It’s here. Apple has posted all the details of the iPhone 5 on their website, and it’s going to be a sweet phone, even though it looks somewhat the same as the last two version. There are few manmade objects in this world more useful than an iPhone. Maybe your car? Maybe. How is the iPhone 5 is more useful than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S? The LTE radio means more info at faster speeds. It’s bigger screen can hold more data. The cameras improved low-light capabilities means more photos can be created and shared. And it’s A6 chip means the interface will be incredibly fast. In this modern world, you’ve got to have a smartphone, and the iPhone is still the king.
Every year, PC Mag does extensive testing of the wireless carriers across the country, so their opinion counts for something. Here, Sascha Segan runs down the benefits of each carrier, with his overall choice being Verizon because it scores best with PC Mag readers and its has the best nationwide 4G network. AT&T is good if you need to use voice and data at the same time or if where you live doesn’t have LTE (AT&T has the best 3G network). Because of its unlimited data deals, Sprint is the best for heavy data users, but it’s also the slowest of the carriers.
Erica Sadun at TUAW posted a nice list of things you can ask (and tell) Siri. Probably the most useful new feature is launching apps via Siri, as in “Launch The Weather Channel app.” Another interesting tidbit is that you can now tell Siri your arbitrary relationships like “Anne Hathaway is my favorite actress” and Siri will remember. For what purpose, I don’t know.
My excitement for Apple’s new $30 EarPods has been tempered only slightly by early reviews. While they’re indeed better than Apple’s previous default earphones, they seem to still fall short in terms of sound quality compared with some of the best iPhone earphones for under $100. Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge scored the EarPods an A-, saying the EarPods “offer a number of welcome improvements, nearly across the board—sound quality, comfort, and stability have all jumped up, and even the three-button remote and mic capsule has seen small improvements in usability.” Still, pretty good for $30.
Duncan Davidson does an exhaustive look at what the best version of the iPhone 5 is for international traveling. He concludes its the Verizon iPhone 5 because Verizon lets you easily buy small chunks of data for international traveling, and because the Verizon phone can be easily unlocked for using local sim cards around the world for those month-long stays.
Still think your iPad can’t replace your home computer? Harry McCracken over at Time writes about how he’s settled into the iPad as his primary computer. He goes into detail about the iPad’s benefits: battery life, simplicity, embedded Internet (3G & LTE), and reliability. He does admit he hasn’t completely abandoned his laptop, which he uses for serious graphics products.
Goodbye, 30-pin dock connector. We knew ye well. Maybe too well. Dan Frakes at MacWorld examines the new Lightning plug. It’s should be easier to use, as its reversible sides mean there is no up when plugging it in. It’s more durable and 80% smaller. Of course, this totally obsoletes your old docks and cords. But wait, Apple is now selling two Lightning to 30-pin adapters, which they gouge you for at $29 or ($39, with cord). It’s the price of progress. Actually, one of the reasons the adapters are so expensive is because they contain a digital-to-analog audio adapter chip inside so they can output audio to stereos and other audio devices.
You now can create and edit Notes and Reminders on the iPhone, then edit them on the web via iCloud.com, and vice versa. This really changes the usefulness of the Notes app in particular for me. A quick tip though: in the Notes app on the iPhone, make sure you create new notes in the iCloud folder (tap Accounts in the top left corner), else they won’t sync back to the iCloud site. Of course, also make sure you have iCloud turned on in the iPhones settings as well.
Apple is getting rid of its YouTube app in iOS 6, so you’ll need Google’s new YouTube app (free) to watch funny cat videos. Even if you aren’t updating to iOS 6, Google’s app is slightly better than Apple’s version, so there’s little reason not to download it.
FaceTime was previously limited to Wi-Fi, but now with iOS 6, the iPhone 5, 4S, and new iPad support its use over cellular—as long as the carriers are onboard. Well, they’re on board—mostly. AT&T Wireless has the stipulation that you have to have on of their new Mobile Share data plans. Does anyone use FaceTime? I think, if you have kids, you use FaceTime. If you don’t have kids, you probably don’t use FaceTime much.