Reviews

A macro look at the iPhone 5 in micro-fine detail

We've already shown you just how stunning the new design looks in our iPhone 5 gallery but we also want to go in for a much closer look at all the little details. Apple is manufacturing the iPhone 5 using some incredibly advanced equipment and tolerances measured in microns. The backing is anodized 6000 series aluminum with ceramic or pigmented glass inlays. The iSight camera is covered by sapphire crystal and the beveled edges are cut by crystalline diamond. It's been said the iPhone 5 is closer in kind to a luxury time piece than what's traditionally passed for consumer electronics.

How much of that is just marketing and ad copy, and how much is reality undistorted? If the details matter that much to Apple, how well did they execute on those details? Let's take a really close look...

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iPhone 5 photo gallery

The iPhone 5 isn't just one of the most advanced pieces of consumer electronics ever made, Apple has taken the design and manufacturing itself well beyond the next level. Measured now in microns, the precision is as impressive as it is ephemeral -- easily seen in the fit and finish of every part up close, but disappearing instantly when you start using it, when it just becomes the phone, internet communicator, or widescreen iPod in your hand.

So lets take a moment to appreciate the iPhone 5 as object, as a piece of industrial design, as the craftsman of Apple and Jonathan Ive and Bob Mansfield and their teams, as a thing of beauty.

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iOS 6 review

iOS 6 is a software update divided against itself. Apple claims over 200 new user-facing features, which is the same if not more than previous versions of iOS. Many of these are good and solid, reducing the friction and increasing the functionality of iOS, and delightfully so. But a lot of it them are also about Apple and the future of their platform.

In that regard, iOS 6 is nowhere near as audacious as iOS 2, which brought the App Store, or iOS 5, which cut the iTunes cord, took us to the iCloud, and brought Siri along for the ride. It doesn't remove user and developer pain points the way iOS 3 did with cut/copy/paste or iOS 4 did with multitasking. iOS 6 is more of a soft-reset and a way to set the stage for iterations to come. It strips Google almost completely out of iOS and introduces an all-new Maps app and increased Siri intermediation. It introduces Passbook, which isn't a digital wallet, but does provide a single repository for tickets and balances, and starts to make mobile transactions convenient and comfortable. It abstracts and outsources sharing with new Facebook and enhanced Twitter integration, so Apple no longer has to worry about creating awkward new networks of their own. And it increases support for China, which has become a hugely important market for Apple.

But if iOS 6 is about Apple and the future, what does that mean for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users today? Is there still enough here, individually and in sum, to make it a compelling and competitive update?

Let's find out...

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Countdown to an exciting event with Can't Wait for iPhone and iPad

Counting down to an important or exciting date like Christmas, you baby's due date, or the iPhone 5 launch? Then Can't Wait is for you! Can't Wait is an iPhone and iPad app that has a single purpose -- to keep track of the number of days until or since important dates in your life.

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Zooka Bluetooth Wireless Speaker review

Zooka is a wireless Bluetooth speaker system made by Carbon Audio for the iPad but usable with the iPhone, iPod touch, and any other BT enabled phone, tablet, computer, or gadget you might wish. It began as a Kickstarter project but can now be found in the Apple Store, which is a good indicator of the quality of their design, manufacturing, and general all-around cleverness.

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iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3: Which phone should you get?

Android is the most popular smartphone platform on the planet, Samsung is the most popular Android manufacturer, and the Galaxy S3 is almost certainly going to be the most popular Android phone this year. And the iPhone 5 is going to be one of the most popular phones, period. So, that means anyone looking to buy a new phone for the next year will likely end up trying to decide between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple's iPhone 5. The good news is, both are phenomenal devices. The bad news is, that makes the choice especially tough. Our Mobile Nations sibling site, Android Central has already given you their take. Here's mine.

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Hands-on lightning review of Apple's new EarPods

Let's face it -- in-box earbuds have never been anything to write home about. Frankly, they usually suck. Even for as iconic as Apple's white earbuds have become since the release of the first iPod -- they still sucked. They were uncomfortable. They didn't sound good. Even the slightly better Apple In-Ear Headphones, with their rubberized tips, weren't a whole lot better.

That all changes today.

We could rave all day over the improvements Apple's made to your too-often overlooked ear holes. But, really, selling you on these $29 wonders won't take nearly that long.

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Apple iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X vs. BlackBerry 10 vs. Nokia Lumia 920: Spec Shootout!

Here it is, the brand new Apple iPhone 5 vs. the Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. the HTC One X vs. the BlacBerry 10 L-series vs. the Nokia Lumia 920.

So what do you think, in the spec battle -- never mind experience, interface, ecosystem, content, and supporting services right now! -- which device(s) are at the top right now? Which one would you rather take home?

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YouTube for iPhone review

Apple recently removed the official built-in YouTube app from iOS 6 and just as we expected, Google has fired back by releasing their own version of YouTube for iPhone into the App Store -- and it's so much better than the original version provided by Apple.

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Learn acronyms, abbreviations and codes with Acro-Dict for iPhone

A few weeks ago, I was in Target and overheard a conversation between a teenage girl and her mom in which the daughter used the acronym "FTW" and her mother was completely confused. The daughter was annoyed at having to teach her mom its meaning yet again. Too bad the mother didn't have Acro-Dict installed on her iPhone, as this would've probably never happened. Acro-Dict is an iPhone app that lets you look up the meanings of acronyms, abbreviations and codes (AAC for short) and mark ones you may need to frequently look up (like those used by your teenager) as favorites.

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