After much speculation, milling rumors and endless Web chatter about the possible launch of an iPhone 5, Apple made an official announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 12, that the newest iteration of its beloved device has arrived.
The company debuted the iPhone 5 at an event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. While no official video stream of the conference was made available by Apple, tech websites Engadget and Mashable provided live blog announcements made at the event to help unveil the next-generation iPhone and its new features.
So what does the new iPhone 5 have on your existing smartphone? Here are some of the new features that might impact government.
Though the iPhone 5 is still the same width as previous iterations, it is now taller, allowing for visibility of five rows of icons on the home screen in addition to the four shortcuts that display at the bottom of the screen. “All the first-party apps have been optimized to show a bit more stuff,” according to the live blog. “In ‘Calendar’ we see a full five-day workweek now.” And according to Apple, the new iPhone has less glare in sunlight.
What are arguably some of the more impressive enhancements come from iOS 6, which means all iPhone users can take advantage without upgrading the device itself (with a two-year contract, iPhone 5 costs $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 32 GB model, and $399 for 64 GB model ).
One such upgrade in iOS 6 is a new feature called Shared Photo Streams — once photos are taken, users can share them for others to view and comment on. Siri is also more robust in iOS 6 — it can share the latest sports scores and stats, show the latest movie reviews and showtimes, open apps, and post to Facebook and Twitter.
Also new in iOS 6 is brand new maps functionality — Apple is saying goodbye to Google Maps and introducing its own product, one that gives turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3-D views, and Flyover feature.
So far, opinions on the new iPhone 5 — before and after the announcement of the launch — are a mixed bag.
According to a July article by Bit, Anthony Caruana addressed speculations about the iPhone 5’s new connector. Because Apple’s cable connector worked across all of Apple’s mobile devices, he said, customers developed a loyalty to the company since all their devices could be charged into a single connector — making a different sized connector for the iPhone 5 a bad decision for the company.
“All those accessories will either be rendered useless or you'll need a small adapter — hardly an elegant solution,” Caruana said.
According to CNET News, one reader said the iPhone 5 appears to be improved, but may lack a certain “it” factor. “There is no disappointment here for me. Apple added all of the elements that made the iPhone 4S less-than-desirable. I think hype is a terrible thing because it makes people believe that EVERY new product Apple comes out with will be life-changing and extraordinary. What more, at this point in time, can you ask for in a smartphone?”
But whether individuals are rejoicing the launch of the iPhone 5 or sneering that Apple has another iPhone model added to its legacy, some analysts say the iPhone could help stimulate the U.S. economy fairly significantly.
In a note to his clients, JPMorgan’s Chief Economist Michael Feroli wrote that sales of iPhone 5 could boost annualized GDP growth by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate. The 0.33 percentage-point boost, “would limit the downside risk to our Q4 GDP growth protection, which remains 2.0 percent.”
iPhone 5 will be available for purchase on Friday, Sept. 21, and customers can pre-order their iPhone 5 beginning this Friday, Sept. 14.
In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. She wrote for for Government Technology magazine from 2010 through 2013.