The most remarkable thing about the iPhone 5 – which is finally available today at Apple Stores and participating carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint) – is that although it is longer and has a larger screen, it still feels lighter and more nimble in your hand than previous models (as well as other devices with a 4-inch screen).
Millions of people later today and in the coming weeks will understand exactly what I’m talking about when they get their hands on Apple’s shiny new toy. For those of you who just bought the iPhone 4S within the last year and need to wait six months or so to get the full carrier discount, it will be awfully tempting to pony up the $500 or so to acquire what truly is a state-of-the-art device.
Here are a few initial impressions while you wait in line (or online) for yours.
Size does matter
Apple is a positive contributor to the nation’s GDP because of its ability to make products that delight you right outside of the box. Anyone who was worried that the 4-inch screen and new aspect ratio would diminish this delight has nothing to worry about. If fact, because the iPhone 5 is nearly 20 percent lighter than the 4S, it literally feels like you are holding a more compact device even though it is longer in length.
Your need for speed will be satisfied
Now that the iPhone 5 is on the 4G standard, expect the phone to connect to the web and download video and rich media up to 10 times faster than its 3G ancestors. This will fundamentally change app consumption – particularly in the realm of augmented technology-based applications. Apps like Layar Reality Browser and WIKITUDE, which superimpose graphical background information on any physical location you view from your phone, will evolve from conceptually cool to a relied up part of everyday life.
Passbook will enable one-stop shopping
Many apps like Belly Card and and Key Ring, which effectively replace the need of having multiple printed loyalty cards clogging up your pocket, may soon face competition directly from Apple with Passbook. Although the app is launching with major retailers including Target, Starbucks, and StubHub, I can see a world where any business of any size will embrace the application. The coolest thing about Belly Card is that your phone will automatically unlock when it detects it is near connected retailer. Pretty cool.
Maps still a work in progress, but stay tuned
For corporate rather than consumer-facing reasons, Apple decided to “fix” its existing map arrangement with Google even though the service wasn’t broken. To date, Apple Maps is not really ready for primetime. Upon launch, the app couldn’t recognize landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, and even placed a museum in England under a river. Having said that, expect Apple to fix the bugs in short order. Thereafter, you can decide whether the app’s glossy interface and 3-D capabilities are better, the same or inferior to Google. If not, perhaps Apple will approve an iOS 6 version of Google Maps when it becomes available later this year. Stay tuned.