Now that the hype has passed, we can take a better look at the iPhone 5 and see how it stands up against the current reigning smartphones already announced, in particular the Samsung Galaxy S3.
iPhone 5 vs the world (of smartphones)
iPhone unveilings are usually magical affairs, but last month’s Apple event felt flat and uninspired, especially as Apple’s competitors have caught up and have been releasing some truly amazing smartphones in the last year. Apple bigged up the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, but neither seemed especially groundbreaking or innovative.
A few weeks ago, Samsung released an advert that compared the iPhone 5 to the Samsung Galaxy S3, and not in a good way. The advert missed out any of the iPhone’s redeeming features, so we’ll defend Apple’s flagship for that. But there were a lot of truths in the ad too. Let’s take a look.
The first thing to notice about the iPhone 5 is that it looks and feels very high end; it’s aluminum and glass, low weight, slim and so on. There are, however, a lot of smartphones like this that don’t cost as much. You’ve got Kevlar body phones like the Motorola DROID RAZR series, crystal glass by way of the LG Optimus G, as well as matte polycarbonate on the HTC One X.
Apple’s iPhone 5 data sheets say that the new A6 chip is twice as fast as the 4S’ A5, many believe this is due to it being integrated with the Cortex A115 chips. A few benchmark tests have backed this up, and some reckon that it’s even faster than the Samsung Galaxy S3. However the same tests show that with Jelly Bean on board, the S3 is faster than the iPhone 5. Jelly Bean of course is the latest Android update and has begun its rollout to the Samsung Galaxy S3 in some nations already.
The iPhone 5 4” screen is 1,136x640p and has a ppi of 326. The Samsung Galaxy S3 screen is 4.8” with a ppi of 306 and a 1,280x720p resolution. The phones are level pegging here, really, and HD is becoming pretty standard among Androids. Even the baby-faced Nokia Lumia 920 has a 1,280x768p resolution and a ppi of 332, which trounces the iPhone 5 in size and ppi.
Apple has promised more battery life – up to eight hours on 3G and LTE, and 10 hours on Wi-Fi. It’s an improvement, but still below the 11 hours promised by the Samsung Galaxy S3, which also has a removable battery.
Storage – the iPhone 5 comes in 16, 32 and 64GB options, with no external card slot still. Even the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S3 can be expanded up to 80GB with a 64GB microSD card, and the 64GB S3 can go all the way up to 128GB.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 gives shoppers the same – if not better – value for money as the iPhone 5. It’s also cheaper than the iPhone 5 on or off contract. It’s available from 3rd party sellers like Amazon for as little as $99 with a plan, and Sprint is going to offer it for $49.99 on contract in its Black Friday 2012 sale.
Price is not the real issue here – it’s the lack of innovation from Apple that’s worrying us. However, the smartphone market has moved on hugely since 2007 when Apple could coast along on a yearly release cycle because its rivals were way behind. Now those rivals have caught up and are bunging out amazing gadgets every few months.
Apple fans still queued up, though. But, the company needs to realize that these fans exist because of the cutting edge innovation of the past. The iPhone has basically looked the same for three years now (since iPhone 4), and hasn’t even got any life-changing hardware to speak of that isn’t on other smartphones from earlier on this year. Apple needs to bring the magic back and get jaws dropping in amazement, not yawns. We want that magical feeling back that only the iconic iPhone brand used to deliver!