iPhone and iPad

What’s New In The iPhone 5? Not a Lot

James Bruce 16-09-2012

iphone 5 featuresApple has announced the iPhone 5, the number increase supposedly signalling a major new upgrade (as opposed to the 3G,3GS,4S). So what’s new? Short answer – not an awful lot. Long answer – lots of incremental upgrades and a few notable new features, but nothing that’s going to blow your mind. Still, read on for the full lowdown.


Let’s Get Physical

Just as the leaked designs showed, the backing plate is now aluminium rather than glass. It’s 20% lighter than the 4S at 112g; and the thinnest phone ever at 7.6mm (18% thinner than the 4S at 9.3mm). While the white model appears to have a traditional “aluminium colored” metal band, the black model has been anodized to a darker slate colour:

iphone 5 features

On the inside, it’s a new A6 chip – roughly twice the speed of A5. A new version of Real Racing was demoed, and showed some really stunning 3D performance with “console quality” graphics; including dynamic reflective surfaces and even rear-view mirrors. The demo also showed a unique new competitive element of time-shifted multiplayer for Real Racing; player 1 plays and GameCenter records their movements; player 2 then plays against that, almost like a ghost, but the physical interactions change the final time results of player 1.

iphone 5 review

Screen Size

The screen is now 4″ diagonal, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, perfect for widescreen movies. Basically, it’s been stretched a bit vertically, and the homescreen now has an additional row of icons. Core apps are updated, but older apps will simply run with a small black border at the top and bottom – no stretching of apps occurs.


Apple claim 44% more color saturation, but I doubt you or I will notice. The multitouch sensor has also been built into the display now, resulting in thinner screen and clearer picture.

iphone 5 review


LTE support has been added, even for the UK where we don’t even have a LTE network yet (EE will be launching soon apparently), and a wide range of providers around the world. There are too many to list here, so check the official LTE support page for your country.

On the Wi-Fi front, dual-band 5gHz N is supported too, as well as everything else you’d expect.


Dock Connector

The dock connector has been there since the start, and was due for a refresh. An adaptor is available, but the new connector looks like this. It’s reversible too, so no more fiddling to figure out which way is up.

iphone 5 review


A mildly better battery life, with 10 full hours of video playback and 225 hours standby.


In low profile devices, the camera is one of the hardest elements to minimize, but the iPhone 5 exceeds the already stunning 4S camera with better low light performance; still 8 megapixel and fantastic image quality. Capture speed is 40% faster.


To give you an idea of the quality, Apple provided some untouched demo shots; I’m impressed. They seem to be living in a world much shinier than mine, that’s for sure.

iphone 5 new features

A new panorama mode has also been introduced; hordes of panorama apps just got burned.

iphone 5 features



I’ve done a full rundown of iOS 6 before 10 Features You Can Expect To See In the Upcoming New iOS6 On Monday 11th June, Apple developers gathered in San Francisco for the start of a 4 day conference. The rest of the Apple world sat watching liveblogs, awaiting announcements of new products. Among those announcement... Read More , but the major features you’re going to notice are:

  • Turn-by-turn 3D navigation and maps. Personally, I have trouble actually finding locations with the new maps (running iOS 6 on iPad 3), but this will no doubt improve as more points of interest are added, In America your experience should be great.
  • Tweet and FB status posting from notification pulldown.
  • Passbook, a digital wallet type app for gift cards, store cards, flight and other tickets.
  • Shared photo streams; one click share, friends can comment on them or “like” (unrelated to Facebook).
  • Siri knows sports, and movies now.


I must admit, I was fairly unimpressed with the announcement. I’m clearly a difficult person, complacent to the fact that technology will get smaller and thinner and screens will get prettier. I guess it’s only the really cool stuff that pokes me awake from my technology-induced coma nowadays.

But let’s put things into perspective: the iPhone is the best-selling phone, ever. Apple doesn’t want to break a formula they’ve spent years perfecting, and anything too daring will undoubtedly cause the same backlash of negativity that Windows 8 is receiving. An incremental upgrade it may be; but that’s still the best camera phone yet, the fastest processor, a larger screen, and the thinnest smartphone ever.

I don’t want to sound like an Apple apologist here, but sometimes I think we should just take a step back and truly realize how unbelievably powerful and amazing these tiny little devices that fit in our pockets are. If, like me, you’re due for an upgrade on contract anyway, there’s probably no question it’s going to be the iPhone 5.

Let us know in the comments what you think of the new iPhone 5.  Are you impressed, or unimpressed like me? What iPhone 5 features would you liked to have seen introduced for iPhone 5?  Will you be ordering the new phone when it comes out?

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  1. Anonymous
    October 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

    All you iPhoneys and Androidists just make me smile, why not just use a phone - of any type or age - for conversations and texting (as long as you're not driving a car (or walking along the street at the same time)) and leave technology to the office or home....

  2. John
    September 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

    The S3 is better in everyway except screen the screen on all Samsung devices =Trash. Lucky for me I have the current best phone on market the Evo 4g LTE, this phone is about to get smoked by the Optimus G of course which is just insane. Apple is playing catchup now and failing badly at it. We heard after the S3 was announced that the Iphone 5 was going to 'blow it away' as is obvious right now the S3 is actually the superior phone minus the screen which is sad because apple is the later release...

    To put it really simple if you release your phone after your competitor you are supposed to have the better product clearly this is not the case for apple they are just adding things that android have had for about a full year or more.

    With that said IF you have spent a ton of apple products you are screwed basically and might as well stick to Apple no point in throwing away all the cash spent on apple.

    Iphone 5 is a good phone but there are multiple androids that are better and already have been released if you are looking for a new phone and do not have alot of apple products Iphone is not what you should get.

  3. Andrew Kim
    September 22, 2012 at 3:17 am

    I think the iPhone 6 is pretty disappointing. I'm an Android user and I can't find a single reason why I would switch to the iPhone 6 rather than a different phone, whether it be the upcoming LG Optimus G or the HTC Windows Phone 8X. If I had to switch right now, I'd get the One X for sure.

  4. Lee Loftus
    September 21, 2012 at 5:55 am

    galaxy s3 is better iphone's not as good as they used to be

  5. Muhannad Agha
    September 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    That's why I'm switching to Android.

  6. Brian Bateman
    September 19, 2012 at 4:52 am

    I really wish you so-called tech experts would put your emotions to sleep and just state facts. I've yet to see either side backup its claim that one device is better than the other in any factual manner. How about stating side-by-side performance and spec comparisons? Yeah, that would be great. Thanks.

    • muotechguy
      September 19, 2012 at 7:18 am

      You can't say one is "better" using facts - the word itself is subjective. You can make a logical argument, but even that will be subject to emotive claims. Your choice of phone ultimately comes down to personal preferences.

      Comparing the hardware is basically worthless, and you can't do useful performance tests on separate OSes on separate chipsets with radically different architecture. The best you could do is compare screen resolution; but again, beyond around 280 DPI, thats pointless too.

  7. bonioloff
    September 19, 2012 at 4:04 am

    I truly agree.. I think my IPhone 4s is powerfull enough for all the gaming stuff and for daily use..
    But if i have much money i will also upgrade :D
    But for now, i thinkg it is not that big deal to upgrade :D

  8. ritwi
    September 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Hi, thanks for sharing nice information of iphone 5 this is buzzing topic these days. I too would love to share what i got during my search for iphone 5 just check and read this http://www.topinbuzz.com/iphone-5-price-review-release-date/ hope you too like and keep updating us with such worthy updates.

  9. Elrick Browne
    September 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    the bad part is alot of people are going to but it because its new and from apple not seeing the little that changed from 4s to 5 lol

  10. Bernardo Delapasion
    September 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    nice article
    i think what apple was doing is trying to "strike while the iron is hot"
    they upgrade their iphone for a bit then sell it again like a cycle
    upgrade sell upgrade sell..
    until folks are buying it
    then until the people dont buy it anymore
    they release a new one

  11. Andy Bristow
    September 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    After all the hype I'm left disappointed in what was supposed to be Apple's best ever iPhone is nothing more than a (very) minor cosmetically enhanced iPhone 4S. But, no doubt, the Apple lemmings will be queuing in their droves to get their hand on the latest iPhone just so they can be 'fashionably cool'. Personally, I would rather be trampled to death by a herd of incontinent wildebeest than jump on the iPhone bandwagon.

  12. John
    September 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    It's a pity with the passing of Steve Jobs, the new iphone just seems uninspired. Apple are just walking down the path of other manufacturers, just creating the same old thing with faster CPU's and better graphics. Basically the same as most of the major Android phone developers out there. I know a lot of Galaxy s3 users etc are going to say otherwise, but those phone are seriously lacking ingenuity. If you take a look at the Nokia series, the new 920 (or was it 930?) seems to have some cool features, and even though they aren't industry changing, at least it won't be the same damn phone with just a bigger screen and faster processing power.

    I'm really disappointed in the new Apple CEO, I know he had some big shoes to fill but man was Steve Jobs a true visionaire. I saw his introduction of the original iphone, and it was mind blowing. Watching that vid released ages and ages ago made me realized how much I love my current iphone, and how great it would have been if the new iphone 5 wasn't just another iphone 4S-S. Whatever the case, it is clear a lot of people are on the same boat, so hopefully Apple will learn from their mistake and try to remedy our technological thirst when the iphone 5s (or 6) comes out.

  13. Scott
    September 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Lets boil down the Argument here, both Phones at the core level are essentially the same. They both have UniX Core's iOS caters to those who need ease of use while Android is a more customizable OS. Their are no features that make one device better than another. Glad Apple finally jumped on the LTE bandwagon tho..

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Agreed; it's really down to the apps.

  14. druv vb
    September 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Other smartphone competitors have already released phones with almost the same specifications since last year. The iPhone5 brings new features to an Apple product. Thats all, for Apple fans only. For other users, we are happy with our Samsung, HTC and my Nokia.

  15. Loreson San Juan
    September 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

    no more Steve Jobs factor!

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Unlikely; this product was in development well before Steve Jobs died.

  16. Mani Ahmed
    September 17, 2012 at 7:29 am

    The iphone 5 even by the writers tech bias has not done bad other then the fact that it has hit a negative marketting snag mebbe due to nonpre-empted over hype of the device. I would rate an S3 or even One-X as close competitors but there is something about apple which puts it a lil more above on reliability or so i have reasons to believe .... none the less i remain to be a unbiased android lover :p thanks for the excellent write up ... !

  17. Tug Ricks
    September 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

    So is the MUO crowd generally slanted towards Android? I wonder if there's any correlation between level of technical savvy/understanding/whatever you will and preference towards either system. Just a thought.

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 7:48 am

      I've often wondered that myself, but in reality that's not the case. We have a huge range of readers; the trouble is that Android fanboys feel an incessant need to validate their beliefs by constantly commenting on iPhone related articles. Passionate they are indeed, but ultimately misguided.

      • Tug Ricks
        September 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

        The vocal minority eh? Yeah, I'm not a fan of fanboy-ism myself. Apple obviously makes an excellent product. Google/Samsung/etc. make great products too. It's rather silly the way that some people support one product/brand as if it were a religion. Not that people should be ideological or dogmatic when it comes to religion either. It's just that in the grand scheme of things, what type of phone you use is trivial. Thanks for the great site my amigo!

  18. Hiren Patel
    September 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Samsung GALAXY S III Better one.

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 7:48 am

      *Great* argument. I feel like you really expressed your case succinctly, burrowing down right to the core of issue.

      • Koshy George
        September 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        What would we do without sarcasm.

        • sbeckstead
          September 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

          probably communicate succinctly and clearly!

  19. IamAshMcLean
    September 17, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I think my sister is going to regret pre-order the iPhone, instead of wait and compare both phones :/

  20. Chase
    September 17, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Why does Apple care so much about the dimensions of the phone if it's going to be super fragile and require a case anyway?

  21. android underground
    September 17, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Why does Apple claim its new iPhone is the thinnest smartphone in the world?

    The Oppo Finder and the Fujitsu Arrows F-07D are thinner.

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Interesting. Maybe they said "thinnest iPhone ever" and I just misreported it; those do indeed seem to be thinner. Good find.

  22. John Hudson
    September 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Agreed! I thought it was an impressive presentation, but it lacks real innovation...maybe Apple should copy Samsung? All kidding aside - the iPhone # is fantastic, but this incremental upgrade is wanting.

  23. xbalesx
    September 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

    s3 is def done right...i am curious about what sammy comes out with to follow the s3

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

      I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say the next phone will be the "s4".Assuming they don't copy Apple, again, and get their phones banned.

      • me12
        September 21, 2012 at 7:22 am

        Hahah. Who is copying who... I would have said who is making the technology breakthrough the first on the market (this is what I am interested in... If we compare electronic technology between I5 and S3 I just detect that the only I5 new tech feature, the LTE, is roughly 6months late vs Samsung-Motorola and others... I joined one comment above saying that Apple is making an awesome marketing profit on 1 sold phone while the others phone makers are making profit over volumes because of the expense of the higher new technology prices they are introducing.
        To conclude if we like to use new technologies and encourage the research, Samsung is the choice, if we like to do the same than the others, to belong to a no fact based community, encourage capitalism and people profit interest Apple is the best candidate.

  24. Rajaa Chowdhury
    September 17, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Samsung Galaxy S III is a way better phone. Poor Apple playing catch up.

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 7:53 am

      No offence, but Apple is a far cry away from having to play catch up to the s3. That's great that you're passionate about it, but you shouldn't back that up with some stats; consumer satisfaction surveys, or sales figures. Either way, you can't , because Apple wins out every time (cue cries of "well, only sheep buy iphones"...)

      • Bahraam
        September 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        You are playing fanboy very well Mr Bruce. I am against Apple, because of everything it is. It is exactly at the opposite point of open source, and free software movement, and of course humanity. It sues every successful company for their alleged "innovations", because if they don't, they cannot catch up. It makes a beautiful cage for you guys and you are so willing to imprison yourself within. You mentioned that "people" don't care about design, features, or interface. But stil they want to pay so much for the iphone. It only makes me think how ... are these "people" you're speaking of. The company dominates the market, not because of its higher sale numbers, but because of their profit margin on single units. It makes me sick to see tech market is being dominated by rip-off philosophy, not competition.

        • James Bruce
          September 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

          The very fact that you just said you're against apple because it's "against humanity" demonstrates by itself more I possibly could by trying to refute a nonsense argument. But I will anyway.

          Not once did I say people don't care about design, interface or features; that's just silly. Apple doesn't dominate the market by profit margins; they dominate with a phone that more people are satisfied with than any competing handset - that, and a damn good marketing machine.

          That's great that you're into open source software with such passion. I love WordPress myself; because it's the best product on the market though - not because of some philosophical or ethical point. However, don't presume to be such a judge of things you don't understand; if Apple was wrong to sue Samsung, they wouldn't have won the case.

          Seriously though; stop accusing people you disagree with of being "fanboys"; the term could equally be applied to yourself. And really, does it matter? Does it hurt you to know that lots of people own an iPhone are almost entirely satisfied with it? Is that somehow offensive to your world view? Do you honestly care that much about a phone you don't even want to use?

        • Bahraam
          September 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm

          First of all, I won't discuss about my first statement. This is not the right place to discuss freedom movement.
          Secondly I don't consider myself a fanboy. I partially appreciate what Apple did when Steve Jobs returned. Iphone revolutionised the smartphone industry. And if it wasn't iphone, we wouldn't have the awesome Samsung smartphones now. I read your reply about Android not being that open. I personally am looking forward for the day of Ubuntu on Android. But still I'm having difficulty with this statement of yours Android isn't any more open than IOS. Are you kidding? Just read this

          I understand how patents work. Parents are a necessity for inventors and developers. But using them the way Apple does, is not what I as a consumer appreciate. Apple wants to omit Samsung from US market. Because they cannot compete. They cannot improve at the same rate. The withhold features to make more profit by milking people. We want competition. We want innovation at a reasonable price. We want to have same share of benefit from buying a product. That is not what apple does.

          I don't want to argue with you about the controversial winning of the case. I believe they will win every single case if they have people like you in the jury.

          There are several reasons I don't want to entrap myself with apple products. Not having flash, because they have to pay. Not having bluray, because they have to pay. Itunes, the biggest cage, especially if you want to move to external drives. Expensive as hell accessories. Doing what they do in east asia to poor workers. Unreplaceable hardware parts. Waiting for ages for the broken devices to be repaired, and if you're lucky, they won't charge you a crazy amount of money for moisture exposure or electricity fluctuations. You are happy with apple, good for you. I am not comfortable following american consumerism patterns, and being ripped off, when I can have my pc, laptop, media centre, smartphone, with at most a quarter of what apple charges you. And benefit stability, security, and beauty of the open source.

        • sbeckstead
          September 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

          Android isn't any more open than IOS on the Samsung. There is no generic open source Android phone on the market. They all have quirky proprietary pieces that require dedicated SDKs and the Phone Makers permission to develop for them. They dominate the market because they created and continue to lead it by marketing and by learning what their users need not what the techies want. I've had and gotten rid of two Android phones because they failed at the most important function of a phone! To just work as a phone.

        • James Bruce
          September 18, 2012 at 7:35 am

          Your profound ignorance of the real world and puerile attitude tells me you're probably quite young, so a reasoned response on my partwould be fruitless. Instead I suggest you start reading other news sources than android-fanboy.com. Begin your journey here: http://www.chinahearsay.com/why-samsungs-china-labor-problem-might-be-worse-than-apples/

          You are capable of using Google to refute your own nonsense statements, so I'll leave the rest to you.

  25. Vanja Gorgiev
    September 17, 2012 at 12:08 am

    galaxy s3 is way better and it was introduces months ago, it has also a better design, the iphone 4 was amazing, but there was the same iphone the year after and not comes the adolescent iphone, it's just stretched out, it's just boring design, and there is no comment on the new features, if there are really any...

    • James Bruce
      September 17, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Actually, the design is subjective. I think the s3 looks arse-ugly; I really hate the odd curvature in the corners. That's great that you like it though, and are satisfied with the device. I agree somewhat; this is just a stretched out iPhone 4s; but will it stop the device from having record breaking sales (.. again)? I doubt it. People want the new iPhone; they don't want a radically different design and a whole new interface or support for quirky features. When NFC gains widespread adoption, you can be damn sure a new iPhone will support it (as one example; I'm not sure what other new features everyone was expecting?)

      • Koshy George
        September 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm

        I think Apple will wait till NFC is forgotten, and then bring it back as if it was something new.