I got my first hands-on experience with an iPhone 5 today, and I couldn't have imagined how cool it is. I mean, I've been reading (and reporting) the rumors for months. So it should have been ho-hum. But once you hold it and see how much thinner and lighter it is, and how the new shape feels sort of elegant, there's just something inside that says, "Yes, this is cool, this is gorgeous design, this is what a smartphone should be." I just didn't think that I'd be wowed, but I was.
The reviews of the iPhone 5 are generally quite positive, and Apple clearly has yet another winner. BUT... if you get one be sure to get a case. As the iFixit video below shows, the new iPhone scuffs more easily than the iPhone 4S. While the test in the video below shows some pretty vigorous scraping and banging with a set of keys and a steel ring to produce the scuff marks, in real world usage you won't likely be treating your phone so harshly. Still, you can imagine that over time it could collect some signs of wear.
With the blogosphere buzzing with complaints about Apple's new Maps app in iOS 6, Apple responded with a statement to the website All Things D: "Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it.
Wow, it didn't take long for a flurry of articles to appear regarding the shortcomings of the new Maps app. My initial impression is that it's speedy and useful, and am confident Apple will work out the bugs. But it's clear there's a lot of work to be done. CNET has posted an article documenting some of the many errors in the app: giving the wrong names for cities, leaving out locations, putting locations in the wrong place.
Macworld has posted a hands-on guide to installing iOS 6. Installation is typically fairly simple and routine, but this overview is very helpful. It tells which devices can run it, and what features won't be available on all devices. It tells what you need to do to prepare to install (that is, make sure everything is backed up) and walks you through the two basic options of either installing "over the air" or installing by syncing with iTunes on your desktop computer. The guide also covers the option of restoring and then updating — wiping your iOS device clean and then installing iOS 6. You can then either set it up as a new device or restore all of your files from an iCloud backup.
[update: iOS 6 is scheduled to become avaiable at 10 am Pacific Time today.] I'm looking forward to downloading iOS 6. An article in the International Business Times is offering a complete guide to new features, including Maps, Siri, Facebook, Passbook, and more. Also, see my earlier post outlining the top 5 new features.
With the arrival of the iPhone 5, there's been a lot of discussion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. Now another option that you might consider: a no-contract iPhone 5 from Cricket. The new phone will be available from Cricket starting September 28. Read more on CNET. What's the advantage of a no-contract carrier? You can save money. You pay more up front for an unlocked phone, but your prepaid usage comes out to be less money than the contracts from the major carriers.
Wow, if there was any doubt about how popular the new iPhone would be, the initial sales have put that to rest. By 4 am this morning, the first day that pre-ording was available, Apple's website was already saying that delivery would be two weeks rather than next Friday, as announced. As usual, those who went online in the middle of the night had trouble accessing Apple's website because it was getting hammered by so much traffic. Similarly, by mid-day today Verizon was saying that delivery would be in two weeks, and AT&T was saying 14-21 days. Sprint, however, was still promising delivery by next Friday as of this afternoon.
If you're planning to get the new iPhone 5, you'll likely want to order it tomorrow to get it as soon as possible. There have been rumors that supplies may be constrained initially because of the new in-cell screen technology. According to news reports, preordering will start tomorrow morning at 12:01 a.m. on Apple's website, as well as the websites of the three carriers: Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.