Op-Ed: On First Glance: What’s the Deal with the iPhone 5?

By Kiran Aditham Comment

And now, we get a developer’s perspective on Apple’s latest product, hopefully broken down in simplistic terms for the masses. Olli Siebelt, head of client solutions at Culver City, CA-based digital prodco The Famous Group, offers his initial thoughts on the iPhone 5. Is your wait in line worth it? Let’s take a look.

Here’s a quick-reaction overview on what the new Apple iPhone 5 and iOS6 inclusion means to developers, marketers and ad people:

•    The new A6 processor makes the iPhone 5 twice as fast as the 4S and creates a much more powerful gaming machine in both processing and graphics rendering.  As we’ve seen in previous updates, the jump to IOS6 will keep consumers wanting more.  Will it be compatible with the 4 and 4S?  Yes.  But users on the older handsets won’t be able to play with new toys such as Maps flyover, 3G-enabled FaceTime and turn-by-turn navigation as the older processors won’t be able to handle it.

•    The higher resolution of 1136 pixels x 640 pixels means it’ll be great for watching content, but developers (and yes, clients) will need to re-optimize existing apps for this new spec.  At present, older apps will appear letterboxed, which may annoy the purists who won’t be abel to take advantage of the new screen properly.

•    On the other hand, rather than reformat their applications, many developers could use the extra space to sell advertising in their app.  The new larger screen leaves an extra space of 176 pixels high by 640 pixels wide, and current iAd banners measure 100 pixels high by 640 pixels wide.

•    iOS6 also includes the new Apple-centric approach to apps, with no more Google Maps and YouTube relegated to the App Store.  Apple is providing a new API for developers to interact with for maps, (Yelp integration, turn by turn directions, etc.), but we’ll all be learning this as we go.  It will be interesting to see how users feel about no longer having “Street View” as standard.

•    Apple’s taken significant steps to make social network integration a priority as iPhone 5 now supports direct connections to Facebook and Twitter.  Previously, developers were relying on OAuth, which didn’t really play nicely with native iOS software.

•    The improved camera will help a lot in low-light situations, which should lead to a much-improved Augmented Reality experience as the AR markers will now be much easier to read in a variety of conditions.

•    e-Commerce types may be moaning that there’s still no NFC capability but consumers do get the new Passbook app, whose UI is elegant and simple.  Merchants might want to take note as it doesn’t require any hardware or receivers (i.e., no extra costs).  Watch this space though – as NFC becomes more widespread, we’re pretty sure Apple will get involved.

•    Finally, the price drop of previous models is a big deal.  With the iPhone 4S dropping to $99 and the 4 to free (on contract), iPhones will now be opened up to a whole range of consumers who previously may have only thought about more affordable Android.