Should You Upgrade to the iPhone 5?


Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, says the company’s freshly-debuted iPhone 5 is “the most beautiful product we have ever made.” It’s also their thinnest and lightest phone yet. But do you really need to invest in one? Before you start making plans to set up camp outside of the Apple store for its release on September 21, you might want to check out our roundup of what various tech writers are saying about the new product. Be sure to let us know what you think of the iPhone 5 in the comments!

The new screen is bigger — just not the biggest.

“The most obvious upgrade from prior iPhone models is that new display,” reports Chris Welch of The Verge. “The 4-inch Retina panel is an appreciable upgrade over Apple’s old hardware, but doesn’t measure up to the monstrous screens found on some competing devices. Whether that’s a good or bad thing will vary between users; if you’re looking for maximum screen real estate, you may still gravitate toward a Galaxy S III, Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X, or the upcoming Lumia 920.”

It should be much faster, depending on your carrier.

“LTE access will be available on all three major US carriers (and others across Europe and Canada), though AT&T and Verizon’s coverage currently dwarfs Sprint’s,” writes Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. “On the other hand, AT&T and Verizon’s current data packages are as unsatisfying as ever, and you’re sure to burn through your quota even sooner now. But! This is a great leap forward for the iPhone, bringing it into the forefront of mobile speed, where its Android and even Windows Phone peers have been racing around for some time now.”

It features Apple’s latest processor, the A6 chip.

“The processor is two times faster than the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S, and is 22-percent smaller,” explains Alexandra Chang at Wired. “That means better graphics performance — two times faster, as well, according to Schiller — along with iOS improvements and better gaming.”

The camera offers better resolution and low-light performance.

“While the camera is still 8 megapixels, like the previous 4S model, its resolution is now 3264-by-2448 on a retina display, offering backside illumination, a hybrid IR filter, a five-element lens, and a fast f/2.4 aperture,” writes Macworld‘s Jackie Dove. “A new dynamic low-light mode can sense dim light and boost the aperture by two stops.” What’s more: “For the first time, a sapphire crystal lens cover helps protect the camera’s lens to make images clearer and sharper. The ability to take macro and close-up photos has also improved.”

But… there’s a smaller dock connector that’s incompatible with everything Apple you currently own.

“By all means, it’s bound to annoy owners of current speaker docks, accessories, and charger/syncing cables since it will render them obsolete,” says CNET of Lightning, an updated version of the 30 pin connector launched in 2003. “Apple will offer a connector (of course they will), but there’s no word yet on how much it will cost. We imagine, though, that the adapter may be awkward to use with some current accessories like a bedside alarm clock/music player. For new accessories, Apple says that manufacturers like Bose, JBL, and Bowers are working on new products.”

Over on Engadget, Daniel Cooper has put together a handy chart detailing all of the technical differences between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S.

And finally, BuzzFeed’s FWD pointed out some interesting selling points that we didn’t see elsewhere. Among them: – “It’s easier than ever to blow people off when they call you. There’s an entire new set of buttons for it!” – “Pull-to-refresh email! Maybe pointless, but stupidly addicting.” – “You now have to worry precisely half as much if you drop your iPhone, since the back isn’t made out of oh-so-shatterable glass anymore.”