The iPhone 5
The Spectator
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 by Josh Lee
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It's the phone that really should have been the iPhone 4S and released last year. After all, this really isn't the fifth iPhone, it's the sixth (iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5).

But regardless of how Apple came up with it's name, the point is that it's (finally) here.

We know most of what's going to be on the phone from Apple's WWDC keynote back in June which highlighted iOS 6 and all of the new software goodies that we can expect to see. So let's dive right into the hardware. As expected, the iPhone 5 is a full redesign of the popular smartphone. Although it keeps a few of the design elements from the iPhone 4S (and iPhone 4, for that matter) such as the metal band around the side as well as the round volume toggles, the rest of the story is all new.

As far as storage goes, it's pretty standard stuff. The 16GB model goes for $199, the 32GB for $299, and the 64GB for $399. I've got a 32GB model pre-ordered in white, but you can choose black if you wish. I thought the white looked nicer, but it's really your call. Apple's done something totally different design-wise from essentially everything they've done before, in that the aluminum body on the black iPhone is a slate grey as opposed to Apple's trademark almost-shimmering silver that they've applied to every device they've made in the last five years.

Where HTC, Samsung, LG, and many other handset makers have had phones with screens upward of five inches for the last few years, Apple only now sticking their toes into the water of larger-screen phones, and in true Apple style, they're doing in a completely different way. The iPhone since birth has had a 3.5-inch screen at a 2:3 aspect ratio. The 2:3 ratio is common among smartphones, from phones with screen sizes anywhere from 3-inches to 5-inches. The problem with scaling a screen up at the 2:3 aspect ratio is that at a certain size, when holding the phone with one hand, the thumb is unable to reach the opposite side. So Apple went and increased the screen size without increasing the width, thereby giving it a 16:9 aspect ratio. 16:9, of course, happens to be the native aspect ratio of 1920x1080, or Full HD. This, of course, means that on the new iPhone, movies and videos shot in 1080p and 720p will play with no letter boxing. On the downside, older programing and other online videos from Vimeo, YouTube, iTunes, etc. that were shot and produced in VGA or legacy resolutions will be subject to the letter box. Videos in 4:3 will be heavily subjected. Although, on one hand, they won't be any smaller than they would be on any other iPhone, as the width of the screen has yet to change.

And finally, it's biggest feature for most, the addition of LTE, or "Long Term Evolution", more commonly known as true 4G. This means that the iPhone 5 will be capable of achieving a theoretical 100MBPS download speed. On Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint's 4G LTE networks, the iPhone will be at least twice as fast as the outgoing iPhone 4S. Faster data speeds mean faster downloads of apps, games, music, videos, webpages, and so much more. Although it's one of the "technical" features that those who buy the iPhone for its cosmetic beauty won't "see" as new, LTE is a huge step forward.

The iPhone 5 pre-ordering queue went live on Thursday, but there's still plenty of time to get your preorder in before its in-store launch this Friday. And, as a bonus for those who want an iPhone but don't need the 5, the 4 is now free (a tremendous deal) and the 4S dropped to $99 (both subject to a new two-year contract).