By Joshua Ostrer
The day is soon upon us. The iPhone 5 hits stores tomorrow and there’s no shortage of accompanying story lines.
Apple is scheduled to release its newest version of the famous iPhone after seven days of pre-orders coming from the first nine release countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Still, there should be no worry for those outside the first nine, as Apple plans to release its new iPhone to more countries this month, and 240 carriers across 100 countries by the end of 2012.
As it turns out, the pre-release hype surrounding the iPhone is quite high.
According to a report from Apple Inc., there were over two million pre-purchases in the first day alone.
“iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by the iPhone 4,” said Phillip Schiller, Senior VP of Global Marketing at Apple.
There are so many pre-orders that many customers might not even receive their phone on release day. Many pre-orderers won’t recieve their iPhone until October.
Think consumers are excited about the new iPhone? Consider the investment crowd.
Apple reported a record close on the first day of presales, posting a 1.1 percent gain to $698.62 a share on the NASDAQ market.
The rise of Apple’s stock solely due to a phone is impressive to many. “It’s a remarkable amount of money just from a new phone. This new set of features is very well regarded in not only the peoples’ community but also the investment community,” said Alan Wlasuk, managing partner of WDD Inc., a software development company.
With the constant stream of new smartphones on the market, and the increasingly common feeling that what’s new today will feel outdated in only a matter of months, potential customers must ask, “what’s really new about the iPhone 5?”
The new iPhone is faster. Just about twice as fast actually. Apple says web pages will load 2.1 times faster, and songs will load about 1.9 times faster. “It will be faster, but did it need to be faster? Maybe not. But wireless speed and data speed will be extremely noticeable once you use it,” said Wlasuk.
“The iPhone 5 is also integrated with the new iOS 6 interface for Macs.” said Wlasuk.
The new iOS debuts a number of features including an updated Siri and a brand new maps application.
The current model of Siri is still a beta version, and there are hopes for its improvement.
“If we’re lucky they’ve made Siri usable by normal people…The theory is, once Siri is improved, Siri might be able to interact with applications as well as the phone itself. It will be interesting to see if Siri can interface with the entire phone; that could be a remarkable boon to the application world,” said Wlasuk
With the iPhone 5, users will also see iOS 6’s new map feature for the first time. “The new mapping feature will be the most impressive of those included in the iPhone 5 release,” said Wlasuk.
The new mapping feature replaces the Google maps program with a vector-based (instead of image based) interface, so it will be very crisp.
The new program also offers step by step audio directions, so the need for a standalone GPS system might become unnecessary.
Apple had to do some intensive work in developing the new mapping feature. “It took some major investment on Apple’s part, those databases [of map-related data] are huge,” said Wlasuk.
As far as the new style goes, “The biggest thing Apple did with the iPhone 5 was make it different than the 4s. iPhone users are very interested in style, and it will be a very big selling point for the 5,” said Wlasuk.
Apple removed the glass on the back, leaving the sleek metal backing, along with a slightly thinner body. The iPhone 5 is 18 percent thinner and 20 percentlighter, at a weight of 3.95 ounces.
Apple also claims the iPhone 5 as being the thinnest phone on the market, but that’s a contentious subject, as Samsung and Apple vie for that title in the market and in court.
However the chance that you can tell the actual difference is pretty slim. “My guess is that if you’re holding the iPhone 5 in your hand and you have the iPhone 4 in the other, you’ll have a problem finding the differences,” said Wlasuk.
Apple also modified the size of the iPhone 5, increasing the screen size from three and a half to four inches. While the resolution remains the same, the increase in size brings a fifth row of home icons and promises of a better movie viewing experience.
When it comes to battery power, although unverified outside of Apple itself, Apple claims the phone will get eight hours of talk and 3G/LTE browsing time, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and video playback, 40 hours of music, or 225 hours of standby time. These times fall short of those boasted by the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.
While the iPhone 5 is in stiff competition for ‘top smartphone’ next to Samsung’s Galaxy s3, it undoubtedly offers more of what the Apple-friendly crowd is looking for: a clean and easy interface, a smaller body, and faster speed.
No consumer should forget about how many Android operating phones will be released before the next iPhone.
Any manufacturer can run the Android operating system, posing the risk that a superior modeled smartphone could be released before the systematically-timed release date of the next iPhone.
The new iPhone will come in both black and white and will cost $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB and $399 for the 64GB version.
The iPhone 5 releases tomorrow and it will most definitely be accompanied by plenty of opinions on its status in the smartphone market.