iPhone5 First Impressions

I’ve finally received my iPhone 5 and have it all configured and updated. All my apps are loaded on the device, regardless of wether they’ve been upgraded or not. iCloud, mail setup etc all done. As usual the setup was simple , no glitches or problems and it was a relatively quick and harmless process.

I don’t normally blog about new devices but decided it was time to publish a few of my thoughts on it. Particularly because I skipped on the iPhone 4S and so the differences are more noticeable, and also I’ve recently been working with a Samsung Galaxy S3 so wanted to give my opinion on the differences. This blog is about first impressions, not a comprehensive review.

Performance

It goes without saying the performance improvements for me are quite noticeable. On my iPhone 4 I’ve been getting a little annoyed with some lag when I hit a key on the keyboard or switch apps. Settings seemed to be quite slow to load in particular. Starting apps is now very fast on the iPhone 5. What more can I say, its faster in all ways. Its difficult to compare to the S3. I’ve not bench tested all my apps, but in general they seem much the same when compared.

Apps

This is an interesting one. Only about 10% of my apps have been upgraded to use the new 4inch display of the phone. Some have had support for iOS6 added, but generally this is something I’ve been a little disappointed with. But thats the responsibility of the developers, not Apple. There’s a lot of articles about right now complaining about the new maps application. Its a fair point that Apple is letting a lot of people down with this. Maps is one of the most used applications on iPhone and important for users. I’ve used the app locally whilst out and about but not really experienced any major issues. Although we know they are there, I’m confident that Apple will be working hard to fix this.

At the time of writing this article about 25% of iphones have upgraded to iOS6. Thats a fast adoption rate and, as a developer I’ll be interested to see how quickly this climbs. I think developers should take heed that users will want their apps to use the full 4 inch screen. Although apps do work in the compaitibilty letterbox mode, it kind of spoil things. One App that has impressed me a lot is the panaromic camera. It has a very simple UI and stitches the picture frames together seemlessly.

iOS 6 is not such a major difference for the casual user. I think as developers upgrade their apps to use the new built in social features of twitter and facebook (and others to come), the integration will be a much more pleasant experience for users. I have to say at this point that I have come to strongly dislike the Android operating system. At least the S3 incarnation of it. Navigating around iOS6 is streaks above Android in User Experience.

Device

The phone itself is fantastic. Its lighter than the previous models . It feels incredibly refined. I’m very impressed. The extra screen height works well in my opinion. It sits nicely in the pocket too and is obviously lighter than previous models. Slightly more real estate on the screen which is welcome. but by keeping the device to the same width, its quite manageable and all parts of the screen remain accessible with one hand.

The competition

Right now I’ll just focus on the Samsung S3. A top of the range Android device which has gained a lot of market share. Personally I think the Samsung and iphone devices are a world apart. The S3 feels like plastic, compared to a well engineered iphone. On the S3 the menu buttons are terrible and I continually brush against them which either drops me back out of an app, or loads a menu when i’m trying to do something else. On the iPhone all the buttons have a distinct solid feel to them and can’t be accidentily activated.

Summary

All in all I think its a very impressive upgrade. Rather than trying to innovate too far and create something new, Apple has done the right thing. They’re perfecting a really good phone.

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