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Review: Apple's iPhone 5 destined for success

Michael deAgonia | Sept. 25, 2012
With the iPhone 5, Apple has again delivered something worthy of the iconic iPhone name and legacy, says columnist Michael deAgonia.

In the box

The iPhone 5 arrived in a box similar in size to past models, although slightly taller and a smidgen wider. Included inside were a wall plug, a basic printed welcome packet (complete with two Apple stickers), Apple's new headphones, now called EarPods, and a USB 2.0 to Lightning connector. The new connector replaces the 30-pin Dock connector, which has been standard since the first iPod in 2001.

The iPhone 5 is pure iPhone, retaining the iconic single-button front face, with this year's model enclosed in a thinner, taller, aluminum and glass housing. The black model features a black aluminum antenna design that frames the outer edge of the the phone; the back housing is mostly comprised of a dark gray aluminum panel sandwiched between two glass inlays at the top and bottom. (The glass sections help with reception.) The white model features a gleaming silver antenna frame around the edge, and a backplate made of a gray aluminum instead of the darker slate color on the black model.

There are a couple of other cosmetic changes to note: the FaceTime camera is now centered above the noise-canceling earpiece, and the headphone jack has been moved to the bottom.

Keith Shaw and Ken Mingis discuss the features of Apple's iPhone 5 smartphone, and whether the larger screen, 4G LTE network and other features will excite the legions of Apple fans.

Even though the screen is bigger, meaning the iPhone 5 is taller, the unit feels really light in your hand, lacking the heft of the dual-sandwiched glass of the 4S; with the screen turned off, the iPhone 5 feels more like the empty shell of an iPhone, not a working model. If you're a numbers person, the new iPhone is 4.87 inches tall (compared to 4.5 inches before); 2.31 inches wide (the same as before); and weighs 3.95 ounces, down from its predecessor's 4.9 ounces. An ounce might not sound like much, but it's readily apparent.

The new iPhone 5, right, is noticeably taller than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, but is also lighter.

Bottom line? The design, materials, and build quality are impressive; both white and black models are gorgeous. If you care about the nexus of design and technology, you have to be impressed when holding the iPhone 5 in your hand. It really is that simple. Several iconic iPhone designs have been released since 2007, and each time Apple's design team manages to surpass itself. I've almost run out of adjectives to describe the high quality the new iPhone, like earlier models, exudes.

iCloud Restore & Activation

I set up my iPhone from my iCloud backup while the activation with AT&T was supposedly happening in the background. All of my information -- including user data such as app and system settings, text messages, calendars, email and contacts -- downloaded first. After a reboot to apply the refreshed settings, my camera roll pictures, photo streams, and apps/media from iTunes began to download. (If there's a specific app you want access to immediately, tap its icon to bring it to the front of the download queue.)


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