Wednesday, September 12, 2012

iPhone 5 is out

Apple today announced the iPhone 5.
There's nothing huge to report, most feel, but a lot of small improvements.
It is a slightly better ereader at least, because it can show about 20% more text of the same size! (They didn't make it wider because of one-hand use. How many people do that? I always use both hands.)
It's taller, slimmer, a lot lighter. Has 4G/LTE fast connection. (Not used much outside the US, so far as I know.) A bit better cameras.
They have some new earbuds which are claimed to be really high fidelity.
It now has strong quartz glass in front of the camera, which is great, but I think way overdue, not just for Apple. With the lens front being pretty much flush with the back, it's just a must.
People who have held it say that it's a really nice design, and that the slimness and lightness is more than you'd expect.

... By the way, $300, that's a significant price drop, isn't it? I don't notice prices all that much, but I think my last iPhone was a lot more. ... Holy mother, the UK price for iPhone 5 is £529!! That's $850! I guess the $300 price is with contract and without tax. I can't figure out why an iPhone is more expensive than an iPad...

Here's a good overview.

In the promo video, designer Jon Ive says: "Along with the experience of using it, what makes iPhone 5 so unique is how it feels in your hand."
Wow, only Apple would say something like this! I can see all the geeks out there sighing: "oh dear, what I really want is a phone which feels better in my hand"!
Well, it's easy to make fun of, but Apple is usually right. And the production process does look like it way ahead of what anybody else is doing in consumer products, it must be admitted. If nothing else, I think it's a good thing to have one company, especially a leading company, which is pushing for quality, not just for the lowest price per feature. That takes guts, even when the economy is good, and even more so now. And it's important because we are talking about products at normal prices, not something like Leica cameras which nobody normal can afford (a Leica is like $7,000). This way it will influence the market and how people think about quality a lot more than Leica could.
In the US at least you can now get an iPhone 4 for free, with a contract. That's amazing, the iPhone 4 is a big leap up from the previous free iPhone, the 3Gs.

I def gonna get the earbuds. Andy Ihnatko tweeted:
"Holy cats…the new earbuds aren’t at all a subtle upgrade. Bass is rich and resonant. Funk is funkier, classical is classier."
- Watch the video on the page linked. This is not small changes.
In the past several years, I have bought like five different  pairs of earbuds, each much more expensive than Apple's, and each time being promised superior quality, but I never really noticed anything earth-shaking. And most of them have the irritating quality, because of the bowl-shaped seal in the ear, that when you touch the wire, you hear a loud scratching sound in the ear.

Re the case design, this page says:
Never before has this degree of fit and finish been applied to a phone. Take the glass inlays on the back of iPhone 5, for instance. During manufacturing, each iPhone 5 aluminum housing is photographed by two high-powered 29MP cameras. A machine then examines the images and compares them against 725 unique inlays to find the most precise match for every single iPhone.

… what the heck? I guess they must have been forced to do this because the aluminium housing cutting machine simply can’t deliver the precise same form every time? Why else would they do it? (The site is making a virtue of a necessity, but that’s another story.) 

1 comment:

Janet Tokerud said...

Apple is the most innovative company around. They blew the lid off a pretty humdrum cell phone market 5 years ago. They innovate. They are incredible perfectionists and they benefit from economies of scale. They go for these subtle things like feel. They are into minimalism which gets in the way of slathering on every possible feature and spec like the competition does. The *man* on the street might not get it, but those who've owned one know. Don't be swayed by the whiners. By the way, I do want Apple to have good competition and I am encouraged by the increased quality of that competition especially in this last year. But I don't expect Apple to be passed by. Not with their track record. Even without Steve.