Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
9/28/2012
09:31 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

iPhone 5: My First Week

After spending a week with the Apple iPhone 5, I have a clear picture of what has improved, evolved, and gone sideways.

iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Apple iPhone continues to be one of the most important devices of the year. Whether or not you care about Apple products, the iPhone's presence reverberates throughout the industry and is responsible for helping to shape the competitive smartphone landscape.

The iPhone 5--the sixth smartphone from Apple--represents the biggest step forward for the company, but also its biggest step sideways. It is a worthy successor and upgrade from the iPhone 4S, but also falls short of the competition in some respects.

If you weren't one of the initial 5 million people to scoop one up in the last week, should you consider buying one now? Let's talk.

Biggest Improvements

The iPhone 5 is a different animal from the iPhone 4S, its immediate predecessor. When looking at the hardware, it is better than the iPhone 4S is almost every respect.

-- Hardware. Apple trades the glass and stainless steel sandwich design of the iPhone 4S for an aluminum body and glass front. The iPhone 5 is lighter, thinner, and easier to hold and use all day long. The attention to detail of the iPhone 5's manufacture--scuffed paint aside--is incredible. It's a well-designed and well-built device that's less breakable than its predecessor.

-- LTE 4G. The LTE 4G radio, whether it be for AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless, puts the iPhone in the same class with its chief competitors in mobile broadband. It's a significant step up in speed, especially for Sprint and Verizon customers, who've been limited to their carriers' slower 3G networks. We're talking a 10-fold increase in wireless data speeds. Yes, it's that dramatic.

[ What's inside? Apple iPhone 5 Teardown: Visual Tour. ]

-- A6 processor. Apple hasn't provided too many details about its newest mobile processor. Labs that have torn the iPhone 5 apart discovered that it has a triple-core CPU clocked at about 1.3 GHz each and a dual-core GPU paired with 1 GB of RAM. Techie jargon aside, it truly delivers a huge boost in speed. Absolutely nothing dents the iPhone 5's speed. It is a noticeable improvement over the already-speedy iPhone 4S.

-- Call quality. The iPhone 5 uses new noise-canceling technology and other audio voodoo to improve the quality of phone calls. Whatever Apple did under the hood to the phone, it worked. The iPhone 5 is one of the best devices I've used this year. Not only is the quality good, calls are much easier to hear thanks to the significantly louder speaker.

What's Merely Evolved

There's plenty about the iPhone that is different from the iPhone 4S--and competing devices--but some of these features could have been improved even more.

-- Screen. The iPhone 5 stretches the old 3.5-inch Retina Display of the iPhone 4S and gives it a larger diagonal measurement of 4.0 inches. Pixels improve from 960 x 640 to 1136 x 640. It's still a Retina Display, and is certainly larger, but it's not a competitive size. Screens that measure 4.3 inches offer the best mix of usability and visible real estate combined with device size. Personally, I prefer screens that measure between 4.6 and 4.8 inches. The iPhone 5's screen lets you see more emails, more of your Twitter feed, more of that text messaging conversation, but that's about it. Additionally, the pixel count is just odd. Apple should have gone all the way and given the iPhone 5 a 1280 x 720p HD display, which is what many other manufacturers are choosing to do. I understand the implications this would have for developers, but c'mon; Android supports various screen sizes and aspect ratios ranging from 2.8 inches all the way up to 10.1 inches. You can't tell me Apple iOS developers aren't up to the challenge.

-- Battery. The iPhone 5 has a bigger battery than the iPhone 4S to offset the LTE 4G radio, larger screen, and faster processor. Despite the power-draining abilities of the 4G, screen, and A6 chip, the iPhone 5's battery still manages to get through an entire day, though just barely. I find that the iPhone 5's battery is sinking below the 40% mark by about dinner time. It's frustrating to think how much better battery life could have been if Apple made the iPhone 5 even 1mm thicker.

-- Camera. The camera rates the same 8 megapixels as the iPhone 4S's camera, but it makes improvements in low-light performance. Images are better, but only slightly. The iPhone 4S's camera was one of the best to appear in a smartphone. The iPhone 5's camera produces better results, especially in low light, but the improvements aren't always noticeable. The best things about the camera is that it is significantly faster than before, and offers a cool Panorama feature for capturing wide vistas.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Venturen
50%
50%
Venturen,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 1:57:05 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
what shame as Apple drags customer along with blind faith, no changeable battery, weird connectors....say good bye to all those old connector devices, and no memory chips. Funny the call quality and speaker needed big changes....hmmm maybe the last phone wasn't that great...could it be. But the blind believers will fork over their money and claim their phone is the best...then have to buy a new one next year....because well it isn't the best. Wonder what the record for 4 years of Apple phone spending? Switched to Galaxy and couldn't be happier...but I guess Apple will just try to kill the competition through legal methods as opposed to making a phone I want. It is complete BS as I owned an HTC before the Iphone came out that had what Apple claimed was theirs. That trial was complete BS!
deasys
50%
50%
deasys,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 7:27:39 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
That's strange, Venturen. I switched to iPhone and I couldn't be happier. Perhaps someday Apple will make a phone that Venturen wants. It'll be just for you!
PHX_Todd
50%
50%
PHX_Todd,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 6:02:07 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Good article Eric. I didn't upgrade with the 4S as there wasn't any real innovation there. I'm feeling the same on the 5, nothing really that makes me excited. Other brands are making exciting "cutting (or bleeding) edge" technology. I got the iPhone initially because of this innovation, now it seems that Apple is too busy to really excite me with their latest product. My iPhone 4 is still going strong and the only thing I really desire in it that is in the 5 is the LTE coverage. The only reason I'm still on my iPhone is the investment in the apps that I've made plus the lack of apps on the other markets (I know that this is narrowing daily). I'm struggling on which way to go here: get with technology, but a segmented brand and a phone that may not qualify for the next release of Andriod, or stick with iPhone and have the software stability but nothing new when it comes to technology. I guess I'll have to get an android device and give it a 30 day test drive to see if it fits my needs...
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:42:16 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Via your browser, go into Google Play and Amazon and look at the apps.

When the 4S came out it no longer fit my needs. I found the Google Play Store had almost every app the Apple Store did or a very close equivalent. Knowing that, I went shopping for a phone that did what I needed. The App Store between Apple and Android is a wash excluding some unique (usually good) games. That is even shrinking though.

I now use a Galaxy Nexus as my personal phone.
I do have an iphone 5 as a work phone.
I like the Nexus much better and am waiting for the next Nexus to come out.
deasys
50%
50%
deasys,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 7:31:15 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
So the iPhone 5 being the world's lightest, thinnest, toughest, fastest, best supported smartphone doesn't excite you? Well, I suppose it's good to be phlegmatic...
ImNOthere
50%
50%
ImNOthere,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 6:33:30 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
As a buyer on HOLD for the moment.
Please comment on the
wifi problems
Scratches ,etc
Overheating

or is this normal for a new product
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:33:17 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
No... Definitely not normal.
That said, I have the i5 and mine was defect free.

On awakening, it does take longer to connect to wifi than my i4 but not bad - just a few seconds.
The wifi issues are likely from iOS6 - have a wifi dropping issue in the i4 but the i5 is okay.
A work buddy had his 64gb model arrive with chipped edges. The local Apple store did swap it out even though they do not advertise it.

Overheating has not been an issue for me even when playing Horn.
Spaz
50%
50%
Spaz,
User Rank: Guru
9/29/2012 | 6:50:31 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
This article is WEAK. It makes no mention of how iOS 6 is causing people with a year or two old device, like iPod Touch 4G causing the App Store to crash. The 5 boasts a (technically) larger screen but it is puny and not even close to what the competition brings. The iPhone screen that is so slightly longer is still as narrow as ever and really looks disproportionate. All the features mentioned in the 5 are ALL, and I mean ALL, incremental upgrades. Yes, in some areas there are improvements but that MUST take place in technology. It is a given. You can't give credit when something is the norm. It's like saying the new Toyota Camera is more fuel efficient than last year. Umm. Yeah, it is suppose to be. That's the natural order of things, especially in the tech world.

Zeman is right though, don't go out and get the 5 unless you must. However, don't be surprised if the iPhone 5 drops down to a crazy low price this Xmas or Black Friday giving a lot of people even more buyers remorse in getting the iPhone 5 so soon and for $179-199 CDN/USD.
RudiX
50%
50%
RudiX,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 7:42:36 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
As underwhelmed as I am with the iPhone 5 I don't think there's the slightest chance of anyone seeing an Apple discount. Sales of this phone are gonna be huge, deservedly or not.
Omnipotent
50%
50%
Omnipotent,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 7:25:58 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
So Android users rant and rant about the iPhone short comings.
Oh what a restricted world Apple users must live, those iSheep. Android users sound an awful like PC users to me.

Buy the damn phone you want/like and stop whining.

Bashing someone for an article because he likes something over something else...really?

I have moved to Apple 14 years ago and have not looked back. Have not had a reason to switch. I just upgraded to the iPhone 5. Maps works fabulous in B.C. My old 3GS on IOS6 has NO issues.
My colleagues at work use Apple, their offices use Apple, the clinics I work in use Apple.

I think the Android looks nice. Good for you Android users. I have used the Samsung GS3 as one of my friends has one. Nice phone. I like mine better. I am happy that it works for him.

I like my iPhone better.
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:25:25 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Glad for you. I use both and prefer the Galaxy Nexus.
On the 3GS I installed iOS6 and compared it to another 3GS still on 5.1.1
Anything linked into Safari runs a bit faster. Most other stuff runs a bit slower.
Biggest issue, I am seeing a number of screen freezes I suspect have to do with low ram levels. I have the SHSH file so I will likely be downgrading it.
jhonk
50%
50%
jhonk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 7:30:48 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
--------
but still far short of Google Now's capabilities
---------------

uhh, not only is Google Now not even close to what Siri does, it isn't even in the same ball park....

even more telling is google Now came after Siri, after Google heard Apple acquired Siri to try and copy it's capabilities.... (where have we heard that one before from Google...)

hey, we need a multi touch screen OS for a phone... lets adapt Android to make one... I wonder where they got that idea...

hey we need a tablet OS, gee i wonder where they got that idea...

hey we need an app store... i wonder where they got that idea from....

not knowing Google Now is nothing more than search and a graph project that is trying to copy siri... and not apparently actually using siri shows you didn't actually use an iPhone before.... so your comments are suspect from that point of view...
Kevin Nash
50%
50%
Kevin Nash,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 12:43:57 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Android os came out before apple had its app store. Apple gained popularity before android. It might be safe to say that apple copied android in the app market...... Siri is a nice tool to use but me and millions of others stop using it after playing with it in the first 2 weeks. Apple has fallen off and when I see my friends with GS3 syncing their itunes with their phones, and using hotspot it makes me upset that I spent too much money on what seems to be old technology in 2012.
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:17:30 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Biggest issue I have with Siri, is it fails about a third of the time. If I have to redo a command or task, why am I using Siri?
deasys
50%
50%
deasys,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 7:39:08 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Don't be jealous of your friends and their iPhone 3GS, Kevin. Sure they can sync their tunes and use hotspot but you'll be able to do the same--and so much more--with a new iPhone 5. Go for it!
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:15:30 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Chuckle - clueless.
On JB, using GNow routinely, I wish Siri had even half the ability.
Siri is great at responding but totally lacks the ability to determine my wants and needs across any OS that uses my gmail login and building that into an administrative assistant that works remarkably well.

My guess is you really have no idea how it works and did little more than just look.
thinking allowed
50%
50%
thinking allowed,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 7:38:05 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
iPhone 5/ OS 6 is an improvement. Though they could issue an update, and probably will.

ITS VERY WORTH IT if for just one reason:

the speaker is louder, you can talk while you drive.

Loud speaker means Also, Siri can read texts to you while driving... and she can dictate short texts for you... such as "ok", "ill be there". Not that its legal (but neither is typing while driving still everyone does it, and bosses EXPECT IT!! Grrr!)
SPOKEN Maps are GREAT FEATURE!!! But I double check with google maps before I trust it ;)
It is very nice not having to look at a phone while driving.

Conclusion:
LOUD SPEAKER = You reduced your risk of death or killing an innocent person a little.

BAD STUFF:
No more video out... so even with an adaptor, your video cable to TV won't work!!! I was charging phone/watching netflix at the same time, which was GREAT. Now I have to buy a Roku and remember to charge phone.

Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:12:15 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
While the speaker is not bad, the speaker phone function is not nearly loud enough.

In some apps it can be fairly loud.
instinctive
50%
50%
instinctive,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2012 | 8:17:40 PM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
"It's frustrating to think how much better battery life could have been if Apple made the iPhone 5 even 1mm thicker."

Yip, exactly what I've been preaching for a long time, I even wrote an email to Apple.

What the hell, the 4S was already thin and light enough (if not, then you're stupid). If they had just kept the weight and thickness and filled the empty space with battery, they would TRULY have something UNIQUE to say about their new handset. "30 hours of 3G talk time, 24 hours of web browsing"... oh well...
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2012 | 3:44:29 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
Does anyone else find the music player on the i5 to be seriously underwhelming?
deasys
50%
50%
deasys,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 7:44:15 AM
re: iPhone 5: My First Week
No. I do find your question strange though, Rhonindk--the music player on the iPhone 5 is the same music player as on any device running iOS 6.
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.