Android and iOS have become the indisputable leaders in the mobile computing revolution that has taken place over the last five years. As such, whenever a high-end flagship Android is announced, or a new iPhone revealed, it’s inevitable that we pit them against each other.
So just how does the new iPhone stack up against the competition? To answer that, we first have to take a look at the new features and hardware introduced with the iPhone 5.
At 7.6 mm thick, 18% thinner than the 4S, and 112 grams, 20% lighter, Apple is touting the iPhone 5 as the thinnest phone in the world (which it’s not).
One of the most popular rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 before release was the screen size, which has indeed seen a bump to 4.0-inches, at 1136 x 640, for a pixel density of 326 PPI. The new display on the iPhone 5 also sees a bump in saturation and clarity, thanks to in-cell technology. Which is already being used by several different Android manufacturers.
The iPhone 5 is the first iPhone to include HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and LTE. Apple’s LTE chip puts voice and data into one chip, and is paired with a 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz WiFi radio.
The processor in the iPhone 5 has been bumped up from the A5, to the A6. Apple has always been quiet on a lot of the core numbers on their in-house processors. They promise things like 2x faster performance in everything you do with the A6 over the A5. I would imagine chips like the latest Exynos and Snapdragons will have no problem keeping up.
Camera buffs have always bragged about the quality of the iPhone’s camera over other smartphones. Rival manufacturers have definitely caught up at this point, which is why Apple is yet again bumping up the camera in the iPhone 5. Made out of sapphire crystal, the camera on the iPhone 5 is a an 8-megapixel, backside illuminated, hybrid IR filter shooter with advanced processing for better low-light condition and noise filtering. Manufacturers like Sony and LG are really stepping up their cameras this year as well, it’ll be interesting to see how they perform.
Along with the larger display, enhanced camera and faster processor, the iPhone 5 comes with better battery life, three microphones, new speakers and a highly improved (but still proprietary) Lightning connector.
The only thing new software wise, that wasn’t detailed back in June, is, well, nothing actually. Of course there’s Apple’s new Maps app, and Passbook, but that’s it really. No mobile payment systems. No widgets or interactive app icons. But Siri will tell you what your favorite sports team’s scores are. If you ask nicely.
In terms of hardware, and raw specs, the iPhone 5 barely manages to keep up with the latest flagship Android devices, let alone anything that may debut before the end of a year. But specs alone aren’t enough anymore. It’s about the entire user experience. The package of hardware and software. The iPhone 5, paired with iOS 6, will deliver. And so has the Galaxy Nexus with Jelly Bean, Android 4.1, and so has the Nexus 7, and the next Nexus device will as well.
We’ve finally reached a point where the release cycles of Android hardware and software, and Apple hardware and software, aren’t as revolutionary as they once were, at least not compared to the massive updates that were mere months apart from each other in the past. They’re refinements of what are already good products. And that’s not a bad thing. It finally gives us, as consumers, a chance to catch out breaths. But it still manages to keep pushing the envelope forward.
To answer the question from the title of this post, it stacks up well. The iPhone 5 will continue to break records, continue to be a smash hit with consumers, and continue to maintain its position of power in the market place, just as it will continue to be one of the only non-Android devices on the market to keep Android manufacturers moving forward.
Just don’t be foolish and think for one second that any new device on the market, be it from Apple, Nokia, RIM or whoever else, is going to make Android any less of the powerful, versatile, world leader it is today. Android is here to stay, but there’s room for more than one at the top. The iPhone 5 is certainly capable of more than filling that role.