03 October 2012

5 things you didn’t know about iPhone 5

With all the media attention lavished on Apple since its iPhone 5 launch, you probably think you know all there is to know about the company's latest smartphone.

Faster, lighter, thinner and prettier are the obvious ones, thanks to support for LTE wireless networks and a faster A6 processor, a redesigned body with lighter materials and a taller 4-inch screen. There's also the new cameras and iOS 6, Apple's latest mobile platform.

But there's more to iPhone 5 — good or bad — you might not be aware of:

Faster Wi-Fi, too: For the first time, iPhone now supports dual-band 802.11n wireless connectivity by adding a 5GHz antenna to the device (also found in the new iPod touch). Perhaps it's time to upgrade your older 2.4GHz wireless router to a faster model to take advantage of the additional wireless speeds — but be aware it doesn't cover as great a distance as 2.4GHz. 5GHz also means less interference with other Wi-Fi device, resulting in better performance in that regard, too.

Lightning isn't faster: 
Despite the clever name Apple gave its much-maligned new 8-pin connector at the base of the phone — replacing the wide-mouth 30-pin connector used for years, and making your accessories obsolete without an adaptor — "Lightning" doesn't transfer your data any faster than the older cable. Therefore, if you shot a bunch of HD video on iPhone 5 and want to transfer to your PC or Mac, it'll still be at USB 2.0 speeds (480 Mbps), which is 10 times slower than USB 3.0 (5Gbps).

iPhone 5 is hot (literally): 
Similar to issues with the new (third-generation) iPad, iPhone 5 gets very warm to the touch on the back of the unit after playing around with it for a while — especially with memory-intensive tasks such as gaming or video playback. It's not going to burn your hand or anything, but the new aluminum back, replacing a thick layer of glass, means you're going to experience major warmth, so don't be alarmed. If it bothers you, consider a case — ideal to protect your investment anyway as many reports are surfacing about how easy the back can be scratched.

Google Maps coming?: 
The verdict is out on Apple's new Maps app and it's mixed, to say the least. While users like the voice-based turn-by-turn navigation and 3D cityscapes you can flyover, many claim its accuracy is less than stellar. If you'd like Google Maps back, you may be in luck. According to a report from The Verge, Apple still had one year left on its contract with Google to keep Google Maps on iOS. Considering there's now a YouTube app to download for iPhone, perhaps a Google Maps app isn't too far behind. Choice is good, no?

Better audio: 
You likely know Apple has bundled its new EarPods in the box, delivering a more comfortable fit, added durability and most importantly, better-sounding audio over the classic white earbuds. But the phone has better audio tech all around, including three microphones -- one on the front, one on the back and one on the bottom — working together for clearer audio and noise-canceling technology. Um, so this might be interesting for those who actually talk on phones these days.

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