Months and months of speculation and anticipation have finally come to an end. It’s official: Apple’s iPhone 4S is now a piece of trash. Phil Schiller has just officially announced the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, less than a year since the 4S was unveiled. Here is everything (actually, hardly anything) on how cool this new gadget it.
1. Offical name is iPhone 5 (no sh*t!). It’s 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S, 18% thinner, and crafted out of (what else?) glass and aluminum.
2. Pre-orders begin on Friday, September 14, and the device will ship to lucky consumers starting on September 21. It’s available in 16, 32, and 64GB models for the respective prices of $199, $299, and $399 when accompanied with a two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.
3. There were rumors of a shnazy two-toned design. And it’s real. That 16:9 display runs at 1136 x 640 with five rows of icons. According to Apple, it’s “the most accurate display in the industry” because the touch sensors are embedded in the display as well.
4. As expected, Apple has also unveiled a brand new chipset for the iPhone 5: the A6, which Apple says is a full two times faster than the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S.
5. The iPhone 4S’s battery life wasn’t necessarily special, but the iPhone 5 has 8 hours of 3G talk time, as well as 8 hours of 3G and LTE web browsing to be precise.
6. Sound: audio system has been bolstered with a smaller, improved speaker, and there are also now three microphones in the mix: one on the front, one on the back, and another on the bottom.
7. There is a new connection port/cable called “Lightning.” We’ll look at that later. It’s cool too, no worries.
> THAT COOL NEW CONNECTOR CABLE/PORT
So, what is up with this, huh? For, like, EVER…Apple has used virtually the same USB connection cable for ALL of its devices; iPods, iPhones, iPads. But now the iPhone 5 gets its own, new cable, huh? Affirmative action blows.
Apple changed its long-standing 30-pin dock connector out for an 8-pin new standard called Lightning. But what does that actually mean for users? Well the advantages are mostly passed on through hardware design — not necessarily around performance.
Here’s the skinny: Apple made claims on-stage about improved speed and reliability, thanks to an “eight-signal, all-digital” hardware design. The speed could be better, but this is still based on USB 2.0 specs, not 3.0 or Thunderbolt. That means gains will be modest, not magical. And given that Apple recently made sure that its latest notebooks all have USB 3.0, that seems strange.
But it isn’t that bizarre, really. Apple would have had to do significant redesigns on the inside of the iPhone itself to make that change, and that would have cost more money and affected margins. Engadget senior columnist and long-time mobile industry analyst Ross Rubin told me via email that, while USB 3.0 seems like a logical way to go, that likely won’t happen for a while yet, but is probably an easy switch in terms of the tech in the cabling itself.
> A FREE IPHONE?
Yessir! The iPhone 5 will be sold for the same price as the current model it is replacing. The 4S will be sold for $99. And Apple is setting a price of $0.00 on all iPhone 4 models, provided it is accompanied with a 2-year service plan. …damn.
It is a good move because it now puts the iPhone 4S in direct competition with entry-level smartphones, such as the Motorola RazrM. These phones have (or, had) the advantage of price over the iPhones. But now…the game has changed. Apple wins quality and price.
The iPhone 5 looks fantastic, has the insides or a terrific machine, typical pricing, and allows older models to remove compeition from pathetic but cheaper phones.
And it has solidified one major question in the minds of Apple consumer and the company itself: the company will survive without Jobs. It will never be the same without him. It will never forget it. But it will be fine.