It is here. The iPhone 5 will launch this Friday in the UK.
Not much to say about it that has not already been said elsewhere. Bigger screen, better processor, higher quality camera, new dock connector and iOS6 brining a bulk of new features. All pretty standard stuff apart from one thing that worries me a little for anyone looking to upgrade like myself. LTE.
What is LTE?
Long Term Evolution or 4G if spouted from your friendly neighborhood phone sales guy.
LTE actually allows the use of newly opened up frequencies for the transmission of data over the air to our mobile devices. In the UK it will use some of the spectrum that has been freed up from turning off analog TV signals, turning all those radio waves formally full of re-runs of the Simpson's and the latest dancing monkeys on X factor into lovely sweet packets of data sent to you at speeds you never thought were possible. (Those were people on X factor? really? huh.... I wonder how they managed to find their way home unaided)
Tim Cook boasted that the LTE chip in the iPhone 4 will be able to give you 100mbps, and if you look at the spec on Wikipedia it tops out at 300mbps...... WOW. Yet this should be taken with a pinch of salt, one so large that you could turn all the atlantic cod into saltfish. This is where I worry.
The only company to have this in the near future (maybe before Christmas) will be EE or Everything Everywhere. A joint networking venture spawned from the merge of Orange and T-mobile. They have yet to announce any sort of pricing model or detailed map of coverage areas yet when we look at some of the small print we find a tiny bit of data to take a look at, something I don't think the 4G marketing people and friendly neighbourhood sales guy want you to see.
4G five times faster than 3G: based on 1.5 Mbps UK average speed for 3G (source: most recent Ofcom speed survey) and 8-12 Mbps average speed for 4GEE (source: EE data).
8-12 Mbps..... That's it? All this hype for 8-12 mbps? Sure the speeds might increase in future years but now, on the iPhone 5 launch and with other devices out there with LTE you are not going to get data much faster than a 3G connection when you have a decent signal. I personally have seen my iPhone 4 get as high as 7 mbps in some areas and I use it for streaming iPlayer to my laptop via tethering. Thank you 3 for an unlimited package.
Many people are going to jump to EE just because of the 4G marketing. I dont think its worth the trouble at this time to be jumping ship from your current provider if you are happy with them. 4G is not here, it is a myth spun by marketing and sales. Given 2-3 years we will be seeing the increase, but not now, not any time soon.
You might find that jumping to EE and buying a shiny new iPhone 5 for the 4G/LTE is going to leave a bitter taste in your mouth if you believe the hype.
So remember kids, say safe out there. Do a little research and don't believe what you see in the adverts and you wont get burned.
Just so you all know, I will be buying one but I will be sticking with Three.