When Apple's iPhone 5 is shown off in San Francisco on Sept. 12, the device will set off a firestorm of excitement. Long-time Apple fans and supporters will jump at the chance to get their hands on the device. And those who are thinking seriously about jumping into the smartphone fray will more than likely choose Apple's handset.
Even Android owners might see some value in the iPhone 5.
But quantifying the actual value the iPhone 5 delivers might be difficult. The handset, according to rumors, will deliver a host of improvements over its predecessor, including 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service, a bigger display, and much more.
However, there's just one major problem: most of the new features coming to the iPhone 5 â if not all â are already available in competing devices. In fact, the iPhone 5 will likely be a catch-up device designed to deliver all of the features Android users have already been enjoying. It's an interesting shift. And it's something that shouldn't be overlooked as we consider the iPhone 5's value.
1. Near-field communication
This is an easy one, isn't it? Near-field communication is an absolute necessity in every smartphone going forward, and yet, it's not available in Apple's iPhone. That'll likely change with the iPhone 5. However, several companies, including Apple's arch-nemesis Samsung, have already bundled NFC into their products. Sorry, Apple, but you're a little late to the game.
2. The long-awaited quad-core processor
When Apple's new iPad launched, many had hoped that the company would announce a quad-core processor. It didn't. Instead, it delivered a higher-end dual-core chip. In the iPhone 5, hopes for a quad-core processor are back. And there appears to be a good chance Apple will satisfy those customers. There's just one problem: a slew of Android-based devices, including several from Samsung and LG's Spectrum, have a quad-core chip.
3. 4G LTE
Looking around the mobile space nowadays, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find smartphones that don't come with 4G LTE service. The iPhone 4S is perhaps the most notable exception. However, Apple will reportedly offer the ultra-high-speed option in the iPhone 5. It's about time.
4. The latest and greatest software
Apple's iPhone 5 will be the only flagship device to come with iOS 6. However, Apple isn't the only company to be bundling the latest and greatest software in devices this year. The latest Android distribution, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), has already made its way to some new devices, including most notably, the Nexus 7. Simply put, Apple's best firepower is going up against Google's best firepower; Apple isn't taking on the obsolete alternatives.
5. Scratch-resistant glass
Apple's iPhone 5 will launch with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 2, according to reports. If that sounds familiar, it's because many flagship device available today, including those from Samsung, HTC, and others, offer scratch-resistant glass. Nothing new to see here, folks.
6. A 4-inch display
The latest rumors suggest Apple will offer a 4-inch display in the next iPhone. Yawn. A host of devices already offer bigger screens than that, and let's not forget that calls for Apple to bump its 3.5-inch display have been made for years.
7. An improved camera
Since it's a guarantee that Apple will have dual cameras in the iPhone 5, it's also quite likely that the company will offer some improvements to the rear camera. But can anything it offers match the 41-megapixel PureView found in Nokia's 808? How about the 8-megapixel option available in the Galaxy S III? It's doubtful.
8. Thin, thin, thin
Apple has been serious about mobility for a long time. And nearly every chance it gets, it offers up a device that comes in much thinner than those that came before it. But that's nothing new. Every company in the mobile space is trying to make their products thinner. And in many cases, they're succeeding.
9. Rounded corners and other design ideas
Based on the leaked iPhone 5 images, the device will come with the standard look you've come to exact from Apple's products. The device will be thin, it'll have rounded corners, and its display on the front will be big enough to handle your inputs. In other words, it's just like every other product on store shelves.
10. A better battery
There's little chance of Apple not updating its iPhone 5 battery. But it's unlikely that it'll come up with a technology that will in some way trump those found in other smartphones. Unfortunately, device batteries have become commoditized. And not even Apple is doing something so special with the iPhone's battery to beat its competitors.