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An analysis of the iPhone 5

Is is nearly 3 months since the 6th incarnation of Apple’s iconic iPhone, the iPhone 5, was released. Often I think it is more interesting to discuss a technology a few months after its release, rather than just straight away, as faults have been exposed, and there are opinions about long-term use.

In this article I am going to explore what the critics think of the iPhone 5, the good, the bad and the faulty!

So what makes the iPhone unique from any other phone? Samsung would argue very little, because as soon as Apple’s latest smartphone was released, Samsung announced that it was filing a lawsuit against Apple, because it had infringed many of its patents.

Size and Weight

The iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 is bigger than its predecessor (the iPhone 4S). It is taller, the same width, and slightly thinner. When smartphones first hit the market, there seemed to be a race to make them smaller. Now however, the trend seems to be towards developing a bigger screen. Tablets are getting smaller and smartphones are getting bigger – will the two ever merge? I think they might, so watch this space!

Despite being bigger, the latest model is 28g lighter than the previous model, weighing an amazing 112g. Considering the technology inside the device, that is an impressive weight!

Camera

The pace of development of inbuilt cameras in mobile phones is staggering. The iPhone 5 has an 8 megapixel camera, which is very competitive considering that just a few years ago, 8MP was pretty good for a digital camera – which isn’t also a phone.

Reception

One of the main criticisms of the iPhone 5 is that it has stopped being a phone. Logically the primary purpose of a smartphone should be to call and text people, browsing the internet, using apps, taking pictures and other features are optional extras, and shouldn’t be the main function of the device. That said, there have been many reports about people finding that the iPhone 5 has really bad signal problems. I know of two people who are on the same network, one with a Samsung Galaxy S III and one with an iPhone 5. The person who owns the Galaxy can almost always get signal, whilst the person who owns the iPhone can’t. When the phones are in the exact same place, the Samsung device can get signal, but the Apple device can’t.

Speed

Because of all the new features of the phone, it needs to have a good processor, and it does. There was hope that it might have a quad-core processor, which it didn’t, however it does have a pretty good A6 processor, which is very speedy, and is what makes the iPhone 5 feels quick and slick. Match that performance with the 4-inch Retina display, and you have a very fast and flashy phone!

Siri

Siri has seen a few updates, but nothing major. The initial introduction of Siri in the iPhone 3GS was revolutionary, and there is still relatively little viable competition out there for Siri, however one expects an iPhone to come with Siri these days.

Maps

The iPhone 5 was the first phone released by Apple with iOS 6 – which had Apple Maps installed. Apple Maps is Apple’s own version of Google Maps, which has replaced Google Maps on the operating system.

Some of the navigation features have been praised, as having better clarity and being more useful than the Google alternative; especially due to the inbuilt Siri compatibility.

That said, there are major issues with Apple Maps, in that it can be really inaccurate. Australian police have actually advised people against using the software, after they had to rescue motorists stranded in the wilderness of a national park who were trying to find a city, which Apple Maps thought was in the middle of the the wilderness, not where it should have been!

Many places are not where they are meant to be, some just a few miles out, others quite a lot further! One example is Berlin. You know, that city in Germany. The capital city of Germany. Well according to Apple Maps, Berlin is on the continent of Antarctica, which isn’t only the wrong continent, but also the wrong hemisphere! Have a search for Apple Maps fails, and you get some pretty funny results!

Berlin, Antarctica - Apple Maps
Apple Maps really does think that Berlin is in the Antarctic!

Awards

The iPhone 5 isn’t short of awards. The phone is top of Time Magazine’s top 10 gadgets list 2012, which is a big achievement!

Sales of the phone are something else for Apple to celebrate. In the first three days of the phone being on sale, there were 5 million sales! That is 1 million more than the iPhone 4S got in its first three days.

Your Thoughts

Do you own an iPhone 5? If so, what do you think of it? Do you like the phone and iOS 6, it it revolutionary, or was it a waste of money?

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Gadgets

Could Google’s Project Glass actually work?

Once again science fiction is turning into science fact. This time, it is Phillip K. Dick’s story, “Minority Report,” and the movie that followed. In this story as a person moves around the city, they receive instant advertising and information tailored directly to them.

Google's hi-tech futuristic glassesGoogle has now taken a step in this direction with the Google Glass Project. Using mobile broadband and miniaturized hardware, the Google glasses will allow a wearer to access any information on the fly and have it project in front of their eyes as they move.

The glasses will tie into the GPS system and cell towers so the glasses will always be able to tell the wearer where they are and where they need to go. The glasses will also work as an MP3 player, cell phone, e-mail reader, and personal data assistant, and with no keypad, everything will be accessible by voice command.

Google has released a video demonstrating what their glasses will do and the video is very impressive. Of course the video is no different than the concept cars that every auto company releases in time for the annual shows, and whether or not the glasses actually make it to market is anybody’s guess.

Much of the technology is already available, especially the networking and computational tools. Already all smart phones will tell their users they are and where to needs to go, and the same smart phones have more computing power than a top of the line desktop computer had ten years ago.

As for the voice command technology, as any iPhone user will attest to, most of the capabilities of a smart phone can be accessed with the spoken word alone.

The camera on the Glasses is small, but no smaller than any other phone camera, and the capabilities of those are fully proven as well.

The most likely stumbling block for the glasses will be in the heads-up display technology. HUD, as it is commonly known, is not a new technology, the military has been using it decades now in both planes and tanks. What would be new would be the miniaturization of the equipment. The average HUD a pilot uses is incorporated into both the helmets and the plane itself, and the technology does not work outside of the plane. Google may have overcome these problems, but that will still be a very big hurdle.

Ask anyone who has attempted to use an LCD screen in the bright sun, and they will complain about the difficulty. There is no evidence that that problem has been overcome yet, but perhaps Google has solved that as well.

Finally there is the issue of distracted people. The dangers of texting or phoning and driving are evident, and a quick search on Google will show many videos of people who are unable to walk and text. The Google Glasses will take distraction to another level with people tripping everywhere.

There is no doubt that the Google Glasses or something like them is coming someday, but the question is when. Most technology experts are convinced that the video Google released is just hype and that the glasses are at best two years away and possibly even longer.

Categories
News Technology

Will an Apple Television ever happen?

Since the release of the Apple TV set top box there have always been rumours that apple will try and break into one of the few corners of the entertainment world they are yet to conquer: the television market.

With the Apple TV set top box offering features such as streaming from iTunes to your television as well a streaming YouTube videos its a handy little device. However that functionality is in most television sets now a days, so what’s stopping apple joining the already quite competitive market?

Well for a start competition is already well established in the TV market with companies like LG, Sony and Samsung all offering so called smart TV’s. This means that apple would have to would have to do something very different to create a unique selling point. The features and the GUI of the Apple TV are already there, meaning that surely they already have the building blocks they need.

LG's LogoIf they were to add the Siri (their intelligent voice assistant) surely this would make a very effective home entertainment system. This is something similar to what Microsoft is already doing with the home entertainment system on the Xbox but it’s not quite as intelligent as Siri! The Xbox service can only follow commands and is not able to interpret them.

Rumours about an Apple TV are on the up again due to the pending release of Steve Jobs official autobiography. In an excerpt from a Washington times post Jobs has been quoted as saying to the author that:

“He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,”

Walter Isaacson wrote.

Isaacson continued:

“‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

Apple hasn’t announced any TV based products in its line up and the blogosphere doesn’t appear to be covering it that much, however I personally wouldn’t be surprised if Apple decided to make the Apple TV into less of a hobby and more of a competitive product for the television market.

If they did they would probably do it with the same drive, determination and overall design quality that they have carried along with the Mac computer range, iPod, iPhone and iPad.