MacBook Air and Pro to get revisions in June 2013

It’s not even been five months since it launched the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it seems Apple is already working on another MacBook. According to DigiTimes, the Cupertino-based company has notified Taiwan-based suppliers that the MacBook Pro and Air series will be seeing revisions in June 2013.

DigiTime’s sources have said that the next MacBook Air will feature a new processor platform, but the design will not see major changes. This may lead to Ultrabook vendors growing concerned, as thanks to the revision, Apple will likely reduce the price of the MacBook Air before the launch of the next model, which could take away demand for Ultrabooks.

The revisions for the MacBook Air and Pro may indicate that Apple could move to Intel’s upcoming Haswell processors. An earlier report revealed that Haswell has been delayed till June 2013, which also puts it in the same time frame as the expected MacBook revisions.

Back in October 2012, Apple introduced the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which featured a Retina display and all-flash storage in a new design. Measuring 0.75 inches and weighing 1.6 Kg, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 20 percent thinner, and almost 500 gm lighter than the earlier MacBook Pro.

As per an official statement by Apple, the new MacBook Pro packs in more than 4 million pixels into its 13-inch Retina display, which is nearly twice the number of pixels in an HD television. At 227 pixels per inch (ppi), the Retina display’s pixel density is so high the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. This makes images look sharp and text to look the way it does on a printed page. With four times the pixels of the current 13-inch MacBook Pro, you can view and edit video in pixel-accurate HD and see a new level of detail in high resolution images. Apple claims that the 13-inch Retina display uses IPS technology for a 178-degree wide viewing angle and has 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the current generation.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processors with the option to choose the faster 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 8GB of 1600MHz memory, and up to 768GB of flash storage. Two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports allow users to connect to multiple displays and high-performance devices, and a new HDMI port offers quick connectivity to an HDTV. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display also features a FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, improved speakers, three-stream 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a MagSafe 2 power port.

Apple states that the 13-inch MacBook Pro battery delivers up to seven hours of wireless productivity and can remain in standby for up to 30 days. With the new Power Nap feature in OS X Mountain Lion, the MacBook Pro with Retina display stays up to date while it sleeps. Power Nap refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, and Photo Stream and when the notebook is plugged in, it downloads software updates and backs up the Mac using Time Machine.


Redesigned MacBook Air Reportedly Planned for 3Q 2013 Launch, Possibly with Retina Display

Taiwanese newspaper Economic Times reports [Google translation, via Macotakara] that Apple is lining up suppliers for its next-generation MacBook Air for launch in the third quarter of this year.

According to the report, the MacBook Air will not only be receiving internal upgrades to Intel’s new Haswell platform but also a “facelift” with new external features, including the possibility of a Retina display. The report also claims that suppliers will begin shipping components to Apple’s assembly partner Quanta during the second quarter of the year.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously included an updated MacBook Air in his 2013 Apple product roadmap, predicting a late second quarter or early third quarter launch for the device. He did, however, indicate that the update would not include Retina displays, which would require substantially more battery power than the current displays and likely force a redesign to also accommodate a somewhat thicker display assembly.

Pricing remains another question for Apple, as the MacBook Air is the company’s entry-level notebook and Apple will likely be very hesitant to raise that floor. But while Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro models carry significantly higher pricing than their non-Retina counterparts, a significant amount of that cost is related to a shift to solid-state drives, which are already used in the MacBook Air.

Consequently, a shift to a Retina display for the MacBook Air may add a much smaller price premium to the lineup. Apple could also choose to separate the MacBook Air into Retina and non-Retina lines as it has for the MacBook Pro, or offer Retina displays as higher-end options on a unified lineup.

A letter from a Friend.

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I believe everything is going great with you. Recently when I was reading through the scriptures, God gave this thought of sharing this words. I hope you will find sometime to read this till the end and try to work on it if this makes sense to you.
What does Grace and Mercy means to you? Why is someone believing in Christ is different from the other people who believe in other things?

Grace means to get something that we don’t deserve; unmerited favor. Mercy means we do not get a punishment that we deserve; compassion, forbearance. Grace and Mercy are wonderful gifts for us in this world. We can read about this in many places in Bible. Jesus’s greatest act of grace is the gift of salvation that is available for all people through faith, given to us for free (Eph 2:8-9). The promise to the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that one day Jesus the Christ will return to earth to claim His purchased possession (Eph 1:12-14; 4:30).

God assures us that we shall never be worried about the sins we have done, doing and might do in the future. Jesus purchased every sinner with His own blood on the cross at Calvary. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16 ).

Should we be worried about future?
In the midst of other people who are worried about their future, confused about the problems in their life, about the career and marriage, (like what will happen next? what am I going to do next? how will I handle this?) as a believer of Christ we are assured for the eternal life.
As the scripture says
 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Mathew 6: 25-34).
“..heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mathew 6:32-34).
So we must not be carried away with the thoughts, worries, sins and problems in our life; for everything has be done and dusted by Jesus in the cross. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’ in the cross, He meant that. Lets rejoice in His grace and enjoy the freedom He has given to us by salvation.
I pray Lord Jesus to guide you more in your daily life and bless you much more abundantly.
Contact: +64 22 184 6516

New iPad 4 reportedly in the works

Are you ready for an iPad with beefier memory?

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

A new fourth-generation iPad with Retina display — and perhaps as much as 128 gigabytes of memory — is being readied for release, sources tell 9to5Mac. The upcoming slate would not be a new design but rather an addition to the current fourth-generation line, with the same color and wireless combinations as the iPad 4, these unnamed sources say.

Pricing is unknown, but the new model is described as a “premium SKU” (stock keeping unity) that would join the current lineup of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB iPads. A source at a large U.S. retailer provided 9to5Mac with what is purportedly a new SKU listing for iPads that includes a fourth model labeled as “Ultimate” to join its current lineup

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

9to5Mac suspects the new model will have 128GB thanks to code found in the iOS 6.1 beta 5 that references a compatibility with 128GB iOS devices. The discovery was first noted yesterday by @iNeal on Twitter.

One ‘Epic Failure’ Led To A Massive Hit In The App Store

Temple Run has become an insanely popular gaming app, amassing more than 170  million downloads since launching in 2011.

But Imangi, the startup behind Temple Run,  launched eight other games in the App Store before achieving great  success. One of those games was called Max Adventure.

“It was kind of an epic failure,” Imangi co-founder Keith Shepherd told  Business Insider in a recent interview. “It wasn’t a success commercially or  critically.”

That’s because Max Adventure is more of a “gamer’s  game,” Shepherd says.

But that “epic failure” was one of the things that led to Temple  Run.

After realizing that Max Adventure just didn’t work very well on the iOS  platform because of its on-screen joystick controls, Shepherd and the Imangi  team started thinking of other, better ways to control the character.

At the same time, Shepherd says endless runner games were really  popular at the time. But since most of them were in 2D, the team had to come up  with an easier way to navigate in a 3D world.

Enter swipe and tilt.

“That’s really kind of where it all started to gel with us,” Shepherd  says.

Now, Imangi is onto its next adventure: Temple Run 2.

Temple Run 2 features a whole new world with mine carts and zip lines.

In the first 24 hours of its release, it quickly  shot up to the top of the App Store charts. Within its first four days of  availability, more  than 20 million people downloaded the app.

“The response from fans has been overwhelming,” Shepherd said  in a press release. “We are thrilled players want more of the Temple Run  universe, and we hope to grow and expand the game over the coming months.”

This Is Where Google Keeps Your Email And YouTube Videos

Right now, you’re probably sitting on your couch with a laptop in your lap, a  tablet in your hands, or a smartphone in your palm.

 Google server farm

You’re moving around the Internet, sending emails, watching videos, and  reading this post.

It can seem like those activities take place in a non-physical,  vaporous world.

There are no wires connecting you to the Internet, no hoses pumping, and no  gears whirring.

It all seems very airy – almost magical. It isn’t!

Your emails, this website, and the YouTube videos you watch are stored in a  very physical place. Accessing them is a very phsycial process.

The End Of The Mac Is Coming, And Apple Is Thrilled

Almost three years ago exactly, Steve Jobs took the stage at Yerba Buena Center  in San Francisco to announce he was killing the traditional PC.

 Of course, Steve Jobs being Steve Jobs, he didn’t actually announce he was  killing the PC. Instead, he introduced the iPad, a lightweight computer that  looked more like a giant iPod Touch than a PC. And in his presentation of the  iPad he zeroed in on Netbooks more than desktops or full-blown laptops.

Yet, here we are three years later and it’s clearer than ever the PC era is  over.

Last quarter Apple sold 4.2 million Macs, missing analyst estimates by nearly  one million units. Apple’s Mac business was down 16 percent year over year on a  weekly sales basis compared to the overall PC market, which was down 6 percent,  according to IDC.

Apple had a good explanation for why Mac sales were light. On the earnings  call, CEO  Tim Cook said, Apple announced new iMacs in October, but didn’t ship them  until the end of November and the middle of December. At the end of the quarter,  supply was “constrained” for the iMac. Apple couldn’t make enough to meet  demand.

He then added that the 2011 quarter had 14 weeks in it, and the 2012 quarter  only had 13 weeks. Additionally, channel inventory contributed to the difference  in sales.

If you add all of that up, Apple’s Mac business decline wouldn’t have been as  bad. It might have even been up.

Mac Units

Business Insider

But then Cook added two notes of  caution for people expecting a turnaround this quarter, saying, “One, the market  for PCs is weak. IDC’s last estimate I believe was around negative 6%. Two, we  sold 23 million iPads and we obviously could have sold more than this because we  could not build enough iPad Mini’s to come into a demand balance. So, we’ve  always said there was some cannibalization there I’m sure there were some  cannibalization of Macs there.”

Right there Cook said the obvious. The Mac business isn’t as bad as the  numbers look, but don’t get your hopes up for some massive revitalization of the  business.

ipad units

Business Insider

It’s not trivial for Apple’s Mac  business to be worse than expected. On the call, one analyst pointed out the  shortfall in Mac sales equates to $1-$1.5 billion. That’s the difference between  beating Wall  Street estimates easily, and missing.

And while it’s been painful for Apple’s stock that it missed on revenue, from  management’s perspective it doesn’t seem like a big deal. This is what Apple  does. It’s happy to destroy the Mac business.

As Cook has said in the past, if Apple doesn’t do it, then someone else will.  So, Apple is doing it.

The iPhone Was A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

Apple’s stock is in a funny place right now.

After a big moonshot, it’s fallen back to earth. And now it’s locked in this  mid to low $500-range.

Analysts who had been universally bullish are reconsidering  their positions and cutting price targets.

What’s wrong?

I think it comes down to the fact that Apple created and captured a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the iPhone.

And, the era of explosive iPhone growth has drawn to a close, at least at the  current iPhone price points.

Apple will continue to grow earnings and profits nicely. The company will  remain robustly healthy. But the mind boggling days of 125%  EPS growth and 82% revenue growth are over.


Why can’t Apple just recreate the miracle with a new product–the iPad Mini, for  example, or a fantastic new TV?

Because the iPhone was a nearly perfect business at a nearly perfect time for  Apple. And those don’t come along very often.

Google’s search business is and was a  magic money machine. People are doing billions of searches, and Google very simply  places a few discreet ads at the top and side of the search results. The ads  aren’t intrusive, and are often very helpful. It’s an incredible business.

For Apple, the iPhone has been a magic money machine. Thanks to carrier  subsidies in most developed countries, consumers pay an affordable $200 for the  phone when they sign up for a two-year contract. Apple, however, collects  $650, with carriers covering the other $450. This is perfect for Apple. It  gets mass-market pricing and premium pricing. Plus, its customers  come back every two years to get a new phone. And, thanks to Apple’s  manufacturing efficiency, the company’s profit margin on the phone sales is  extraordinary.

Apple growth

Business Insider

This magic money machine led to  Apple’s sales exploding from $37.5 billion in 2008 to $156.5 billion in 2012.  That insane sales growth led to Apple’s insane stock growth.

But, Apple’s money machine has largely run through its opportunity.

In the last couple of years, as the explosive growth in the smartphone market  has shifted to lower-priced phones in emerging markets, Apple’s iPhone has been  smoked by Android in market share. Globally Android  has 75% of the market, according to Gartner. In the U.S., Apple has  about 50% of the market, according to Kantar.

Apple has produced record profits and sales even with a small amount of  market share, but that’s only going to get harder in the future.

The smartphone market is still a huge opportunity, but for Apple, there are  limitations. The next phase of growth is coming  from older, poorer people around the world. It’s unclear if those people are  willing to buy expensive iPhones. The carrier subsidy model isn’t as popular  elsewhere in the world.

If Apple does want to address  the low-end of the market with a cheaper iPhone, it presents its own set of  problems. It could make a $200 phone, but Apple’s sales wouldn’t necessarily  skyrocket since a cheaper phone would bring in less revenue and less profit. It  could also cannibalize sales of the high-end iPhone.

In short, a cheaper iPhone brings market share, but at a cost to Apple’s  revenue and profits.

We can see  this dynamic playing out with the iPad Mini, which is selling well. It’s  going to affect Apple’s sales and earnings. Apple makes less money on each iPad  Mini sold as compared to a big iPad. Therefore analysts  are dialing back their estimates for Apple next year.

Speaking of the iPad, it’s important to note the difference between the iPad  business and the iPhone business. The iPad is not a magic money machine. It’s  just another PC. No carriers are subsidizing the iPad. So its profit growth will  pale in comparison to the profit growth of the iPhone. And an iPad, because its  $600, is less likely to be upgraded every other year.

CEO Tim  Cook needs to pull a Steve  Jobs and invent that next product to keep investors happy. But the catch is  that there is probably no other product as perfectly profitable as the  iPhone.

For the longest time we’ve  heard Apple’s next big product is going to be an Apple television.  Supposedly the Apple television is coming next year.

TVs are replaced every eight years, which is quite different than Apple’s  iPhone, iPad, and Mac lines. Gene  Munster estimates Apple could capture 5-10% of the TV market in year one,  which would add 4-8% to the company’s revenue. Over time it could kick in more,  but a TV will never be as lucrative as an iPhone.

One thing Apple investors are waking up to, in other words, is that the  iPhone’s amazing run is winding down. And that there may never be another  iPhone.

Apple’s Days Of Mega-Growth Are Over

Well, it finally happened. Apple’s spectacular revenue and profit growth have fallen back  to earth. If you’re looking for a reason why investors have fled the stock,  then look no further than this chart.

It’s worth noting that the year-over-year comparisons aren’t perfect because  Apple’s holiday quarter in 2012 had one less week than it did in 2011. But, even  if you were to restore that week, the sales growth wouldn’t be where it once  was. (Revenue would be  ~27%, EPS would ~8%.)

The days of Apple’s mega growth have come to a close.

Apple chart of the day

Finally, the iPhone we’ve always wanted

The iPhone 5 is the iPhone we’ve wanted since 2010, adding long-overdue upgrades like a larger screen and faster 4G LTE in a razor-sharp new design. This is the iPhone, rebooted.

The new design is flat-out lovely, both to look at and to hold, and it’s hard to find a single part that hasn’t been tweaked from the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is at once completely rebuilt and completely familiar.

I’ve had the chance to use the iPhone 5 for nearly a week, and have been using it for nearly anything I can think of. Is it as futuristic or as exciting as the iPhone 4 or the original iPhone? No. Does this change the smartphone game? No. Other smartphones beat it on features here and there: if you want a larger screen, go with a Samsung Galaxy S3. If you want better battery life, go with a Droid Razr Maxx.

But, if you want a great, all-around, beautifully engineered smartphone that covers all bases, here it is. Just like the MacBook is to the world of laptops, the new iPhone is one of the top three, if not the best-designed, smartphone around. It’s better in all the important ways.

Editors’ note: We are continuing to update this review with additional observations and test results. Among the latest additions (October 4, 2012) are the inclusion of 4G LTE speed tests (see “4G LTE: Faster, at last” section); detailed comparisons to camera quality between the iPhone and rival smartphones (see “The camera” section); and detailed battery test results for both video playback and talk time (see “Battery” section).

(Credit: Sarah Tew)

What’s different? Look at our review of last year’s iPhone 4S, where we said, “Even without 4G and a giant screen, this phone’s smart(ass) voice assistant, Siri, the benefits of iOS 5, and its spectacular camera make it a top choice for anyone ready to upgrade.”

Well, guess what? Now it has 4G LTE and…well, maybe not a giant screen, but a larger screen. That’s not all, though: the already great camera’s been subtly improved, speakerphone and noise-canceling quality has been tweaked, and — as always — iOS 6 brings a host of other improvements, including baked-in turn-by-turn navigation, a smarter Siri, and Passbook, a location-aware digital wallet app for storing documents like gift cards, boarding passes, and tickets.

The question is: a full year later, is that enough? For me, it is. I don’t want much more in my smartphone. Sure, I’d love a new magical technology to sink my teeth into, but not at the expense of being useful. Right now, I’m not sure what that technology would even be.

(Credit: CNET)

Like every year in the iPhone’s life cycle, a handful of important new features take the spotlight. This time, 4G, screen size, and redesign step to the top.

You’ve gotten the full rundown already, most likely, on the various ins and outs of this phone, or if you haven’t, I’ll tell you about them below in greater detail. Here’s what I noticed right away, and what made the biggest impression on me.

(Credit: CNET)

First off, you’re going to be shocked at how light this phone is. It’s the lightest iPhone, even though it’s longer and has a bigger screen. After a few days with it, the iPhone 4S will feel as dense as lead.

Secondly, the screen size lengthening is subtle, but, like the Retina Display, you’re going to have a hard time going back once you’ve used it. The extra space adds a lot to document viewing areas above the keyboard, landscape-oriented video playback (larger size and less letterboxing), and home-page organizing (an extra row of icons/folders). Who knows what game developers will dream up, but odds are that extra space on the sides in landscape mode will be handily used by virtual buttons and controls.

(Credit: Sarah Tew)

Third, this phone will make your home Wi-Fi look bad. Or at least, it did that to mine. Owners of other 4G LTE phones won’t be shocked, but iPhone owners making the switch will start noticing that staying on LTE versus Wi-Fi might actually produce faster results…of course, at the expense of expensive data rates. I hopped off my work Wi-Fi and used AT&T LTE in midtown Manhattan to make a FaceTime call to my wife because the former was slowing down. LTE, in my tests, ran anywhere from 10 to 20Mbps, which is up to twice as fast as my wireless router’s connection at home.

Using your iPhone 5 as a personal hot spot for a laptop or other device produces some of the same strong results as the third-gen iPad…and it’s smaller. Of course, make sure you check on your tethering charges and data usage fees, but my MacBook Air did a fine job running off the LTE data connection at midday.

(Credit: CNET)

The look: Thin, metal, light as heck You know its look, even if the look has been subtly transformed over the years: circular Home button, pocketable rectangle, familiarly sized screen. Can that design be toyed with, transformed a little, changed?

From left: The Lumia 900, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3.

(Credit: CNET)

The newest iPhone has a wide metal body that stretches above previous iPhones, but is also thinner; still, this isn’t a massive phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note or HTC One X. The iPhone 5 rises above the iPhone 4 and 4S, but subtly.

(Credit: CNET)

From the front and sides, it looks very similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S. The same rounded metal volume buttons, sleep/wake button on top, and silence switch remain. The headphone jack has moved to the bottom of the phone, just on like the iPod Touch. Some will like it, some won’t; it makes standing the iPhone upright and using headphones a virtual impossibility. Actually, the entire bottom is all new: the headphone jack, the larger, redesigned speakers, a different type of perforated grille, and a much tinier Lightning connector port.

(Credit: CNET)

The Gorilla Glass back of the last iPhone is gone, replaced with metal. The two-tone look might seem new, but it’s a bit of a reference to the silver-and-black back of the original iPhone. The very top and bottom of the rear is still glass. That anodized aluminum — which Apple claims is the same as that on its MacBook laptops — feels exactly the same, and is even shaded the same on the white model. So far, it’s held up without scratches. I’d say it’ll do about as well as the aluminum finish on your 2008-and-later MacBook. On the black iPhone, the aluminum matches in a slate gray tone. On my white review model, it’s MacBook-color silver. That aluminum covers most of the back and also the sides, replacing the iPhone 4 and 4S steel band, and lending to its lighter weight. The front glass sits slightly above the aluminum, which is cut to a mirrored angled edge on the front and back, eliminating sharp corners.

(Credit: CNET)

Why the move away from a glass back? Is it about creating a better, more durable finish, or is it about weight reduction? Apple’s proud of its claims of how light the iPhone 5 is, and the new aluminum back is part of that. So is the move to a Nano-SIM card (making SIM swaps once again impossible and requiring a visit to your carrier’s store). So is the thinner screen and the smaller dock connector. You get the picture.

Hold an iPhone 4S up to the new iPhone, and I could see the difference in thickness. It’s not huge, but it feels even slimmer considering its expanded width and length. What I really noticed is how light it is. I still feel weirded out by it. The iPhone 5’s 3.95-ounce weight is the lightest an iPhone’s ever been. The iPhone 4S is nearly a full ounce heavier at 4.9 ounces. The iPhone 3G was 4.7 ounces. The original iPhone and iPhone 4 were 4.8 ounces. This is a phase-change in the nearly constant weight of the iPhone — it’s iPhone Air.

Yet, the iPhone 5 doesn’t look dramatically different like the iPhone 4 once did. Actually, it seems more like a fusion of the iPhone with the iPad and MacBook design.

(Credit: Sarah Tew)

And, of course, there’s the new, larger screen. You may not notice it from a distance — the screen’s still not as edge-to-edge on the top and bottom as many Android phones, but extra empty space has been shaved away to accommodate the display. There’s a little less room around the Home Button and below the earpiece. The iPhone 5 screen is just as tall as the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S 2, but it’s not as wide. That thinner body design gives the iPhone the same hand feel, and what I think is an easier grip. The extra length covers a bit more of your face on phone calls.

(Credit: Sarah Tew)

Over the last week with the iPhone 5, I started to forget that the phone was any larger. That seems to be the point. And, the iPhone fit just fine in my pants, too: the extra length has been traded out for less girth, so there’s little bulge. And, with that awkward statement having been uttered, I’ll move on.

That 4-inch screen: Going longer The iPhone 5 finally extends the 3.5-inch screen that’s been the same size on the iPhone for five years, but it does so by going longer, not wider. A move from the iPhone 4 and 4S’ 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel display to a 4-inch, 1,136×640-pixel display effectively means the same Retina Display (326 pixels per inch), but with extra pixel real estate versus a magnified screen. All the icons and app buttons are the same size, but there’s more room for other features, or more space for videos and photos to be displayed.

The iPhone’s interface is the same as always: you have app icons greeting you in a grid, and a dock of up to four apps at the bottom. Instead of a grid of four rows of four apps, the longer screen accommodates five rows of four apps. More apps can fit on the home screen, but that’s about it as far as user interface innovation. Extra screen height means pop-up notification banners are less intrusive at the top or bottom.

(Credit: CNET)

It’s odd at first going longer versus also adding width, and it means a shift away from the iPad’s more paperlike 4:3 display ratio. Pages of e-books could feel more stretched. In portrait mode, document text may not seem larger, but you’ll see more of it in a list.

(Credit: CNET)

In landscape mode, text actually seems bigger because page width stretches out (so, you can fit more words on a line). The virtual keyboard in landscape mode also ends up a bit more spread out, too, with a little extra space on the sides, which took some getting used to.

(Credit: CNET)

I preferred portrait typing because the keyboard size and width remains the same, while the extra length allows more visible text above the virtual keys.

The screen difference isn’t always dramatic, especially compared with some ultra-expansive Android devices: the Samsung Galaxy S3 beats it both on overall screen size (4.8 inches) and pixel resolution (1,280×720). In the iOS 6 Mail app, with one line of preview text, I fit six and a half messages on the screen at the same time on the iPhone 5 versus five and a third on the iPhone 4 and 4S. Other apps toy with the layout more; I fit eight tasks on one screen in the new iOS 6 version of Reminders, versus five on the iPhone 4S with iOS 5.1.1.

Infinity Blade II, before iPhone 5 optimization. Note the black bars.

(Credit: CNET)

Of course, you’ll need new apps to take advantage of the longer screen, and at the time I tested the iPhone 5, those weren’t available because iOS 6 hadn’t formally launched. Older apps run in a letterboxed type of mode at the same size as existing phones, with little black bars on the top and bottom. Apps work perfectly fine this way, especially in portrait mode, but you definitely notice the difference. App-makers will be scrambling to make their apps take advantage of the extra screen space, and my guess is it won’t take long at all for most to be iPhone 5 (and iPod Touch) ready.

(Credit: CNET)

I tried iMovie, iPhoto, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, iCards, and all of the iPhone 5’s built-in apps (Maps, Reminders, Messages, Photos, Camera, Videos, Weather, Passbook, Notes, Stocks, Newsstand, iTunes, the App Store, Game Center, Contacts, Calculator, Compass, Voice Memos, Mail, Safari, Music, and, of course, Phone), and they all take advantage of the extra space in a variety of useful ways. How others will adopt the extra real estate remains to be seen.

(Credit: CNET)

I’m looking forward to killer apps that will take advantage of the larger screen. So far, I haven’t found any that do it in surprising ways. My guess is that games will benefit the most, along with video and photo apps, and, to some degree, reading/news apps.

(Credit: CNET)

Video playback, of course, has a lot more punch because the new 16:9 aspect ratio reduces or removes letterboxing across the board in landscape mode. An HD episode of “Planet Earth” filled the entire screen, while the available viewing space shrank down even more on the iPhone 4S because of letterboxing. YouTube videos looked great. Some movies, of course, like Pixar’s “Wall-E,” still have letterboxing because they’re shot in the superwide CinemaScope aspect ratio (21:9), but they look a lot larger than before — and you can still zoom in with a tap on the screen.

I think that, much like the Retina Display, you’ll miss the iPhone 5’s new screen more when you try to go back to an older phone. The new display feels like a natural, so much so that to the casual eye, the iPhone 5 doesn’t look entirely different with the screen turned off. The iPhone 4 and 4S screens feel small and hemmed-in by comparison.

iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S video playback of the same 1080p nature video.

(Credit: CNET)

The new iPhone 5’s display also has a layer removed from the screen, creating a display that acts as its own capacitive surface. I didn’t notice that difference using it; it feels as crisp and fast-responding as before. Apple promises 44 percent extra color saturation on this new display, much like the third-gen iPad’s improved color saturation. The difference wasn’t as dramatic in a side-by-side playback of a 1080p episode of “Planet Earth,” but the iPhone 5 seemed to have a slight edge. It was a little too close to call in game-playing, photo-viewing, and everyday experience with the phone, even held side-by-side with the iPhone 4S. The real difference, again, is the size. Autobrightness adjustments have also been tweaked a little, and I found on average that the iPhone 5 found more-appropriate brightness levels for the room I was in.

(Credit: CNET)

This seems like a good time to discuss thumbs. As in, your thumb size and the iPhone 5. Going back to the iPhone 4S, I realized that the phone’s design has been perfectly aligned to allow a comfortable bridge between thumbing the Home button and stretching all the way to the top icon on the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display. That’s not entirely the case, now. I could, with some positioning, still thumb the Home button and make my way around the taller screen, but the iPhone 5’s a little more of a two-hander. It might encourage more people and app developers to switch to landscape orientation, where the extra length and pixel space provide finger room on both sides without cramming the middle.

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Game developers are likely to lean toward the landscape 16:9 orientation, because it more closely matches a standard HDTV’s dimensions, and most console games. The extra width allows useful virtual button space, too.

4G LTE: Faster, at last Last year’s iPhone 4S had a subtle network bump to 3.5G (listed as “4G” on the iPhone 4S following iOS 5.1), offering faster data speeds on AT&T. The iPhone 5 finally adopts faster LTE, joining most other smartphones on the market and even the third-gen iPad, with the leap to LTE back in March. (On the top corner of the iPhone, the service indicator reads “LTE” when it’s up and running.) However, the presence of LTE doesn’t mean a world LTE phone; currently, LTE roaming between carriers overseas is impossible.

(Credit: CNET)

There’s also support, depending on the iPhone 5 version you buy, for slower GSM (including EDGE and UMTS/HSPA) and CDMA/EV-DO networks. The iPhone 5’s LTE uses a single chip for voice and data, a single radio chip, and a “dynamic antenna” that will switch connections between different networks automatically.

In the United States, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless will carry the iPhone 5. T-Mobile loses out. In Canada, it’s Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin, and Koodo. In Asia, the providers will be SoftBank, SmarTone, SingTel, and SK Telecom. For Australia there’s Telstra, Optus, and Virgin Mobile, and in Europe it will go to Deutsche Telekom and EE. On carriers without LTE, the iPhone 5 will run on dual-band 3.5G HDPA+. I didn’t notice any problems when switching between LTE and 4G, but I tended to find myself stationary in a place that had LTE service or a place that didn’t, without much time to test the transition midcall.

There’s a catch, though: there are now two versions of iPhone 5 in the U.S., one GSM model and another version for the CDMA carriers. You may not have your dream of a universal LTE phone, but international roaming is possible between 2G and 3G. Also, get ready to accept that Verizon and Sprint iPhone 5s still won’t be able to make calls and access data simultaneously, even though many other Verizon/Sprint LTE phones can pull this off. That’s because those other phones use a two-antenna system for LTE/voice (voice doesn’t run over LTE yet), while the iPhone 5 only uses one plus a dynamic antenna for what Apple says is more connection stability.

Nevertheless, data access via 4G LTE is stunningly fast. This is no gentle upgrade. In my home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I tested both my AT&T iPhone 4S and the AT&T iPhone 5 at the same time. The iPhone 4S averaged a 2.4Mbps download speeds over “4G,” whereas the iPhone 5 averaged 20.31Mbps. In comparison, my home wireless Internet via Time Warner averaged 9.02Mbps at the hour I tested (1:30 a.m.).

The iPhone 5, in both instances, edged the Samsung Galaxy S3 in download speeds, but the Galaxy S3 was faster in upload speeds on Verizon.

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The difference can be felt loading Web pages: the mobile version of CNET took 5.3 seconds over LTE, versus 8.5 seconds on the iPhone 4S. A graphically intensive Web site like the desktop version of Huffington Post took 16 seconds to load via LTE, versus 23.3 seconds on the iPhone 4S in 4G.

Those who already use 4G LTE may simply be nodding their heads, but to iPhone owners looking to upgrade, this is major news. For many people, LTE will be faster than their own home broadband.

Of course, that’s a dangerous seduction: with fast LTE comes expensive rates and data caps. AT&T also requires a specific plan to even enable FaceTime over cellular. Make sure you don’t fall down the rabbit hole of overusing your LTE, because believe me, you’re going to want to. I tried setting it up a wireless hot spot for my MacBook Air, and the result was generally excellent.

Outside major cities, it’s not quite as exciting if you don’t have LTE coverage. Using the AT&T iPhone 5 out in East Setauket, Long Island, data download speed was merely 3.5Mbps because of a lack of AT&T LTE service. Verizon’s LTE coverage map is larger, but Sprint’s LTE network is small as well. My experience with AT&T and LTE may not necessarily be yours.

Wi-Fi has also gotten a bit of a boost via dual-band 802.11n support over both 2.5GHz and 5GHz. It should help in the event of interference with other Wi-Fi devices, although I never encountered that problem before, even with tons of Wi-Fi gadgets scattered about my apartment.

(Credit: Sarah Tew)