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AppleToTheCore.me

I'm a total Apple addict, as you might tell.

iPhone 5 Launch Day

It’s iPhone 5 launch day! Woo hoo!

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I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new iPhone 5. I missed the boat with the iPhone 4S because AT&T had me my the short and curlies with the 2 year contract I was locked into from when I bought my iPhone 4. If I wanted the 32GB iPhone 4S, I’d have to fork over $650 for it. That wasn’t happening. Siri is awesome, but I wasn’t willing to pay $650 when I knew that the iPhone 5 was going to be a complete redesign. I had to wait.

The preorders went on sale last Friday and all 2 million units sold out almost immediately. The online ship date had already slipped to 3-4 weeks by mid-day. If you don’t get one this weekend, you’re going to be waiting a while.

I checked with my Chief Financial Officer (my wife) and made sure that a spare $300 was lying around. All was in order so I decided to swing by my local Apple Store on the way to work. I knew it would be busy, but I thought it wouldn’t be that insane since “everyone” just bought an iPhone 4S last year. Just like the iPad 3 launch, I figured I’d be in and out in minutes and be at work by 8:30 at the latest.

I got to the Apple Store at 6:55. To my surprise, there were already a good 60 people in front of me!

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In the picture below you’ll see a sunglass kiosk on the left. Between that and the escalator also sits a coffee kiosk. Mall Security wanted to keep the floor clear so people could get to the kiosks. By 7:00 the line was already by the sunglasses place so Mall Security broke the line right where I was standing and pushed us back.

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A couple minutes later, two Apple employees came down the line and asked us what models we were picking up. I was really hoping that I’d get to see the white model before making up my mind. The white one looks pretty nice online, but I really wanted to see one in person before deciding. Unfortunately, you had to have your mind made up before you went in.

They were passing out cards to stop people from line holding. That, and track the inventory. They said they had a problem in the past where people were holding the line for others. Imagine like me, you’re standing in line and there’s only 60 people in front of you. There’s a pretty good chance you’re getting the model you wanted. Imagine as the store opens though, tons of people jump on the line with the ones that were holding it for them. The next thing you know, there’s 100+ people in front of you. That’s not exactly fair. So basically, if you get in the store and you don’t have a card, they know you cut in on the line. You’re not getting an iPhone. It’s nice to see that Apple does what they can to stop people from taking advantage and screwing everyone else.

Since I had to make up my mind before entering the store, I picked the black model. I’m sure the white one is nice, but I know there’s no question about the black model.

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It’s too bad you don’t get to keep the card. It would make a nice souvenir, having the launch date on it. Again, Apple doesn’t want you being a jerk and passing the card to a friend after you’ve made your purchase.

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The store opened at 8:00 and a ton of employees came out and ran all the way down the line giving us high fives. I tried to snap off a few pictures, but a Mall Security guy told me we weren’t allowed to shoot video. I told him I wasn’t shooting a video that I was just taking a picture. All the while people have been very obvious about walking up and down the line recording video on their iPads and no one’s said a word to them. I didn’t want to push it because the guy looked like he had something to prove and I wasn’t looking to get kicked of the line by some minimum wage wannabe rent-a-cop. Needless to say, I missed the shot.

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The line moved pretty quickly as they escorted the first lot of people in. Once the initial lot were in, they sent additional groups of 5-10 people in as people exited. It looked like they were trying to keep no more than 30 or so in the store at any given time. By 8:15 I had moved up to beginning of the second line break in front of the escalator.

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It took another hour to finally get in the store. I wish I took another picture as I got closer, I just didn’t think of it until after the fact. I got in the store at 9:15 and was out a few minutes later. Once I had my iPhone 5, I ran upstairs and hit up Starbucks. I then left the mall and headed out to work. I got to work a few minutes before 10:00. That was a good hour and a half after I had anticipated, but whatever.

It was murder sitting at work all day staring at the box. I didn’t bother opening it because it wasn’t like I could do anything with it anyway. I wanted to connect it to iTunes and restore it from my iPhone 4 backup first. Also, I didn’t want to really advertise too much that I had it or everyone would have wanted to put their greasy mitts all over it. Needless to say, I waited until I got home to open it.

So let’s have a look at it, shall we?

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As with the iPhone 4, I opted for the 32G model. 16 Gigs just isn’t enough space. 64 Gigs seems to be overkill. Between the iPhone and my iPad, I really don’t need 128 Gigs of mobile storage. My iPad is a 64GB model and I think it’s packed with data, However, I still have 16 Gigs free. Again, 64GB on the iPhone for me would be excessive. I’ll save myself the $100.

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Lifting the lid reveals the awesomeness of the iPhone 5.

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Removing the iPhone and the tray from the box reveals the supplied documentation and accessories.

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The new “EarPod” headphones come in a very nice case; similar to the In-Ear headphones I purchased 4 years ago. It’s nice see that Apple included it. Maybe now our headphones will stay a little cleaner.

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Look at the new Lighting cable. It’s tiny. I’m going to have to pick up another one of these. I’ll need one to be permanently stored in car for my stereo. Having to do the cable shuffle between home and the car is going to be annoying. Maybe I’ll just pick up one of the new adapters? Then again, the cable is $10 cheaper than the adapter, if that makes any sense.

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I really like the new headphone design. They are way more comfortable that the old In-Ear headphones. I never liked the feel of those. They sounded great, but they felt terrible. I never liked the way that they completely sealed up the ear canal. They almost created a vacuum in your ear. The slightest vibration of the cable echoed in your ear. It’s hard to describe. It’s like when you listed to a sea shell, you hear that “ocean” sound?

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I don’t know if it’s the lack of lighting in my computer room, but I’m finding it hard to photograph the iPhone. It’s so black! There’s no contrast between the face and the bezel. It’s black on black. Even with some black point adjustments in Aperture, it’s hard to pull out the details. So these pictures don’t do it justice.

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I’m definitely liking how they moved the headphone jack to the bottom. If you ever found yourself listening to music while you’ll charging it, you’ll know how annoying it is to have a wire coming out of both ends. Now at least when you’re holding the iPhone, the headphone cable isn’t coming out and up over your hand.

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It’s about time Apple ditched the unnecessarily gigantic 30 pin dock connector. They weren’t even using all 30 pins. For example, some of the pins were used back in the day when the iPod supported FireWire. Apple did away with FireWire support years ago, so the pins aren’t even being utilized. The connector has remained unchanged for legacy purposes. It’s nice to see Apple ditch it for a more modern solution.

I like the fact that it’s reversible. That was an awesome idea. Do you know how hard it is to plug in an iPad in the dark without scratching the finish? I just wish they made it a MagSafe connector. Due to its size, maybe it’s more susceptible to becoming accidentally disconnected that it was impracticable to make it magnetic. That, and it’s probably hard to pass data through a magnet without bad things happening. Data and magnets don’t get along.

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I like the new two-tone back. I’ll definitely need a case for this as the finish will probably scratch pretty easily. I can see the anodizing on the diamond-cut bezel rubbing off over time too. That’s one advantage that the white model has over the black. Oh yeh, I saw them in the store. The white model is very nice.

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They finally decided to move the front camera to the center. I thought that this’ll make FaceTime calls and self-portraits easier to shoot. I always felt like my head was slightly turned to the side on the iPhone 4 because the camera is off-center. However, the comparison shots I took looked the same.

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First power-on.

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I ran through the setup and actually restored (almost) everything right from iCloud. Everything was instantly there. My email, contacts, notes, reminders, etc were all right there. I probably could have done that at work and had a phone to work with. (My iPhone 4 was instantly deactivated once my iPhone 5 purchase was complete.) Then again, all my apps were missing as well as my videos and music, so I needed to hook it up to my Mac regardless.

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I connect the iPhone 5 to my Mac Pro. Even the USB-end of the Lightning cable is new. It’s much smaller than previous generations.

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I had to also upgrade iTunes to 10.7 for the iPhone 5 to work. I knew it came out last week, I just hadn’t bothered to upgrade yet. Once the upgrade was complete, I was able to restore the iPhone 5 from my iPhone 4 backup.

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Now all I need is a case. Unfortunately, the Apple Store didn’t have any for sale this morning. Crazy, I know. I was always under the impression that Apple seeded case specs to a chosen few vendors so that they’d be able to secure a few case lines for launch day. I guess that fell through this year. I thought that Best Buy was still closed since the mall didn’t technically open until 10:00. I forgot that Best Buy was also selling the iPhone 5, so they were probably open. Although, I don’t know if they would have let me in if they were sold out. In any case, I didn’t check Best Buy before running off to work.

I just ran back to the mall and was pleased to see that Best Buy had a 16 foot run of iPhone cases. Looking at the selection, it seems that the going rate for an iPhone case is still $30 bucks. Most cases are injection molded or thermoformed plastic. They cost pennies to make. It’s crazy that you can take 30 cents worth of plastic and charge $30 bucks for it because you’re going to wrap it around an iPhone. I guess they get away with it because people pay it. I could get a halfway descent case on Amazon for $10 bucks, but I’d have to wait a week for it to be delivered.

The cheapest case that Best Buy had was a Rocketfish no-frills, silicone gel-like clear case. It was $22.99. I still thought that was crazy. I’ve never heard of Rocktfsh. Are they some sort of off-beat no-name store brand? There’s no way the case should cost more than $4.99. I knew I was going to have to pay a premium, but I figured I’d be able to get a case for $19.99. Beggars can’t be choosers I guess. I needed a case right away. I didn’t want to risk scratching the finish, so I was stuck paying premium big-box retail prices.

It’s funny. It doesn’t even say “iPhone 5” on it. It says “New iPhone”.

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After I got the case out of the packaging, I was actually kind of surprised. I was thinking all along that this would just serve as a temporary case until I could get a “real one”, but it actually seems pretty descent. Since it’s not a rigid clear case like the Incase one Apple sent me for the iPhone 4 antenna-gate thing, I think it’ll be less prone to cracking and scratching. It has a nice feel to it. It’s flexible, but not gushy. I’m almost afraid to say it, but it’s actually not bad at all!

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The nice thing about it is that you can still see it’s an iPhone 5; not that I’m one to brag. The iPhone 5 is incredibly thin and light. It doesn’t make sense to put it in a case where you’re not going to be able to appreciate the design. I’ve never been a big fan of bulky cases with a lot of bling. What’s the point of having a thin, lightweight, and elegant design if you’re just going to hide it away in a case? I like a case that’s “barely there” and this case does a pretty good job of that. (Although, I still think it should be $5 bucks.)

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I’d like to go outside and take some side-by-side shots with the iPhone 4 and 5 and compare the two. It looks like it’s about to rain, so hopefully the pictures don’t come out too bad.

I stacked the iPhone 4 and 5 on top of each other so that the lenses were very close together on one side and the “take a picture” buttons were close together on the other. This way, I could simultaneously take a picture of the same thing with both iPhones.

iPhone 4 images come in at 2592x1936 while the iPhone 5 images are 3264x2448. Granted, these images are scaled down to 620x463, but it’s very easy to see that a few megapixels makes a huge difference.

iPhone 4

iPhone 4

iPhone 5

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Just check out the detail. I agree the color balance is a little off on the iPhone 5. All the pictures I took with the iPhone 5 had a slightly yellowish-hue. It might just be due to the cloudy day outside and the lack of sun. Don’t forget, even thought the image is scaled down to 620 x 463, the iPhone 5 image was scaled down by a higher factor than the iPhone 4 image was so that they’d be the same size when shown side-by-side

iphone 4 and 5 side-by-side

Panoramas are pretty cool too. The process is seamless and done with one button press. You don’t have to overlap shots or take multiple pictures like some other apps. You just pan with the camera and the iPhone does it for you. You have to try it out to see how cool it is.

I realize scaling this 10790-wide image down to 620 isn’t going to do it justice. That, and you don’t know what my front yard ”really” looks like. The front door was to my extreme left and my car was to my extreme right. I just pointed the iPhone at the front and then panned from left to right in a 180° arc and it fit it all in.

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I threw together a quick 3D model so you get the idea of the “spacial dynamics”.

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Low light shots have definitely improved.

iPhone 4

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iPhone 5

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It’s still a little grainy, but there’s a lot more detail.

low light detail

Here’s a shot without any lights except for that coming from my 2 monitors.

iPhone 4

no light ipohne 4

iPhone 5

It’s very grainy, but it’s still better than the iPhone 4.

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There’s no shortage of iOS 6 reviews online, so I’m not going to go into all the nitty-gritty details. Just let it be known, if you’re contract is up, you need to go buy an iPhone 5. It’s the one you’ve been waiting for.