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Apple iPhone 5 Smartphone Review

Apple's new iPhone 5 - the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone, but is it all that it's cracked up to be?

| Phones in Mobile Devices | Posted: Oct 2, 2012 3:26 pm
TweakTown Rating: 75%Manufacturer: Apple

Introduction

 

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Apple's iPhone 5 needs no introduction. The iPhone 5 is pretty much the largest tech device released this year, seeping right into the mainstream, even being featured on local TV stations where they bring in 'tech experts' to talk about it. This is when you know you've made the big time.

 

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Apple have pushed the iPhone into areas that no other company have been able to do, from tweeners, to business meetings, and even retired folk. This is a testament to not only Apple's marketing prowess, but its easy-to-use mobile operating system, iOS. Back in 2007 when the original iPhone launched, the fanfare was at a minimum. I remember being personally excited, because at the time, the market was dull.

 

I still remember the day the original iPhone was released. I live in Australia and the first iPhone wasn't even released here, yet I did everything in my power to get one. A week or so after the US release, I had one in my hands - oh boy. It was the most glorious phone or tech-related object I had ever used. It looked amazing, the UI was incredible, and it was just... perfect. The effect the iPhone had on you was hypnotic - something that hasn't been matched (in my opinion) since - not even from Apple.

 

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Apple tripped over themselves releasing new features onto the phone, then the 3G came out and "changed everything, again". The same continued with the 3GS, and then the iPhone 4. It was only at the release of the iPhone 4 that Apple had some formidable competition in Samsung, and after the iPhone 4 we had the 4S, where Apple met even stronger competition.

 

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Samsung are pretty much the only one able to compete, not just in hardware, but in its position between consumers. Most people know what a "Galaxy" is, but won't necessarily know what a "One X" is from HTC. This gives Samsung incredible power against the iPhone, something that the South Korean company has worked very, very hard for.

 

The original iPhone was truly a breath of fresh air in a stale phone market. Since the original, we've seen five generations of iPhone's - the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S and now, the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 is the first time the Cupertino-based company has worked from the ground up on the iPhone whereas previous iPhones have received small updates to its processor, screen quality, connectivity, physical design, but never a full redesign.

 

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Apple's iPhone over the years has started to meet more and more competition, in the form of pretty much just Samsung, but there are other players fighting for your money. Google, HTC, ASUS, Microsoft, Nokia and others. Since the iPhone launched, Apple has slowly eaten into most of its competitor's share of the smartphone market, pretty much pushing everyone either against the wall, or over it. They've made other companies completely re-think how they make their smartphone look, act, and feel.

 

This is what any great tech company should do, and Apple should be applauded for making the other smartphone makers notice that people not only want to own a smartphone, they want a fashion symbol - enter, the iPhone 5.

 

 

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

 

The iPhone 5 comes in three sizes: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, but offers no expandable storage. This is one area where it truly loses out to other manufacturers' devices that choose to include expandable storage by the way of microSD cards.

 

Pricing on the iPhone starts from $199 on a two-year contract for the 16GB model. Outright costs will set you back at least $699 or more, depending on what country you're based in.

 

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The iPhone 5 really drives home its specs - with Apple CEO Tim Cook personally talking about the iPhone 5 being twice as fast as its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S was no performance slouch, but as with any technology, there can always be improvements made. Apple really went back to the drawing board in order to make the iPhone 5 thinner, faster, and lighter.

 

The problem with the iPhone 5 is that specs aren't just listed on Apple's website. We know that there's an A6 processor inside, which is a dual-core processor clocked at around 1GHz (with some users in the UK reporting their iPhone 5 is running at 1.3GHz). 1GB of RAM is built in, and a faster GPU is included. It's not underspecced, but it's not overspecced.

 

The problem is, when the original iPhone came out, the mainstream customer would not care of the specs inside of the phone - think back to 2005 - 2007, which one of your friends would brag that their smartphone had a "dual-core processor" or a "Retina display". The iPhone kind of made specs mainstream as other companies had to push specs to beat them, thus, we now have a market of more aware consumers.

 

This is something I've noticed amongst friends, online, in magazines, newspapers, on TV, or just in public. People know about specs - and it makes me feel like less of a nerd or tech junkie.

 

The iPhone 5's screen size is the biggest change over the iPhone 4S, increasing from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. This was a big move from Apple, who once proclaimed that they could never change from 3.5 inches on the iPhone as it would create problems with the UI. But with increased competition from their competitors pushing screen sizes on smartphones right up to 5.5 inches, with the average on Android-based smartphones at over 4 inches, it was a move Apple needed to make.

 

Inside the iPhone 5 we find a custom-designed A6 processor from Apple, which is only a dual-core chip running at 1GHz. Pfft, right? Wrong. The iPhone 5's processor is a damn powerhouse considering it's only a dual-core clocked at 1GHz. Apple's custom-designed A6 processor is definitely something the company can be proud of, and it's a wonder why they didn't brag it up before the iPhone 5's launch. The competition are all tripping over themselves pushing quad-core processors into their devices, with the iPhone 5's main competitor, Samsung, with their Galaxy S III sporting a quad-core processor.

 

This is where fragmentation of the Android market loses out to Apple. You can buy a Galaxy S III that comes with a quad-core processor, but depending on your location and market, you might end up with a dual-core version. Many smartphone makers are now doing this and Apple are simply winning at this section of the game. When you buy an iPhone 5, it's an iPhone 5. If your friend or mom, or cat has an iPhone 5, it's just... an iPhone 5. There is no quad-core version, or non-Retina display model - they're mostly the same. The only changes are usually with the cellular side of things - CDMA or GSM models, but the internal hardware stays the same apart from internal storage. Bliss.

 

Availability-wise, you might find it hard for the next couple of weeks to land your hands on the latest and greatest from Apple, as stock is pretty much drying up all over the world. Putting the iPhone 5 on a contract might be the best bet, as carriers should have stock.

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