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BLOG: Should you upgrade to the iPhone 5?

Lex Friedman | Sept. 14, 2012
When Apple introduced the iPhone 5 on Wednesday—with its taller screen, faster networking, and new Lightning port—iPhone owners everywhere faced a common question: Is it worth an upgrade?

Also worth noting: iOS 6, which arrives on September 19, wont work at all on the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G. On the iPhone 3GS, you miss out on many iOS 6 features, including turn-by-turn navigation and flyover in Maps, shared Photo Streams, FaceTime, Siri, Panorama photography mode, and Offline Reading List.

Unless you only very recently got your iPhone 3GS, your upgrade pricing coming from an older model iPhone should be reasonable. Now is the time to upgrade. The price should be right, and the benefits are plentiful.

4 Scored Back Several Years Ago

The decision for iPhone 4 owners is less clear-cut. The iPhone 4 remains a powerful iPhone. Like the iPhone 3GS, though, it misses out on numerous features new in iOS 6: turn-by-turn navigation and flyover in Maps, Siri, FaceTime over cellular, and Panorama.

Siris still in beta with iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, but its increasingly powerful. Any Siri envy you felt for iPhone 4S users will only grow stronger once the proliferation of the iPhone 5 begins.

But software differences arent the only things iPhone 4 users will miss out on compared to folks wielding the iPhone 5. Besides the immediately apparent difference the larger screen the iPhone 5 offers a variety of distinct upgrades over the iPhone 4. Take the processor, for example: The iPhone 4 uses Apples A4 processor. The company says that the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S offers seven times faster graphics performance and twice as speedy CPU performance. The iPhone 5 uses an A6, which Apple says offers twice the graphics and CPU performance of the A5. That puts the iPhone 4 to iPhone 5 processor improvements around 14 times on the graphics side, and four times on CPU tasks. Thats big.

Couple the software features and processor boost with the iPhone 5s camera, audio, and networking improvements, and theres a compelling case to upgrade to the iPhone 5.

4S Or Not 4S: That Is the Question

The last bucket of potential iPhone 5 upgraders is, of course, those who own whatuntil this weekwas Apples top-of-the-line iPhone.

If you own an iPhone 4S, its tough to make the case for you to upgrade to the iPhone 5. First, lets look at all you dont miss out on: Unlike other old iPhones, there are no software aspects of iOS 6 that the iPhone 4S misses out on. It gets all the features of Mapsincluding flyover and turn-by-turn directions, FaceTime over cellular, Siri, and the newly-announced Panorama feature.

Thus, the case for upgrading from an iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5 is strictly a hardware one: The iPhone 5 has the bigger screen, twice the CPU and graphics performance, upgraded networking, and slightly longer battery life. Both the front- and rear-facing cameras on the iPhone 5 improve a bit over the iPhone 4Ss offerings.

 

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