John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple’s iPhone 5: “A New Gold Standard” in the Phone Marketplace

After months of speculation and rampant rumor, Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 Wednesday morning, and the device is pretty much as predicted — with a few unexpected additions.

As sources suggested, it is indeed a big step up from its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. Apple VP Phil Schiller boasted, “It’s a new gold standard in the smartphone space.” The device has a larger, four-inch screen, a chassis made entirely from glass and aluminum, a new “Lightning” connector, souped-up innards, and a much-improved eight-megapixel camera.

The iPhone 5 is just 7.6 millimeters thin, the thinnest iPhone yet. And at 112 grams, it’s also the lightest — 20 percent lighter than the 4S. Its four-inch screen boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio and 44 percent more color saturation. That additional screen space provides enough room for a fifth row of icons on the home screen.

It’s also a world phone, featuring support for all kinds of 3G radios, as well as support for LTE, along with two faster flavors of HSPA+. Another key feature: Faster Wi-Fi.

Inside the iPhone 5 is a significantly faster A6 processor and a new battery that exceeds the battery life of iPhone 4S, with 8 hours of 3G talk time, 3G browsing and LTE browsing. Also onboard: A trio of improved mics, a better speaker, and an eight-megapixel camera with backside illumination, f/2.4 aperture, five-element lens, 1080p video, updated FaceTime HD, Hybrid IR filter, a sapphire crystal lens cover, and an awesome panorama mode.

Finally, the iPhone 5 features an all-new dock connector. Dubbed “Lightning,” it’s 80 percent smaller than its predecessor, and is all-digital and reversible. Apple has also developed an adapter for it, to make it compatible with older cords and peripherals.

So, spec-wise, the iPhone 5 seems an impressive device. And Apple is clearly very happy with it. As Apple VP Bob Mansfield said during a video presentation at today’s event, “The level of invention here is beyond anything we’ve ever done.”

The price: $199 for 16 gigabytes, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64 GB. Preorders begin this Friday, Sept. 14, with the devices themselves shipping a week later, on Sept. 21.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik