back to article iPhone 5: skinny li'l fella with better display, camera, software

Rumor has it that an Eritrean goat-herder with the unlikely name of "Bob" was unaware of the fact that Apple would unveil its iPhone 5 on Wednesday. Frankly, we find that hard to believe. In all of recorded gadget history, few product announcements have had as much pre-event hype as did today's iPhone 5 roll-out at an event in …

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  1. Arctic fox

    @Steve Evans "Re:headline"

    Given that the iPhone5 has been launched most of half a year later than the SGIII it does in fact partly explain why Cupertino is so worried. The specs etc of Sammy's offering make it look as if it was in fact the other way around and the SGIII was the newer phone. One gets that impression that Apple are beginning to fall behind a bit. It's still a very nice high end phone but it most certainly does not stand out of the pack any more.

  2. Rusty 1
    Stop

    Progress?

    So what useful things can this new telephone do that my 9 year old Sendo S330i can't? I would find it difficult to live with a phone that needs charging more than once every couple of weeks. I can make and receive calls, and even send and receive short messages comprised of characters from a limited set.

    Wake me up when they include an Orgasmatron.

  3. ThomH Silver badge

    Re: Progress?

    In common with most other phones, it's got a browser and maps and a decent camera. So if you get lost walking somewhere, you can find out where you are. If you're sat on the bus then you can check out BBC News or whatever. If you see something interesting you can get a shot as good as a point-and-shoot.

    More specialised tasks can also be achieved: if you're frugal you can scan the barcodes of products you're looking at in shops and find out how much they'd cost from Amazon or wherever. If you own a large amount of music you can put it into one of the online lockers and then your phone becomes an MP3 player with ridiculous storage. Subject to your OS and service provider you can use your phone as a portable hotspot for your computer.

  4. Grikath Silver badge
    Devil

    Re: Progress?

    Sorry to disappoint you, but the first instances of such an adult nature on a mobile platform are at least 15 years old that I know of.

    Of course, with modern phones and microelectronics it would be easy to either modify existing toys or create something entirely new, whip up an app, and find a willing test subject....

    It really is not rocket science.

    Either way, there's so much prior art in that niche it'd probably only be patentable in the US.

  5. KenBW2
    Thumb Up

    Re: Progress?

    My first phone!

  6. Karl H
    Devil

    Re: Progress?

    re "orgasmatron" . Haven't you heard of vibrate alert ? Apparently some ladies have already been using this feature ;)

  7. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Re: Progress?

    > Haven't you heard of vibrate alert ? Apparently some ladies have already been using this feature ;)

    One of the early analogue Sony's was a much more suitable shape. An iPhone really would be ergonomic for "personal" usage.... not that I'm sure that will stop anyone.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So that's UK LTE confirmed

    I'll be looking forward to the price plans.

  9. Greg J Preece

    Re: So that's UK LTE confirmed

    Ten quid extra a month for iLTE if history is anything to go by.

  10. mraak
    Meh

    Map wise

    In all the 1000s' years of history of the mapping, Google somehow missed to put a scale on their iPhone app, and the names of the rivers.

    If Apple's maps only fix that it will be a huge improvement for me.

    Maps with no scale? Please. What next, coffee with no coffee? Oh wait... Starbucks...

  11. Chet Mannly

    Re: Map wise

    "In all the 1000s' years of history of the mapping, Google somehow missed to put a scale on their iPhone app, and the names of the rivers."

    And yet they put all that in the Android version. Guess that decision is costing them now...

  12. Suricou Raven

    Lightning?

    The one advantage that the dock connector had over the standard-for-every-other-phone micro-USB was the analog audio and control channels for accessories. And now no analog audio. So they might as well have just gone to micro-USB.

    So why didn't they?

    Start the conspiracy theories here. Mine is very simple: They like all those iphone-exclusive accessories, even the third-party ones, and would hate to see them turn into accessories that will take any manufacturer's phone.

  13. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: Lightning?

    If Lightning is anything like Thunderbolt, perhaps they needed more power than MicroUSB allows (I believe the spec limits it to 1A @ 5V). That's one reason the Samsung tabs use a wide connector and prefer it over MicroUSB to charge (as it can drain faster than a 1A @ 5V feed can put back).

  14. thatBilly

    Re: Lightning?

    Analogue audio is possible from microUSB, Samsung devices can switch data pins to line out with an adapter. It's just a pity that there's so little support for it and no accessories etc. using it.

  15. Chet Mannly

    Re: Lightning?

    "perhaps they needed more power than MicroUSB allows (I believe the spec limits it to 1A @ 5V). "

    Good theory, unfortunately my Samsung charger outputs 1.5a through a microusb so that isn't the reason.

    More likely Apple did it so they can sell accessories and take a cut from any accessory maker using the socket, that's been their approach up to this point...

  16. Steve Evans

    @Charles 9 - was Re: Lightning?

    The Nexus 7 uses a standard micro USB connector and has a 2A 5v charger.

    You're right about the drain though, when connected to a standard 500mA 5V USB socket, the N7 only charges when you have the screen turned off and you leave it alone. If you sit there fiddling with it then it doesn't manage to put any charge back.

  17. Gerrit van Amerongen

    Re: Lightning?

    I'm guessing your Samsung charger can supply UP TO 1.5A; doesn't necessarily mean that's what is being drawn. Good engineering would mean it could then supply the 1A required without breaking a sweat.

    On the other hand there's nothing technical stopping a company using a standard connector (e.g. MicroUSB) but allowing it to pass non-standard current or even voltage if the connected device can be detected as able to accept it. USB DeviceIDs should do it. Then all you'd need in the charger is a little smart electronics to detect the attached device and feed it accordingly.

    In fact that's exactly what happens when an iPad is connected to a USB port on a (newish) Mac running OSX; the OS queries the deviceID, checks against the driver database and if it's an Apple device that can accept higher current, it boosts the current supplied by the USB port in order to allow it to charge.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Lightning?

    I mildly disagree. Look at the design of the Lightning port and plug and it's clear to me it will be more robust than Micro USB. The contacts on the top and bottom surface away from the bottom of the plug well will mean fluff and paper that so often find their way in to an open port will be less likely to prevent a connection. The notches which are engaged by rounded sprung engagement bars in the plug socket will ensure a positive click with engagement that is likely to remain positive over time. That it can be inserted either way round is a small convenience, but small conveniences add up. Once you have them, going back to older systems tends to be a wrench. Minor points I know but to me this illustrates the problem with mandating standards. Things get stuck.

    Also - though there is no need for it to be implemented this way, so this isn't a gripe about the mini-USB standard per-se - I have a minor dislike for the most common implementation of a pressed metal plug socket sheath (complete with gap where the two sides of the metal plate have been bent round to meat each other) found on almost all micro-USB equipped kit. It looks and feels cheap.

    The other much cited advantage of a "mandated" standard is said to provide is that you are no longer locked in to having to buy expensive replacement chargers. Only the volume of Apple sales is so high, that's not a problem. In no time there will be many cheap Lightening compatible, non Apple chargers available. This isn't true for many other manufacturers of course. The final advantage often cited is use between multiple devices from other vendors. This is the one argument that I think remains valid. However for me I'm not sure I would want this convenience more than I want the small improvements (partially because I don't any longer have non Apple kit is need of a micro-connection).

    People will complain about the change from the 30 pin connector of course, but when you look at the new thinner iPod Nano and iPod touch, it was probably even more a requirement for those to use the new standard. The iPod nano's width is the same as the width of the insertion grip of the new plug! Clearly Apple had to move on from the 30 pin connector.

  19. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: Lightning?

    "On the other hand there's nothing technical stopping a company using a standard connector (e.g. MicroUSB) but allowing it to pass non-standard current or even voltage if the connected device can be detected as able to accept it. USB DeviceIDs should do it. Then all you'd need in the charger is a little smart electronics to detect the attached device and feed it accordingly."

    The trouble is that most non-Apple phones these days tell the system that they're basic USB MSDs. They do this for simplicity reasons (as most systems carry Mass Storage drivers built into the system so don't need additional driver support), so it would be difficult to query the device to learn it can accept a higher power draw since USB flash drives and hard drives also report themselves as MSDs.

    Apple doesn't have that problem because it actually reports itself being a non-standard device (AND an MSD if you turn the option on), so it's easy to identify an Apple product. But then again, that's ALSO why you normally need iTunes or a similar program to access it, ESPECIALLY if MSD mode is turned off on the device.

  20. JaimieV

    Re: Lightning?

    You'll notice the 3.5" earphones connector is on the same end as the Lightning connector... this gives an obvious way to construct an old-style dock adapter that includes line level audio, if the Apple adapter doesn't already do it via the Lightning socket.

  21. mrfill
    Joke

    Ars Technica

    does that translate as bum gadget?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone 4SS

    I was going to post a pithy comment about how it won't be long before Apple sues Nokia for putting a camera in a phone but then remembered that it's only Android that Apple wants to kill (for now).

    Of course, this iPhone 5 shows why Apple is trying to ban Android, there's no more juice in the old fruit, no wow factor and it looks like the reality distortion field is waning - the emperor's new clothes are starting to be noticed.

  23. fandom Silver badge

    Re: iPhone 4SS

    Apple sued Nokia back in 2009, they settled in a way that has Apple paying royalties to Nokia so they are not likely to have another go at it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    battery life

    "Standby time? 225 hours – aka nearly nine-and-a-half days"

    three years down the line, i'tll be about 24 hours and far less unless you turn off everything.

    and then you'll curse the inability to buy a new battery pack off Amazon. Or perhaps not, if you're the sort to upgrade every 2 years to the latest model.

  25. Andy 115

    Re: battery life

    My iPhone 4 (bought launch day so over 2 years old) has similar battery performance now as when new. I have never wished the battery was removable as a removable battery would have less capacity..

    It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, swappable battery has less capacity and so is more likely to need swapping.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: battery life

    @Andy 115, yes I agree, same for me with my iPhone 4 but, for sure, that 255 hours standby will be with iCloud switched off. Much less with iCloud switched on.

  27. Simon Rockman

    Has Samsung got an injunction against it yet?

    You can bet their people are on the case. They will have dozens of them in bits the moment they can buy some.

  28. Chet Mannly

    Re: Has Samsung got an injunction against it yet?

    HTC have already said they'll take Apple to court if the iPhone 5 had 4G over patent licensing.

  29. NoneSuch
    Thumb Up

    "Apple has no love for The Reg"

    ...and that's why I love the Reg!!! :-)

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's see:

    4" screen makes device too big.

    Widescreen not necessary on a phone.

    Several different devices all running at different screen resolutions and capabilities. (by my count that's now five different resolutions on six currently supported devices?)

    Apps not working properly/consistently on different devices, because of different resolutions, without extra development.

    Lack of software updates for recent hardware [ipad 1] dropped from support in favour of new models.

    All complaints (slightly paraphrased, but I believe pretty much encompassing the original sentiments) that in the past have been made, with justification, by Apple fans against Android devices on several Apple related forums, but which now appear to apply equally to Apple devices so will be interesting to see if the people who have made these claims in the past as negatives now think the changes are good.

    Just an observation. I own and use both IOS and Android tablets and phone so don't consider myself to be in either camp, but the arguments of the haters on both sides amuse me.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WOW

    You use IPhones, Android phones, iPads and Android tablets!

    You must be really important....

    Or

    An unemployed burglar....

  33. CarlC

    Re: WOW

    lol are you being serious? On my desk in my office I have 3 android tablets, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, and 2 android phones.

    These are needed to check applications for cross platform compliance - Unemployed burglar? no just aware of the divergence of the device platforms people are using.......

    Personally I limited myself to 1 android phone and one android tablet.

  34. Andy 115

    Clearly missed resolution point

    iOS has made it childs play to work with the different resolutions...

    One change was doubling pixels on both axis - FIX: supply 2x graphics

    The other, adding more to one axis only - FIX: follow the existing developer guidelines OR the iOS can letterbox the app automatically.

    Contrast with droid which has hundreds (thousands) of different screen sizes.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "4" screen makes device too big"

    Unless it is made taller so the device is still usable with one hand by the average person.

    "Several different devices all running at different screen resolutions and capabilities. (by my count that's now five different resolutions on six currently supported devices?)"

    Effectively, from the standpoint of work the developer has to do, only three resolutions when you understand iOS works with a single pixel reference standard across normal res and retina resolution displays. The new iPhone resolution will also be particularly easy to integrate for most apps because of the way apps utilise table views and the fact the width is the same. The new variation has been particularly well thought out from the developer perspective. Compare variations with install base and compare the relative lack of complexity in catering for those variations and the addressable market for each variation is far, far larger and more lucrative than for any given Android variation.

    "Lack of software support for recent hardware [ipad 1] dropped from support in favour of new models"

    So not the latest two generations of models then - when your lucky to get any updates full stop from Android vendors. In fact the oldest model of iPad no longer purchasable for over a year and a half.

    "All complaints (slightly paraphrased, but I believe pretty much encompassing the original sentiments) that in the past have been made, with justification, by Apple fans against Android devices on several Apple related forums, but which now appear to apply equally to Apple devices so will be interesting to see if the people who have made these claims in the past as negatives now think the changes are good."

    So no the complaints can't be made equally.

  36. tony
    Alien

    An extra few rows of plants for £500 odd.

    Hmmmm.

  37. JP Cavendish
    Thumb Down

    Here's something odd

    That combined backplate design would be ideal to cover a removable battery. It even looks like it's designed that way. So why didn't they give it a damn removable battery, given that the reason cited for not doing it so far is "it would spoil the design"?!?!?!?

    Opportunity missed in my book.

  38. Andy 115

    Re: Here's something odd

    Removable batteries have inherently less capacity for the same available space - it is a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts. It makes it more likely that you need to swap out the battery because it has less capacity.

  39. boatman

    Thinnest phone?

    The Huawei Ascend P1 S is 6.68mm thick, the Oppo Finder is 6.65mm, and the ZTE Athena is 6.2mm thick so the iPhone 5 is obviously not the thinnest

  40. kparsons84

    Apple really needs its fanbois for this turd

    What an utterly underwhelming phone. Is a piss poor 4" screen supposed to wow anyone? Along with maps that simply won't be as good or useful as googlemaps and a load of 'innovative' features that android has had for ages. Tabs that sync between safari and a Mac...gee chrome has only had that for a year or so.

    Surely one for the fanbois only more than ever. Laughably poor. In fact an embarrassment.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple really needs its fanbois for this turd

    @ kparsons84

    Silly Child Alert.

  42. Gerrit van Amerongen

    Re: Apple really needs its fanbois for this turd

    Methinks thou dost protest too much

  43. Ilgaz

    Fans (!)

    They have fans. The "thumbs down" clowns with too much time in hand. I would reject iphone just not to get associated with such a sick "community".

  44. JDX Gold badge

    Question to the Androiders

    So we're saying the iP5 is not much of a change. How does this compare to the top-line Android phones then... both how they differ from the iP5 and how they improved on the previous generation.

    Let's focus on the Galaxy SIII - how does it compare to the iP5 and how is it revolutionary compared to the SII?

    technical discussions only, try not to use the phrase "walled garden" I want to know about the capabilities only.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Question to the Androiders

    @JDX

    you'll not get sensible discussion on here.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: you'll not get sensible discussion on here.

    no, just a bunch of anonymous astroturfing dicks....

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Question to the Androiders

    From the launch event in San Francisco, Cook said: "Only Apple could create such amazing hardware, software and services and bring them together. Apple has never been stronger."

    Promising a camera that makes "the ocean look bluer" and "kids look happier"

    Yeah, you better try and move the conversation away from the iPhone to other devices, noone on here is buying that bullshit...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Question to the Androiders

    WOW a whole extra rows of icons, Apple fanbois will be wetting their pants with such innovation!

    Same old, same old boring, take a look at the Nokia Lumia 920 for something new, 4.5” screen, wireless charging, NFC, image stabilised camera.

    I think engadget sums things up

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-vs-the-competition-fight/

  49. Chet Mannly

    Re: Question to the Androiders

    "Galaxy SIII - how does it compare to the iP5 and how is it revolutionary compared to the SII?"

    Don't own an S3, but auto screen wake/dim based on whether you are looking at the phone, quad core processor (report makes it sound like other ipad/iphone chips), wireless charging, two apps operating on the screen at once...

    They are more revolutionary than I've seen announced here with the iPhone 5 (which genuinely surprises me, I thought Apple would have tried to really wow people given this is the first post-jobs announcement...)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Question to the Androiders

    Well, JDX, I can't see anything exciting that it feels like my S3 is missing. It's fast, has a gigantic screen, nice nippy GPU and I get a couple of days on a charge (using on-board power management options only). Google maps offline mode runs really nicely, the camera works (it's a bit underwhelming, but then, I usually carry a camera, so eh).

    I suspect that if I did have an iPhone 5, I would run roughly the same things on them anyway (barring having a decent choice of browsers), so it's not really a huge issue either way. I suspect that I am happier with the S3, with the SD slot, get a surprising amount of use out of the oddly good FM tuner.

    It'll probably be a month or so before it gets its Android 4.1 ("Jellybean") update, which will make a good device even nicer.

    I'm sorry, maybe you were looking for more meat here. I'm sure either are perfectly viable devices, I would use either, I would root either. I'd probably miss Firefox and Adblock Plus on the iPhone, I suppose.

    We don't know how fast the CPU etc. in the iPhone 5 is yet for sure, but I am sure that performance will be broadly compatible with fairly high-end Android devices (that's sure to cause angry rants from both sets of insecure platform weenies).

    (As regards the S2, my brother has one, it's perfectly nice, but the S3 is faster, feels thinner, has a vastly superior GPU. Anyone with a S2 in good condition would probably be good for a few years though, it doesn't suck)

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