iPhone 5: Smartphone’s next evolution

By Robert Varga

Unveiled to the world on Sept. 12, the new Apple iPhone 5 is the next evolution of the world’s most popular smartphone. The question is, should you get it?

Buying the iPhone 5 is a decision that really depends on a variety of factors, including when your upgrade is available, how much money you are willing to spend and what new features you want. If you are currently an iPhone user with the iPhone 4, 3GS or an older model and your upgrade is available, then upgrading to the iPhone 5 is probably a wise choice. If you felt like there wasn’t enough of an incentive to get the iPhone 4S, the 5 will definitely prove to be a great upgrade. The iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter than all of the previous iPhone models, despite having a half-inch larger screen. The new screen adds enough room for an extra row of icons on the home screen, and apps designed for the iPhone 5 will be able to display more content. If you have an iPhone model older than the 4S, the iPhone 5 will also allow you to start using Siri, which has been improved to provide more information on sports scores, restaurants and movies among other items.

The camera has also been improved, with a better lens than the one on the 4S, though still at eight megapixels. If you currently own an iPhone 4S, the incentive to upgrade is not nearly as great as those with older iPhones.

Besides the larger screen and improved camera lens, the only other major upgrade on the iPhone 5 is the addition of LTE, the newest data network standard which offers much faster downloads than 3G.

For those living in an area that has LTE service, the iPhone 5 will have data speeds that are multiple times faster than what you would find on any of the previous iPhones. If your area does not have LTE services offered by your carrier, the iPhone 5 will simply revert back to a 3G data connection.

For those without an iPhone, the 5 is a great way to get into using an iOS device. If you are looking to spend less money, Apple also offers the 16GB version of the 4S for $99 on contract, which is $100 less than the 16GB iPhone 5. The iPhone 4 is now available for free on contract, but it is only the 8GB model.

Smartphone users on other platforms, such as Android or Windows Phone, may see the iPhone 5 as the first iPhone that is worth owning. It now has a larger screen and LTE, bringing it up to par with many Android phones that have been available for some time now, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The iPhone 5 still does lack certain features that Android phones have, such as a customizable home screen and the ability to use a different mail client or web browser as the default application. Apple has also transitioned to a map service not provided by Google, which many regard as the best available.

The last item which Apple upgraded is the dock connector, which has been replaced by what Apple is calling ‘Lightning.’ The new connector is smaller and more durable than the nearly decade old dock connector, but an adapter will be required to use accessories which use the dock connector.

The iPhone 5 is certainly a big step up from the 4S, and with the upgrades Apple has done, it is certain that many iPhone users will be making the switch.

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