What is the Best Improvement in the iPhone 5?
So, I keep hearing the fandroid echo chamber claiming that Apple only made minor improvements in this iPhone (the same thing we hear every year). Last night when I told my brother in law that I had no plans on purchasing an iPhone 5 he immediately cut me off and said "that's good, because it tells Apple that they need to make more than marginal improvements to get you to spend your money."
I immediately corrected him by stating that it was actually because Apple was supporting my 4S so well that I can get at least two year's worth of value out of it. It was hard to justify an additional $250 early upgrade fee with AT&T when my 4S works great, is getting a free software update this week and I have only owned it 11 months. If Apple truly had me running on "upgrade treadmill" that Bezos refers to then wouldn't they have withheld tons of features from the iPhone 4S or even refused to upgrade it at all? All the while, my brother in law is running a Verizon Galaxy Nexus which he just shoe-horned a custom Jelly Bean ROM on to because no supported Jelly Bean update is available and with this custom ROM his phone will no longer charge when plugged into power unless he turns the phone off while it is plugged in. With that sort of experience I could not help but think that if I owned a Verizon Galaxy Nexus that I would be forced to give up Verizon to get a supported OS upgrade or upgrade to a new phone every year just to be able to stay current without putting up with really annoying hoops to jump through. Does that translate into a significant upgrade? Yes it does, but it is only because the previous generation model is losing support. While this is not true for most Nexus phones since the Nexus S, it is certainly true for most Android phones that are not labelled as Nexus. I would argue that Google's activation numbers are so high because Android owners are upgrading on an annual basis because they are forced to in order to keep current with the latest and greatest operating system. Support for older Android phones is horrible.
Well, my brother in law asked me what I thought was new and great about the iPhone 5. I went on to point out the incredible number of hardware updates in the iPhone 5. All of which are covered in this fantastic post in The Verge's Apple Core forum. Just a few highlights being:
- New "in-cell" 4-inch display that has perfect color reproduction and for which Apple has filed some patents. In-cell technology is brand new and yields a better display that is thinner
- LTE Data without the need for a giant battery to overcome the battery drain. LTE phones have historically required giant batteries, Apple is using the new Qualcomm chip that is actually power efficient.
- 20% lighter and 18% thinner with a beautiful new unibody design. The new industrial design of the iPhone 5 is unmatched by anything in the industry (it is gorgeous), and Apple is right that "anybody can build a bigger phone". It takes zero innovation to make a smartphone bigger.
- 1GB of RAM (double from last year's model which was already very fast). iPhone 4S competed well with competitors at 512mB while competitors were running 4 times the RAM. This means iOS is extremely efficient at what it does. With 1GB of RAM things are going to get crazy good.
- Custom ARM SoC architecture that yields 2x CPU & Graphics performance. Every other ARM licensee is taking whatever ARM produces and fabricating it. The A15 design was not optimal for smartphones so Apple decided to design their own architecture to meet their needs and as such their new A6 processor (according to leaked benchmarks) outperforms everything else on the market.
So I know that everybody is going to be raving about a 4-inch screen and LTE and the new display. Out of all of these improvements though, the thing that stands out to me is the new CPU coupled with a full GB of RAM. What hardware improvement on the iPhone 5 is the one you are looking forward to the most? Which stands out as the most innovative thing to be included? Even though I am not buying one, I am looking forward to these features and more next year with the iPhone 5S (after I have gotten my money's worth out of my iPhone 4S).