  • They made their phone thinner and lighter out while also making it better!
  • The new manufacturing process fits the best parts from among over 700 together.  That's picky.
  • iPhone materials hold up over time.  Even a 4+ year old iPhone 3 feels pretty good, and Apple chose to move away from a plastic case long ago.
Later I'll preview iphone 5 with IOS6 features.

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