Campus News

Apple fans rally around new iPhone

 -  -  5


You have probably heard of it. You might even own one. What exactly is new about Apple’s iPhone 5 and is it worth the upgrade? Every year a new iPhone is released and the announcement triggers Apple fever around the world. Thousands lined up for days outside Apple stores just to be the first to get their hands on the latest smartphone. The iPhone 5 was first available in stores on Sept. 21 and sold over five million units in its first weekend. The phone can be purchased (including upgrade discount) for $199 on Verizon, Sprint and AT&T networks. Most of the new iPhone features are inside the phone. According to Apple, their new iOS 6 operating system update touts more than 200 new features. Most of the upgrades are very minor or they are technical details that are invisible in the user interface. Perhaps the biggest difference between the iPhone 5 and all past iPhones is the screen size. Apple has bumped the phone display up from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. Interestingly, the screen is not wider, just taller. Apple promises this will add extra display space, while still allowing for easy access from the bottom to the top without shuffling the phone in your hand. Junior Nathan Hatfield received his iPhone 5 last week and has been very pleased: “So far I absolutely love it,” Hatfield said. “My phone is faster than my new iPad that came out six months ago.” Hatfield says one of his favorite features is the new do not disturb mode in iOS 6: “It’s really good for not distracting. When I’m doing homework I’ll stick it next to me and turn on do not disturb mode. Then I’ll just do my homework and I won’t know if anyone calls or anything like that. They might not like it, but I like it. . . . this is really nice; it doesn’t do anything when people call me.” The faster 4G LTE cell capability is another new feature of the iPhone 5. Verizon Wireless is currently the only network with 4G LTE coverage in the Michiana area but Sprint and AT&T promise their coverage will be expanding soon.   Mike Norris lives in South Bend and is the founder/editor of the tech news site Gadgetsteria.com. He highlighted some advantages of the iPhone 5 compared to past iPhones: “The four inch screen, it’s larger. 4G LTE, it’s faster. And the A6 processor, which is considerably faster than the old A5 in the iPhone 4S. . . . The screen I think is the perfect size.” Hatfield says his Verizon coverage is very strong around Bethel: “If there’s ever an area that I don’t have any 4G, it’s always full service 3G. I’ve never had anything lower than full service 3G here at Bethel. I was pretty impressed with the service.” The iPhone voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, is now smarter in iOS 6. Siri was announced along with the iPhone 4S last year and allowed users to do simple tasks simply by pushing a button and speaking to the phone. The new Siri is now able to launch apps, post to Facebook or Twitter and make restaurant reservations. In the camera department, iOS 6 has a new panorama feature. Apple has made this very easy to use and says the photos are stitched together seamlessly. The hardware of the camera in the iPhone 5 is also slightly upgraded. Another big addition to iOS 6 is maps. Google Maps is gone and has been replaced by Apple’s own maps application. Apple Maps has turn-by-turn directions, Yelp integration and a 3D mode. But many users claim the new maps app is not ready for prime-time and complained loudly on social media sites. Twitter analysis firm Crimson Hexagon combed through over 50,000 tweets that mentioned Apple Maps and found that only ten percent cast the app in a positive light. Early iPhone 5 owners have also reported that Apple Maps sent them driving in circles and was void of key map details. For example, Apple’s own retail stores in Chicago and Sydney are listed on the wrong side of the street in Apple Maps. The outcry against Apple Maps was so widespread that Apple CEO Tim Cook has apologized. “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”   Cook went on to suggest iOS 6 users switch to another alternative map application until the bugs in Apple Maps are ironed out. Is the iPhone 5 worth the upgrade? “If you’re fine with a 3.5 in screen and don’t have LTE coverage where you’re at, then it’s not necessarily a must have,” Norris said. “There’s no standout hardware feature.” Though taller, thinner and packed with more goodies than ever before, the new iPhone is not without its share of problems. Both Hatfield and Norris were forced to exchange their iPhone 5 at the Mishawaka Apple store due to physical and operating system defects. If you’re thinking about heading out to purchase the iPhone 5 for yourself, you might have to wait a while. The new iPhones at the Mishawaka Apple store and Verizon, AT&T and Sprint stores are back ordered until the end of October. Massive demand coupled with manufacturing delay of certain parts resulted in an almost immediate sell out of Apple’s complete stock.  
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