iPhone 5 seems to be the least revolutionary update to the Apple phone yet. But it might have something for you.
Here's a quick round-up of the features for iPhone 5, available for preorder Sept. 14 with availability starting Sept. 21. Pricing is $200 (16GB) to $400 (64GB) subsidized, or $650 to $850 without a contract.
- Thinner, lighter, and taller with 1135x640 resolution. Basically, you can fit an extra row of icons along the bottom of your screen and developers will have a new resolution to support. Also better color representation.
- LTE (4G) support where available and better WiFi. So faster data transfer, if your local tech supports it.
- Bettery battery life than iPhone 4S. Or maybe not. Seems like LTE availability is the key factor here.
- Higher performance processor. Twice as fast as the 4S if you believe the marketing.
- Better camera with built-in panorama mode. Same 8-megapixel resolution as 4S but faster, new noise reduction, low-light performance, and you don't need to buy an app to stitch images together to build 28-megapixel panoramas.
- New headphones called EarPods. They're rounder and look less comfortable, but you can try them for "free" if you buy a new device.
- New "Lightning" Dock Connector is smaller and faster but sacrifices features such as HDMI output. Plus, you'll need a pricey adaptor for all of your existing accessories, or for the money you may just want to replace them.
If you don't care about the phone, there are new iPod Touch models as well - for $300 (32GB) to $400 (64GB) - based on most of the same technology.
iOS 6 will be available to recent iPhones and iPod Touches with incremental improvements throughout, but - as usual -mostly optimized for the newest models. Here are highlights (the feature you want may not be available on your older phone):
- FaceTime over cellular.
- Passbook: Digital boarding passes for planes, movie tickets, loyalty cards, coupons, etc. Yes, your Starbucks card is one of them.
- Photo Stream improvements. Notably, you can designate photos to specific friends.
- Facebook integration. Share within supported apps rather than having to launch the kludgy Facebook app.
- More Siri. Ask for sports scores or launch apps.
- Maps now have turn-by-turn, aerial views, and real-time traffic. (Wasn't some of this in 4S? Anyway, more of this than before, apparently.)
- Ditch callers now with more options: Send text message, dump to voicemal, and set reminders for callback.
- VIP Inbox for email.
- Safari improvements including iCloud tabs accessible across various devices and offline reading.