Not to anyone?s surprise Apple launched the fifth iteration of the iconic iPhone today in San Francisco. The fanfare in front of Yerba Buena Center in Moscone Center had the all the earmarks of a Hollywood production. Invited press entered by the front door while Apple VIPs and assorted others entered by the closely guarded back entrance. Field coverage vehicles were bumper to bumper out front with the on-air newsies doing their thing creating a crowd throng on the sidewalk.
Apple, the company who understands where the 1 percenters live, locates its stores in these select neighborhoods. The company very carefully guards their introductions with the verve of Gestapo guard dog. They are true believers in public relations to the point of mind control. The company has come to be a modernized version of their famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial. In short they have become that which they originally advertised themselves as not being.
What?s New Anyway?
Apple is busily catching up with the current stable of Android Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones. The 4-inch display, currently manufactured by Sharp has a 170 dpi display resolution with a dispersion filter on the surface. This is to make up for the lack of supply of the Samsung 240 dpi displays still sitting on a dock somewhere in South Korea due to legal disagreements between the two companies.
Along this same line, is the units CPU, a 28 nm ARM A6 core also manufactured by Samsung. Apple has announced it is moving its business away from Samsung, who they believe stepped over the line in the supplier/customer relationship by copying Apple?s design and openly competing with Apple in the commercial market and who was found guilty of infringing iPhone patents in August.
Making things more unpleasant is Apple?s announcement that they selected TSMC as the foundry source for their supply of the A6 processor. A slight but overarching problem is that TSMC?s production is fully loaded and refuses to ?lock-up? production to Apple on a prepaid basis ? the company does not want to bet the company on one customer.
Thinner, Lighter, and LTE
Apple claims that the iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone in the world. The anodized aluminum body is 7.6 mm thick and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S.
iPhone 5 supports wireless standards that include LTE and DC-HSDPA allowing responsive browsing, downloading and stream content viewing. Apple has engineered their own unique single-radio LTE solution it also features dual-band 802.11N Wi-Fi support for speeds up to 150 Mbps.
8 Mpixel Camera
The iSight camera has been redesigned and is now 25% smaller than the camera in used in the 4S. The lens contains a scratch resistant sapphire lens cover making it more durable than standard glass. A new panorama feature lets the user capture panorama images of up to 28 megapixels by simply moving the camera across a scene in one smooth motion. New video features include improved image stabilization, video face detection (up to 10 faces) and the ability to take still photos as you record. A new FaceTime HD front facing camera makes FaceTime calls incredibly clear and can be used for self portraits recording 720 HD video.
iPhone 5 uses the new Lightning connector for a smaller, smarter and more durable connector than the previous one. The all-digital Lightning connector uses an adaptive interface that uses only the signals that each accessory requires, and it is reversible so you can instantly connect your accessories. A legacy Lightning-to-30-pin adapter is also available to connect the phone to the older standard 30-pin accessories.
New audio enhancements include beam-forming, directional microphone system for higher quality sound, while background noise fades away with new noise canceling technology. Wideband audio will be supported by over 20 carriers worldwide at launch. Newly redesigned earbuds are claimed to be a more natural fit for the user while improving on durability and providing a high-end acoustic quality typically reserved for higher-end earphones.
iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6 with over 200 new user features. The all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by turn navigation and the new Flyover view; Facebook is integrated for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from the Notification Center; Passbook, the simplest way to situate all your passes in one place; new Siri features, that include support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listing; Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari and Maps; and Shared Photo Streams via iCloud.
Pricing & Availability
iPhone 5 comes in either white & silver or black & slate, and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the 64GB model. iPhone 5 will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple?s retail stores, and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPhone 5 will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK on Friday, September 21, and customers can pre-order their iPhone 5 beginning Friday, September 14.
The new iPhone 5 is a progressively improved smartphone that will no doubt give the user an improved communications experience over the former Apple iPhones. We noticed that a lot of people have rushed to buy Samsung Galaxy S III phones since Samsung lost against Apple ? they?re afraid that the Samsung phones won?t be available if the court approves Apple?s injunction against Samsung.
Having less competition in the smartphone marketplace will only lead to higher prices, poorer service and less innovation. We?re hoping for a consumer oriented solution to the legal morass that Apple seems intent on digging deeper.