Saturday, 22 September 2012

iPhone 5: Hit or Miss?

With the arrival of the new iPhone (arguably the fastest phone in the world), and the tremendous market response it has achieved, can there be any doubt that Apple has out-done itself yet again and driven another nail in the coffin of all other smartphone makers?

While the iPhone 5 is definitely a force to be reckoned with, not all is as pretty as it may seem. It may have the fastest processor, great for playing 3D games and crunching through videos and photos, but for most of us the extra speed will do little to improve most of the features we use. Reviews have already pointed out iPhone's biggest weakness, iOS 6, which has both added features in this latest version (integrated Facebook) and taken them away (Google Maps).

Fortunately, the OS can be improved. Unfortunately, with all that power under the hood, basic email-attachment access via direct file system browsing is left to be desired. Apple still doesn't want you to access your phone's files except for photos, and through 3rd party apps or iCloud. And you still can't download an MP3 file directly off the web using your phone and set it up as a ringtone.

Physically, the new iPhone is a beauty. Light, thin, but definitely not the thinnest phone ever (as Apple would lead you to believe). iFixit's teardown shows a suprisingly easy disassembly, if you care to open up your phone. The one-piece aluminum chassis is light and dissipates heat well. However, the black version is going to need a case (which most people use anyways) because apparently it scratches extremely easily. The white version doesn't show scratches as easily since the aluminum is also light in color.

So is the iPhone 5 a hit or miss? The market has answered and the masses are eating up iPhones like never before. Despite some criticisms, Apple has their fan-base in the palm of their hand, and the fan-base is growing. However, there is nothing revolutionary about it. The iPhone is just a little bit more refined, using the fastest available chips, thinner but still with a long-life battery, and slightly larger screen.

With all the media attention Apple has gained with the hype around the new iPhone, one would think it was miles ahead of the competition... But there are plenty of other options in the smartphone market that can compete well on that level. Depending on useability requirements, there are many other phones that may be a better fit to someone versus the iPhone.

Now that Apple has set the bar higher, be ready for a slew of new devices that emulate the design esthetics, speed and battery life of the iPhone 5. If you are willing to wait, I see some amazing smartphones coming in the next few quarters!

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