In March of this year, I wrote a post about how the new iPad is really great, but it isn't. Now the iPhone 5 has launched, and I'm about to tell you why I believe the new iPhone is great. This is my personal opinion. I'm posting this for the sake of discussion. I'm not a native English speaker, I apologize upfront for any grammatical errors. Last week, Apple announced the sixth generation iPhone, iPhone 5. Some consider the iPhone 5 to be a great update, some don't. I'm here to tell you why I believe the iPhone 5 actually is a great update. The new design: it is thinner and lighter The iPhone 5's got an all-new design which gives it a different look compared to the iPhone 4S. A design is important to customers because it feels like you own a completely new gadget. It is also important, however, because it allows you to make a device even better. In the case of the iPhone 5, it allows for a thinner and lighter phone. Anyone who owned an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, would expect the new iPhone to be heavier. It is not. It is also thinner and the transition from the back plate to the antenna has been tweaked. This makes the phone feel much better in your hands. Also, since there's a bigger surface on the front and the back, the phone should be able to better withstand free fall drops (like when you drop it from a plane). After all, a bigger surface means more air resistance. Durability The iPhone 5 has now got a unibody design. Several drop tests suggest that the iPhone is much more resistant to drops and even continues working when you drive over the device with a car. On the negative side, the iPhone 5 seems to scratch somewhat easier. The question is, however: what do you prefer? A backplate that cracks and breaks when you drop it, or a backplate that only gets scratched when you drop it. 4-inch 16:9 display The iPhone has now got a 4-inch display. This really offers the best of both worlds: it's not as small as the iPhone 4S' display, but it's also not huge like the Galaxy S3. It offers much more screen estate, and a 4-inch display is here for the years to come. 16:9 is a positive thing, because phones are generally rectangular (and not square). Phones are usually tall, but not that wide. A 16:9 display is tall, but not that wide. A bigger 3:2 display, would have made the phone much bigger. 4G LTE 4G LTE means that sites load faster. Apps download faster. Music downloads faster. Videos download faster. Everything downloads faster. While most European countries do not have any 4G LTE networks yet, the iPhone 5 will support those networks in the future. In the US, and some other countries, you'll be able to enjoy 4G LTE on your iPhone as of right now. People hate to wait. It's one of the things you do most in your life. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for a friend. Waiting in line for buying an iPhone 5. It's all about waiting nowadays. So anything that shortens waiting times, is great. A6 chip While we're talking about speeds anyway, let's talk about the new A6 chip. For the first time ever, Apple has developed it's own ARM-based architecture. The new A6 chip, up to 1.2 GHz, literally screams. It's fast. The new architecture delivers extremely high performance, at extremely low clock speeds. In fact, the dual-core CPU found in the A6 chip beats the quad-core Tegra 3 found in most other devices. It's powerful, and the first tests show that it beats any other phone (that's available right now). And I'm not even talking about the GPU. It's a triple-core PowerVR SGX543 GPU. And it really rocks. It's clocked at higher speeds than the quad-core PowerVR SGX543 GPU that's found in the third-generation iPad. And so what does that mean? It means that the GPU delivers almost the same performance as the quad-core GPU in the iPad 3, and sometimes even exceeds the iPad 3. And since the iPhone 5 has to push less pixels than the iPad 3, games will look even greater than on the iPad 3 - and GPU heavy tasks will be finished much, much quicker. The new GPU is running rounds around the iPhone 4S. And let's not forget that the iPhone 4S had the most powerful mobile GPU when it launched almost 12 months ago. Cameras: FaceTime HD and iSight 8 megapixel The cameras have also been improved. We can now FaceTime in HD which means we can finally see real details in someone's face. Also, if you want to, you can now finally make reasonable quality pictures of yourself - or record yourself in 720p HD. At the back, we've got an improved 8 megapixel camera. While Apple didn't claim much changed, the first teardown shows the new iPhone has got quite a different sensor. It's much more sensitive in low-light situations and during the daytime, colours look slightly better, noise seems to be reduced and everything just seems a bit sharper. When we look at video recording, we see that there's improved video stabilisation, noise reduction, better audio and the over-all picture is much sharper (per frame). I consider this to be a huge improvement, because when you want to record something with your iPhone, you at least want the quality to be good. Since the picture is less shakey, details are better visible, there's more to see in low-light conditions and audio is considerably better, iPhone 5 videos will definitely show an improvement over an iPhone 4S. Also, let's not forget the panorama functionality. It's not something of which you say "wow", anymore, because I've been able to make panorama pictures on my iPhone 4 with apps like Autostitch, but it is a nice addition and the average consumer will find it 'fun to do'. And easy. And that's what it is about. The quality of pictures should be great. The quality of video clips should be great. And it should have nice, fun and easy functionality for the average consumer - like taking panorama pictures. EarPods Apple's new headphones. Audio seems to be improved and for some people the headphones seem to fit much better. The real advantage here, though, is that it's included in the box - within a box. This means that when you take your headphone somewhere, you can store them in this little box. There are two advantages. 1) Your headphones are no longer able to make advanced knots that you can't make 2) They are protected. You can now drop the box in your (school) bag without worrying that the headphones will get damaged. EarPods don't seem to be a big thing at first sight, but the fact that a 'travel box' is included is a huge pro for the average consumer. Battery life Apple also claims battery life is better. If that's true, and I have not been able to confirm that, than that is really awesome. We're talking here about a device with 4G LTE, a 4-inch display with a high pixel density, one of the most powerful CPUs in any mobile device and the most powerful GPU in any mobile device. And yet, it offers better battery life than most other, but not all, competing smartphones. iOS 6: it's both an advantage and a disadvantage iOS 6 is a refinement of iOS 5. It doesn't offer a radically now graphical user interface, but it does offer new features and some smaller, subtle design changes. It's risky for Apple to change the iOS graphical user interface. After all, iOS is an operating system that even 2-year olds can understand. Or 80-year olds. It's the operating system almost everybody understands. Change that, and you risk losing lots of customers - or take the risk, and you might even get more customers. iOS 6 is a refinement. It's nothing drastically new. But let's not forget that every week again, thousands of new customers are drawn to the iPhone. Users who didn't own an iPhone before. For those users, iOS 6 will feel just as new as iPhone OS (1) was to original iPhone owners. I am both happy and disappointed that iOS 6 works and looks the same as iOS 5. Somewhere in me, I wanted something new. Something that we hadn't seen before. But I'm also happy: iOS 6 will work just like any iOS update before. It's an operating system that I know, that I can trust. I won't get lost. Smartphones are mature now There are no longer any big features to add. We've got all the big, important stuff. We've got high-quality cameras. We've got multitasking now. We've got copy & paste. Personal Hotspot. Siri. MMS. Facebook and Twitter support. We've got all the big things. There's nothing big to add. I hear you say "what about NFC?" NFC isn't mature enough yet. It's full of flaws and I wouldn't want to use it to make payments with - it's insecure. What about wireless charging? It sounds great, but I'm waiting for the real wireless charging: you just walk into a room and your phone starts charging. The current "wireless charging" solutions still need some sort of a platform that needs to be plugged in. And you still have to put your phone this platform. I think we'll see features like tactile feedback, or NFC. But right now, the technology is not ready. And it's definitely not something that we miss. It's not like missing multitasking. It's not like missing copy & paste. Smartphones are mature now. Conclusion The iPhone 5 actually is a great upgrade. If you are eligible to upgrade, than this is a great phone. It is mature. It does what you need. It's got the newest networking technologies. It's also got the newest CPU and GPU technologies. It's faster, thinner and lighter. It's not an iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S upgrade. It offers you so much more. It offers you an entirely new design - which makes it seem like an entirely new, not just updated, device. It offers you a bigger display, which should change the user experience. It offers you better battery life, so you can do more for a longer period of time. It offers you the latest networking technologies - like 4G LTE and 802.11n 5 GHz support. It offers you a better camera, which takes better pictures, records better video and records better audio. It offers you one of the most powerful CPUs available. It offers you the most powerful GPU in any smartphone. Anyone who was expecting a bigger upgrade than this, should be getting a reality check. The iPhone has been upgraded in so many ways.