Review: iPhone 5 Blends Beauty With Versatility
SAN FRANCISCO - As I played around with the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, I wondered what the late Steve Jobs would have thought about the latest twist on Apple’s best-selling device.
It didn’t take long to conclude Jobs would have been delighted with the iPhone 5’s blend of beauty, utility and versatility.
Add in the more advanced technology and new features that went into this iPhone, and it’s clear Apple has come up with another product that will compel hordes of people to line up outside its stores before its Sept. 21 release in the U.S., Japan, Britain, Germany, France and four other countries. The mad dash to buy the iPhone 5 will be repeated again on Sept. 28 when it goes on sale in 22 other countries. All the models of the iPhone 5 will sell for the same prices as its predecessor, starting at $199 with a two-year data and calling plan.
An important caveat about these impressions: I was only allotted about 15 minutes with the iPhone 5 at Wednesday’s launch event, not enough time to discover if it might have some technological bugs. I am sure in the coming days other reviewers will have the opportunity to give the phone a more thorough vetting.
For many people, the iPhone is going to be a case of love at first touch. It’s incredibly light and seems to be easier to hold. That means it might not be dropped as frequently as previous iPhones, reducing the chances of the glass on the display screen getting damaged.
One woman who also was testing out an iPhone 5 couldn’t stop raving about how ideal the new design was for people with smaller hands. "All the other iPhones were made with men in mind because they could easily slip from your grasp if you didn’t have big hands," she said. "Now we finally have an iPhone for women."
The new iPhone also is easy on the eyes, thanks to a larger screen and its "Retina Display," the high-definition technology that Apple introduced in previous models. Video and photos look even more lush on the iPhone 5’s bigger and better screen.
At 4 inches diagonally, the iPhone 5’s screen is a half-inch larger than previous generations and Apple make sure to take advantage of it. On the more prosaic side of things, the extra space means you can now see five rows of apps on the home screen instead of the previous limit of four rows. Open the calendar and you can see five days of events on the screen in horizontal mode, instead of just three.
The larger screen really comes to life, though, with what is perhaps its coolest feature - a tool called "Panorama" that automatically stitches together a series of pictures into a majestic vista. Panorama can be turned on simply by going into the iPhone 5’s camera mode and then selecting it on an option menu. Once it’s activated, an arrow guides you as you slowly pan the camera around whatever scenery you desire (if you move too fast, Panorama tells you to slow down and also advises you if you are moving the camera too high or low). Once you are done, you can look at the panoramic shot within seconds and zoom into whichever areas of the picture look most interesting.