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iPhone 5 Overview - Experience

The most challenging thing about the iPhone 5 is how it feels in your hand -- it's light. Sure, it's just 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S, but it's also smaller and bigger at the same time.Apple's best products beg to be held, to be touched, and the iPhone 5 is no different. 18 percent thinner with 12 percent less overall volume, despite having a longer screen.

Apple says the screen is more vibrant with better color saturation, but in my experience your reaction to the screen will likely have more to do with the level of brightness you set.

The heft of the iPhone 4 is gone but there's so much bright and shiny screen that it took me, a previous iPhone 4 user, a few days to get used to. It seemed unbalanced in my hand, as if it could be top heavy, and yet, it's perfectly balanced. It's an illusion, of course, created from daily familiarity over two years with my iPhone 4.

The 4-inch Retina display, which essentially offers up a whole new row of icons on your home screen, gives you just the extra room you needed without going overboard.


Other smartphones have been able to tap into the faster LTE data connections available by carriers for quite some time now, so in a sense the iPhone 5 is just playing catch up.

Maybe a little better -- it's hard to say sometimes if the speed of an action on the iPhone 5 has anything to do with data or if it's just due to the faster A6 processor.

Love the Camera

The HD video seems quite a bit better, too, even over the already great iPhone 4S. Apple says it has improved video stabilization, and since most of my previous video came from an iPhone 4 at a lower resolution (720p vs 1080p) -- the end result is much better video.

I take a lot of photos as well as some video, and while I prefer a DSLR camera with nice big lens over anything else, I pack my iPhone everywhere. So the camera has to do a lot of work.

Tidbits, Here and There

Frankly, a lot of the greatness in the new iPhone 5 is baked into the the operating system, iOS 6, much of which you can get via an iPhone 4 and/or 4S -- the brilliant AirPlay to Apple TVs, iCloud, Siri. So what else is new and different that matters?

The speakerphone and audio clarity seem a bit better so far, but I'm not sure it's by much

The Maps

So why have I waited so long to talk about Maps? Is it reluctance because everything else is so great? Maybe. Or maybe the whole Maps app flap is overblown. Maybe. When Apple ditched Google as the engine behind its built-in Maps app, Apple created a road to future improvement that Apple could control.
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