The new iPhone 5 was launched this week in a blaze of publicity and prices for unlocked SIM-free models have just been announced. Compared to the iPhone 4S, the upgraded model is a little bigger, a little quicker, a little lighter and a little thinner.
These are the major changes compared to the iPhone 4S:
- Screen – 4 inch (was 3.5)
- Size – 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches (was 4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37)
- Weight – 3.95 ounces (was 4.9)
- Resolution – 1136×640 (was 960×640)
- Network – 4G and 3G (was 3G only)
- Processor – A6 (up to twice as fast as the previous A5)
- Battery life – up to 225 hours standby (was up to 200 hours)
- Op. System – iOS 6 (was iOS 5)
- Connector – 8 pin ‘Lightning’. I call it ‘wallet lightning’ as it requires the purchase of an adapter to connect to previous 30 pin devices…
- Apps – Google maps replaced with Apple’s maps. YouTube removed from built in apps.
The unlocked prices of the 16GB model are broadly in line with the original prices of the iPhone 4S at the time of launch (they are around $100 less now). In the US, prices range from $649 for the 16GB model to $849 for the 64GB version.
Prices in Canada are similar at $699 to $899 but significantly higher in the UK at £529 to £699.
How Does the iPhone 5 Compare With Rivals? Let’s be honest, the only serious rival for many potential buyers is the existing iPhone 4S – in which case the iPhone 5 wins hands down. No doubt Android fans will note that the new iPhone 5 costs almost 20% more than an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 and almost 50% more than an unlocked Galaxy Nexus.
Others will cry foul at the excessive price differential of the storage options – an extra 48GB costs $200? What planet are they on etc etc. As usual, such points are perfectly valid – but (to coin Blackadder) ultimately like a broken pencil – pointless.
Sales price has little to do with the cost of hardware and everything to do with marketing – it just depends on how much buyers are willing to pay. Why would Apple forgo up to $150 extra profit on each 64GB model by pricing the extra storage at cost price when they know it will still sell by the million? If Samsung and others thought they could get away with selling their models at a higher price they would too.
I’ve read blog after blog comparing the iPhone 5 to the Galaxy S3 and even the Lumia 920 (with various ‘winners’) but I still believe it’s like comparing Macs to Windows PCs (of a similar price) – there is no clear winner, especially as the iPhone 5 hasn’t even been released yet.
User preference is driven by a lot more than mere hardware specs – the operating system, available apps/programs, ease of use and brand loyalty are all of higher importance once a certain level of market maturity is reached – and all these factors are highly subjective.
Existing iPhone 4S users who have invested time and money in iOS, apps, docks, chargers and other devices will compare the features of the new iPhone 5 – and like what they see. Because it improves on the previous model, the iPhone 5 will inevitably be a success for Apple – as usual, people will queue around the block to be first to get one and initial demand will outstrip supply.
For those who doubt the power of the iPhone brand, the Jimmy Kimmel video below is a funny demonstration of how much reality is influenced by perception and brand awareness.