Five things about the iPhone 5 I'm excited for

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: September 20, 2012

Like last year, anyone who pre-ordered Apple's latest iPhone was probably compulsively checking their tracking number today in hopes that by some miracle (or mix-up, just the same), their iPhone 5 would arrive early. Unfortunately, it seems Apple nipped that snafu in the bud. No more early arrivals, not this year at least.

My iPhone 5, pre-ordered through Verizon, left Memphis, Tennessee at 4:18 PM this afternoon. It landed in Charlotte at 6:35. And it is set to hit my doorstep sometime before 3:00 PM tomorrow.

As with any product, the closer it gets, the greater the anticipation. That anticipation, though, is different for this particular device. I've been writing about it for the better part of two years. Now that it's almost here, I'm excited to get my hands on Apple's answer to the successes of Android. I don't expect to be blown away by the iPhone 5 – I have my own opinion on how Apple could have made it even better.

No less, there are some things I'm definitely looking forward to:

 

Larger display

Not everyone was excited to hear that Apple bumped the display size of the iPhone 5 to 4-inches, but I most certainly was. In the same respect, I see the 4-inch display as a bit of a cop-out from the Cupertino-based firm. Instead of increasing the width and height of the display, Apple simply stretched its height and added just enough vertical pixels to keep the Retina Display title – 326 pixels per inch.

For starters, the 16:9 aspect ratio looks goofy on the iPhone 5. The HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy S III share similar ratios, yet they don't look so … gaunt. It bears a strange resemblance to the shape of a television remote, more so than a smartphone. The other issue is that I have always had a difficult time typing (without error) on the iPhone 4 and 4S, mainly due to the width of the display. Without stretching the width of the display at all, that's an issue unresolved.

I'm still happy to see a larger display on the iPhone, even though I would have preferred a 4.3-inch at 720p. If nothing else, video playback will be much better this time around.

 

LTE

I have been using an iPhone on my Verizon line since the iPhone 4 hit Big Red last year. Once the iPhone 4S launched, I upgraded to it and never looked back. Since February of 2011, I have been missing out on one of Verizon's most notable services, 4G LTE. The iPhone 4 and 4S have been good to me. But after getting a taste of LTE with the HTC ThunderBolt, 3G speeds simply don't cut it.

LTE is a feature Apple arguably should have implemented last year in the iPhone 4S, but technology at the time would have called for a redesign resulting in a chunkier phone.

Thankfully, LTE found its way in the iPhone 5, albeit without simultaneous voice and data on CDMA models. After my iPhone 5 arrives tomorrow, I will be gladly swearing off non-4G phones for good.

 

Less glass

Through my 18 or so months of using iPhones, one thing I cold never quite come to grips with was Apple's choice in material. With both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, Apple sandwiched all the internal components between two chemically hardened pieces of glass. In the hand, they feel quite sturdy. And as I've explained in the past, somehow, my iPhones survived countless gut-wrenching falls – both with and without cases. Even today, I dropped my naked 4S on asphalt as I got out of my car and it only suffered a few light scuffs.

Deep down, tough, I was never comfortable with the device. I always felt it was one hard drop on a table from completely shattering. The iPhone 5 touts a metal backing, and from the early reviews, I hear it feels far more sturdy and durable than the iPhones before it. If you're one to take John Gruber's word with credence, he says it feels as if it was meant to be carried without a case, though I've seen some pictures of nasty gashes on the back of the iPhone 5 from some Twitter users.

I'll hold my personal opinion until I get mine tomorrow, and only time will tell how well it survives a run in with concrete or asphalt … or keys. Either way … so long, glass backing!

 

Better low-light camera performance

One of the renowned features of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S were their image sensors. The iPhone 4 made its way to the most popular camera used to take pictures that were uploaded to Flickr. The iPhone 4S was the perfect follow-up to the 4 with significantly better optics and a larger sensor.

Although the iPhone 5 features a more compact image sensor, it boasts comparable quality in most shots and features the same five-element lens with f/2.4 aperture. It also features backside illumination and a hybrid IR filter.

With smartphone cameras, one of the sore points is always low-light performance. Apple claims to have improved this with the iPhone 5 using a dynamic low-light mode, which should yield up to two f-stops greater low-light performance. It's definitely something to look forward to from a guy to takes entirely too many photos. That said, the OIS in the Nokia Lumia 920's PureView camera looks like it might outgun the iPhone this time around.

 

Lightning

When word spread that Apple was switching their age-old 30-pin dock connector to something a little more … modern, you could say there was a bit of turbulence. When Apple took the stage last week and made it official, few people were happy to learn they would need a $30 adapter to continue using their old iPhone accessories with the new model.

I, on the other hand, welcome the new plug. Who wouldn't? Sure, it will be an inconvenience for the first few months, especially having to wait for and buy new accessories. But after the initial pain, life will be much better.

Why is that? Lightning is reversible. No matter how tiny or insignificant that feature may seem, it receives a warm welcome from me. I can't tell you how frustrating it is trying to flip micro USB or the 30-pin dock connector cables over and over trying to remember which way is up in the dark. (If you use various Android devices, you should know my pain.)

Not to mention, the 30-pin connector is really starting to show its age. It really is unnecessarily large.

 

I definitely wouldn't say I'm dying with anticipation. The Note II and Lumia 920 pretty much have my heart right now. But I'm definitely excited to receive my iPhone 5 tomorrow morning. There's plenty to be excited for, disappointment or not. What say you, ladies and gents? What about the iPhone 5 makes you excited?

Images via AnandTech, Apple

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