Today is a big day in the world of iPhone. First, today is the day that the new iOS 6 will be available for download. [UPDATE: It is now available as of Noon Central time.] Click here for my initial thoughts from a few months ago on why iOS 6 will be great for lawyers. Once I have installed it and have had time to kick the tires myself, I'll provide you with my follow-up thoughts and tips.
Second, we now are now seeing reviews of the new iPhone 5 from a select group of journalists who received a review unit from Apple last week. As a whole, the reviews are better than any review that I have ever seen for any previous model of the iPhone:
- Ed Baig of USA Today: "I've been testing iPhone 5 for a week and want one, too. ... People have always had lofty expectations for the iPhone 5, especially as the competition stiffens. In delivering a fast, attractive, LTE-capable and larger-screen handset, Apple has met those expectations with a gem."
- Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal / All Things D: "On balance, I still consider the iPhone the best smartphone on the market, especially with its staggering 700,000 third-party apps and a wealth of available content. ... I found the new iPhone screen much easier to hold and manipulate than its larger rivals and preferred it. In my view, Apple’s approach makes the phone far more comfortable to use, especially one-handed."
- David Pogue of The New York Times: "This iPhone is so light, tall and flat, it’s well on its way to becoming a bookmark. ...nearly every feature has been upgraded, with a focus on what counts: screen, sound, camera, speed."
- John Gruber of Daring Fireball: "I don’t know how else to convey the niceness of this thing. This iPhone 5 review unit is the single nicest object in my possession. I own things that cost and remain worth more (e.g. my car). But I own nothing this nice. It sounds hyperbolic to put it that way, but I offer this observation with no exaggeration."
- Tim Stevens of Engadget: "Two times faster? Twice the graphics performance? Better battery life? Actually, yes. The iPhone 5 over-delivers on all those promises. ...the iPhone 5 absolutely shines. Pick your benchmark and you'll find Apple's thin new weapon sitting at or near the top. ... This is without a doubt the best iPhone yet. This is a hallmark of design. This is the one you've been waiting for."
- MG Siegler of TechCrunch: "You’re going to want this phone. ... I really do believe this is the best iPhone upgrade that Apple has done yet (besting the iPhone-to-iPhone 3G jump and the iPhone 3GS-to-iPhone 4 jump). As such, it’s the best version of the iPhone yet. By far."
- Jim Dalrymple of The Loop: "That has been my takeaway from the design of the iPhone 5 — small design changes that make for big user experience improvements. It’s important to remember that while the changes on the outside may be small to the naked eye, the changes on the inside are huge. Every major component of the iPhone has been changed in one way or another."
- Scott Stein of CNet: "The more important audio improvement comes in the way of a third microphone, which aims to improve voice quality and, in particular, speakerphone quality, adding improved noise cancellation. In my tests, it was a definitive success: callers I reached via speakerphone noticed a crisper, clearer call on the iPhone 5 versus on the iPhone 4S. I didn't experience any dropped calls over my time testing in the New York area, and based on responses from callers on the other end, it looks like call quality is generally improved via better microphone tech."
- Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear: "Apple has addressed the bigger-screen debate with a solution that doesn’t undermine key usability promises, delivered LTE without destroying battery life, and wrapped it up in a design that’s both comfortably familiar and crisply revitalized."
- Harry McCracken of Time: "People who have owned non-Apple LTE phones for eons can mock the delayed arrival of the technology on the iPhone all they want; Apple didn’t wait until now out of lethargy. Instead, it bided its time until it could introduce LTE without killing the battery. (With some early Android LTE phones, you could practically watch the battery gauge dwindle away as you stared at it.)"
- Rich Jaroslovky of Bloomberg: "But if [LTE is] in your area, you’ll find the iPhone 5 roaringly fast -- far zippier than any previous iPhone at downloading Web pages, uploading photos, installing apps and doing pretty much anything that requires an Internet connection. My AT&T test unit routinely registered download speeds 5 to 20 times faster than a 4S running over the slower network that AT&T confusingly labels '4G.'"
- Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint (UK): "It's the same iPhone, but it's completely different. That's the main takeaway point for the iPhone 5's design. It's something you can't really appreciate until you get up close and personal with the new phone, but when you do, wow, you'll really notice that difference. ... This really is product design at its finest."
- Shane Richmond of The Telegraph (UK): "The iPhone 5 is a marvellous piece of design, arguably the most beautiful object Apple has ever produced."
- Luke Peters of T3 (UK): "The main benefit is that you can just see more. Web pages are longer, movies are wider, though many we found from iTunes and YouTube still have to be stretched or cropped to fill the screen, the photo viewing area is bigger (just) and Apple’s own, optimised apps make good use of the extra space."
- Peter Nowak of CBC (Canada): "The weight difference is very pronounced. At 112 grams, it’s 20 per cent lighter than the 4S, but when holding both at the same time, it’s easy to think the difference is even greater. The iPhone 5 is amazingly light and slightly thinner, too, mainly because its main shell is now aluminum, rather than a big chunk of glass."
If you take the time to read those reviews, you'll see that Luke Peters of T3 was the only one who was nonplussed. Everyone else was extremely impressed with the iPhone 5.
For those of us who preordered an iPhone 5, we'll be able to draw our own conclusions in around 48 hours.