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What's New in Technology for October 2012

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Technology: Do You Really Need the New iPhone5?

The question is academic for the throngs who camped outside Apple stores to get their hands on the Apple’s latest smartphone – but do you really need the new iPhone5. First of all, improvements in smartphones have been incremental rather than earth-shattering since the 2007 launch of the first iPhone, which did change the game for all cell phones. This new release is no different. With this in mind, are the new features and benefits worth spending the money to upgrade? The answer depends on how you use your smartphone. Here’s a quick review of the major enhancements and who will benefit most.

If You Feel the Need For Speed

The new iPhone5 has a speedier processor – Apple claims it is twice as fast as its predecessor. If you use your smartphone for calls, messaging and emails, this might not be an issue for you; but if you like to play games or if you think your current smartphone is too slow, then this new model might be just what you need.

If You Use Your Smartphone as a Camera

The new iPhone5 has the same 8-megapixel sensor as the iPhone4S, but Apple has made a few improvements to overall image quality. Perhaps the most significant camera improvement is its speed. Focusing is instantaneous, and you can take shots in rapid succession. The new iPhone will also allow you to take panoramic images. If you recall how the camera functioned in the earlier iPhones, you will be amazed. This one delivers like you expect a real camera to perform.  

If You Want a Bigger Screen

Perhaps the most obvious new feature is its bigger screen, expected to entice users who like to stream movies or video. The phone is the same width, but it is about 9 millimeters taller – giving the screen the right dimensions for wide-screen movies. Unfortunately, your old third-party apps will have space to spare until they are redesigned. When they are reconfigured, they will have more screen space, too. Whether the larger screen creates more video-streaming users remains to be seen. The bigger viewing area might not be sufficiently large for those who have the choice of using an iPad or competitors’ tablets.

If You Are Using an iPhone3 and Looking to Upgrade

If you have an iPhone3 or earlier model, you will probably want to bypass the iPhone4 and look at the Siri-voice assisted models. If you like to use your phone to find restaurants or other local services, the hands-free Siri feature is very useful. That being so, it makes sense to go straight to the latest model, which offers all the iPhone4S features plus more speed, a bigger screen, a better camera and a thinner, lighter design.

Downside

The phones are expensive. Even though Apple has not increased the price since its last launch, you will be signing up for a new data plan. Buying the phone is just part of your budget planning. Analysts suggest that video streaming on a cellular connection will gobble up a lot of data time, as will using the video chat application. And on that note, some industry experts think that video-streaming apps are threatening to overwhelm current network capacity. These experts have expressed concern that existing high-speed 4G networks will become overloaded if more video users jump on the bandwagon.

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