Apple iPhone 5: An Evolution of Design

9 Oct 2012

The iPhone 5 looks great, but it’s more of an evolution than a revolution.

There’s no denying that Apple changed the face of mobile phones when it launched the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone proved that a smartphone wasn’t all about hardware and features, but that design and user interface were arguably even more important. The iPhone didn’t just raise the bar, it elevated it to a stratospheric level.

The introduction of the iPhone 4 in 2010 was a landmark in industrial design. So achingly stylish was Jonathan Ive’s masterpiece, that the design was carried through to the iPhone 4S, and even as that handset reached the end of its life, there wasn’t a competing phone on the market that could hold a candle to the iPhone 4/4S when it came to aesthetics, ergonomics or usability.

Unfortunately for Apple, the success and sheer beauty of the iPhone 4/4S made it a very tough act to follow, so it’s not surprising to see that the iPhone 5 design is heavily influenced by its predecessor.

At a glance, the iPhone 5 could easily be mistaken for an iPhone 4S, but closer inspection will reveal many differences. The iPhone 5 is longer, due to it sporting a 4in screen compared to the 3.5in screen seen on every previous iPhone. The larger screen also means a higher resolution – 1,136 x 640 instead of 960 x 640 – which, in general usage terms, means you get an extra row of icons on the iPhone 5 and a screen aspect ratio of 16:9.

The casing has also undergone significant change. Whereas the iPhone 4S has a glass back, the rear of the iPhone 5 is finished in matte aluminium – it’s different, but not necessarily better. The iPhone 5 is also noticeably lighter than the older model, weighing in at a svelte 113g.

Under the hood is a new dual-core A6 processor that’s significantly more powerful than the A5 chip seen in the iPhone 4S, which means it should be even more of a mobile gaming powerhouse than the older model.

The same excellent 8-megapixel camera has been carried over from the iPhone 4S, which will also shoot Full HD 1080p video, while the front facing camera has been upgraded to 1,280 x 960 resolution – so you’ll look even more lovely when using FaceTime.

But when it comes to mobile data the iPhone 5 really pulls ahead of the 4S, thanks to its support for 4G LTE. So, assuming you have network support in your area, you’ll be treated to lightning fast data speeds while on the move – ideal for streaming music and video, or simply downloading big files.

The iPhone 5 is an undeniably beautiful and feature packed device, but it’s not perfect. If you’re running an iPhone 4, or another smartphone that’s a couple of years old, then it’s definitely worth upgrading. However, if you’re running an iPhone 4S or a recent high-end Android handset, the decision isn’t quite so simple.

Finally, when it comes to design, it could be argued that the iPhone 5 is a backward step from the 4/4S, but as always, design a very subjective.

Everything’s not quite perfect with the iPhone 5 though. Apple has created a new connector, which means that all those cables you already have from numerous iPhones and iPods over the years will no longer work, not to mention any speaker docks or in-car kits. Of course Apple will sell you an adaptor so you can use old cables and accessories, but you’ll have to pay dearly.


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