Apple announced the iPhone 5 this morning, and it looks like the iPhone 5 will be available in Australia from 21st September.
Unlike the iPhone 4S, Apple have gone to great lengths to make significant improvements to enable it to keep up with other Smart Phones now available from manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Sony and the new range of Nokia Smart Phones powered by Windows Mobile.
So, what's new? A larger screen is probably the most noticeable. It is now classed as a 4 inch screen, but is no wider than the screen of the 4S, just taller.
The iPhone 5 is thinner, by 18%, but is also 20% lighter at 112 grams. There is a new Apple A6 Chip, meaning the iPhone 5 should perform a little better as well and the 8MP camera now allows panorama shooting. I can't help but wonder of this is something that has been copied from other Smart Phones. I have been using Panorama shooting on my Samsung S2 for quite some time.
The other significant change is the new connector at the bottom of the phone. Apple call this the "Lightning" connector, and it's reversible. This means all the old accessories you have will not be compatible with the new iPhone 5, but you will be able to buy and adapter.
I am sure the accessories manufacturers will soon have available dedicated iPhone 5 accessories when the Apple iPhone hits Australia.
We have already ordered a range of compatible accessories to suit.
Yesterday I saw some information on the web regarding the yet to be announced iPhone 5 from apple. Well, last night I received more information from China (where the iPhone is made, and many accessories come from) with pictures of what could be the iPhone 5, promoting new cases for this new model.
These pictures are a little different from the other, but do show a much rumoured change to the charging/docking port, along with what appears to be a longer body.
I have to say, this info has come from one of China's largest suppliers of accessories, so my bet is the picture here is pretty spot on.
The latest indications surrounding the release of the iPhone 5 are stating a September launch.
It seems incredible that so much time and effort is afforded by the media to the products produced by Apple. Rumours surface 12 months in advance, and we hear about product "leaks" and expected specification changes, including those of the operating system for the iPhone as well as the specs for the phone itself.
One thing is for sure... and that is that Apple do a great job of marketing their products and keeping media hype and attention focussed on Apple rather than letting it slip away to competitors.
Samsung recently launched their new Experience store in Sydney, to create interest in Samsung products, and then the rumours about the iPhone 5 and even the iPad mini seem to surface. I wonder if many of these rumours are actually leaked by Apple themselves to keep interest at a peak?
Another rumour is that Apple have decided to change the format of their proprietary plug, used for USB connectivity and charging. I believe this is actually the case and from discussions I have had with after market manufacturers for car chargers and the like, there will definitely be a change to this port. This will make all the current range of accessories obsolete for people that decide to upgrade their device to the new iPhone 5. Naturally, those that are happy with their iphone 4/4S won't be concerned, as their accessories will continue to work with their phones.
One trick Apple use is the software updates that are released with each new phone. These updates are usually applicable to the older models as well. I say "trick" because these updates sometimes block charging properties from some accessories. Frustrating to say the least for many consumers.
I have an iPod connection in my car, installed by Volkswagen as a genuine accessory suitable for Apple. This accessory works fine with my iPod Classic works fine, and charges, yet my newer iPod Nano plays music fine, but does not charge. Why does Apple feel it necessary to create these issues for consumers?
Looking at the picture above, that I found when looking for an image about the iPhone 5, it seems there could be a port on the back at the bottom of the phone, hidden by a small flap. Is this the new port? Could it be a Micro USB port? Or is this just another one of many images that actually aren't the iPhone 5?
What about the iPad Mini?
This has been another rumour doing the rounds lately, about a smaller iPad of about 8 inches. Latest is this smaller, cheaper iPad Mini will launch in October. I guess we will have to wait and see.
There are more rumours doing the rounds again about the imminent release of the iPhone 5. At least that is what we all think it may be called, but given Apple's latest label for the iPad 3, actually referring to it as "The New iPad" it is a little more difficult to know what they might name the new iPhone.
The latest talk is around Apple placing substantial orders for 4" displays with their suppliers of screens. Naturally this indicates the new iPhone will offer a larger 4" display, up from the 3.5" used since the iPhone was first introduced back in 2007.
Given end users are using their mobile phones for more than making calls and SMS, and are taking advantage of the "Apps" available for social media and games, watching videos and photography with the higher specced cameras included in todays smart phones.... it only seems right that the next iPhone boasts a larger display. Especially to stay current with the latest crop of large screen displays from manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, Sony and even the chinese brands
Who knows? The iPhone may even sport a Retina display like the new iPad, to help Apple push their Smart Phone ahead of the pack again. This could well be a smart ploy by Apple, given that Samsung Smart Phones now outsell the Apple iPhone.
Whatever Apple does with the new iPhone, we can be sure this next device will be the step up Apple fans have been waiting for, after being some-what disappointed with the minor upgrades of the iPhone4S.
Maybe the iPhone 4 will move to Pre-paid as well with the release of a new iPhone later this year. Although I am sure the price will be high for Pre-Paid, there is a market out there willing to pay a premium for Apple products.
Time will tell. Are you an Apple fan? Do you have an iPhone?
It seems that all the tech media talk in recent weeks was the imminent release of the Apple iPad 3. Such a lot of media and consumer attention for such a small change in design.
I am not saying the iPad 3 is not a good piece of kit, but it is not a quantum leap that encourages consumers to upgrade from the iPad 2. Only if you feel the absolute need for higher resolution graphics does it make any sense. In ordinary use day by day, I do not believe the higher res screen will make much difference when using the iPad 3 to access the web, or even watching YouTube.
Maybe there is enough graphics grunt to make movie watching a little more pleasurable, but this really is a personal thing given the size of the screen and the unlikeliness of a family sitting around their much lauded iPad 3 in the lounge room watching Ice Age 4.
What all this hype does show is that Apple have managed to create more than a user friendly tablet and smart phone (iPhone). They have pulled the ultimate marketing coup... creating buying frenzies and media attention around the world, all talking about the next release device from Apple. Even going so far as to encourage rumours about upcoming product upgrades, what might or might not be included or improved on. Talk about controlling a market.
I am even guilty of joining in the hype, discussing the Apple iPad 3 here or even the iPhone in earlier blog posts.
Those that know me know that I am a fan of Android, but even the best competitor against the iPad 3, Samsung's beautiful Galaxy Tab 10.1 leaves me feeling a little under whelmed. Don't get me wrong. I love my Samsung tablet, lighter than the iPad, thin, bright screen and all. But why did Samsung remove the advantages they had over the iPad by using a propriety connector in stead of micro USB? Why did they remove the ability to upgrade memory via micro SD card slot. These were the things that made Samsung competitive with the original Galaxy Tab 7.
I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Japan recently. In fact this was my second trip to Japan. The first time was a skiing holiday, and I have to say, the powder skiing in Japan is as good as they say.
So, this time in Japan was for my Nephews wedding. He and his fiance are both Australian and live here in Australia but have had the opportunity to work in Japan for a few months and obviously love it. That's why about 40 family and friends made the trek to Japan for their tradional Japanese style wedding. What an experience!
Naturally, I couldn't help myself and had to check out the mobile phone scene in Japan. The first thing that struck me whilst travelling on the excellent Japanese rail system was that just about all the younger generation are glued to their mobile phones, staring at the screen sending text, surfing the web, watching film clips, or something. The next thing I noticed was the considerable lack of the Apple iPhone. Honestly, I think I saw about 4, and I saw thousands of Mobiles whilst on the train, bus or even on the street.
So I decided that this needed further investigation. I went to the 2 main Mobile Carriers in Japan, JP DoCoMo and Softbank to check out their range and offers. This was no easy task, as I have next to no Japanese language skills and the very polite and attentive sales staff at these shops had about as much English. The above photos are taken from a very comprehensive catalogue I picked up and show typical handsets on offer. Flip and slide phones are very popular, as is Android based Smart Phones. No iPhone in the catalogue, although one store had a sign out the front stating the iPhone was available on a 24 month contract for 6000 YEN per month (about AU$85). Smart phones are the rage, and Android leads in Japan. There are many brands available, including the popular ones we know like Motorola, HTC, LG and Samsung, but there are also plenty of very good looking smart phones from Sharp, Pantech, Toshiba, and Casio.
What about Prepaid? Well, this is interesting. Unlike Australia, or Hong Kong, Canada, USA, UK, etc, Japan has a distinct lack of Prepaid. Softbank offers one handset for 1050 YEN (AU$150) outright with no credit, and credit is another 600 YEN (AU$85). That was about the only Prepaid Mobile I could find. Only available in a phone shop and credit could only be bought there as well from what I could gather. There was certainly no convenience shops, or the equivalent of a newsagency, etc selling any type of Prepaid Mobile.
When I arrived in Japan I thought I would do the same thing I did in Hong Kong recently, and pick up a Prepaid WiFi to allow me internet access whilst there. Guess what? There is no Prepaid Wifi in Japan! They do offer a Pocket WiFi on 4G. This is very fast at 42 Mps (6 x times our current speed) but is only available on a 24 month contract for 6000 YEN per month (AU$85)
Seems to me there could be a great opportunity for Prepaid Mobile in Japan, but I am sure many others have considered this and there must be a reason that Prepaid is not popular. Maybe the carriers have more than they need on contracts and with 2 major carriers and some 127 million people, I am sure they are doing just fine.
On a good note, the mobile service in Japan proved to be very good whilst roaming, and data speeds were excellent. There are a number of Free WiFi spots to be found and the mobile carriers offer their customers WiFi access just about everywhere, including on public transport.
If you have been to another country and would like to share your expereince, then please do so. I would love to hear about other countries Mobile carriers, service and offers.
The release date of the next incarnation of the Apple iPhone has got to be the best, worst kept secret in the world today.
Rumour after rumour flows in the press and online, with people claiming to "be in the know" informing the world of the precise time and date the iPhone 5 will be released.
There is no doubt that Apple have done a fantastic job of creating a brilliant Mobile phone, but even more impressive is the hype they manage to create for their flagship device. Anticipation builds for months and months and we have all heard or seen the stories of Apple "must haves" camping outside of shops waiting to be amongst the first to spend their hard earned on the latest creation from Apple.
I remember hearing an Australian journalist interviewed on the radio during the release date of the Apple iPhone 4 last year. During the interview his brand new iPhone 4 dropped the call 3 times, but he did not care and called the radio station back each time. What really caught my attention during the release report from this journalist was his statement : "Steve Jobs could take a dump in a brown paper bag and put an Apple logo on it, and I would buy that"
Talk about brand loyalty !
We would all love to have a following like that, with millions of people hanging on every breath waiting for the latest and greatest from a company that has managed to dominate the Smart Phone and Tablet market in recent years.
What is their secret? It can't all be about one man, can it? Or is Apple the king at giving people what they want? I guess we could debate this forever. Either way, it works.
Back to the release date of the upcoming iPhone 5. The best guess so far is early to mid October. I have seen some reports claiming an international release of 5th October. Your guess is as good as mine. There are also rumours of a low specced cheaper (than iPhone5) iPhone 4S. This is possible due to the fact that Apple released the specced up 3GS some 12 months after the 3G version.
Interestingly, maybe some of the Apple sting is fading as Google powered Android devices are now outselling the iPhone world wide.