The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, longer, brighter, and faster than ever before. But is it louder? iPhones have always sounded good through headsets, and they can even pump out decent sound through Bluetooth these days. Yet year after year, iPhone after iPhone, little or no attention seems to get paid to the on-board speakers. While others experiment with everything from the solid Dolby to the silly Beats by Dre, the company that created the iPod + iTunes, has traditionally not devoted the Keynote-time to killer audio that they have killer camera optics. This year, however, my hopes were raised. Apple's iPhone 5 event did indeed feature an entire segment on speakers --- but only for the new EarPods. What about the on-board speakers?
As it turns out, and as you can hear -- and see -- there have been some minor improvement to sound levels on the iPhone 5's on-board speakers as well. That said, and while there's only so much you can do with a device as small as the iPhone, there's no reason Apple shouldn't be the absolute best-in-class device when it comes to all forms of audio. There's no reason they shouldn't be as innovative and industry-leading with sound as they are with optics, with speakers as they are headsets. Speaker quality matters, for everything from taking a hands-free or conference call, to using accessibility features like VoiceOver.
Next year I'd like to see Apple blow me away with not only how great the iPhone 5s camera is, or EarPods are, but how great the speakers are.
Until then, I'll have to stick to my headsets and Bluetooth, and suffer the tiny, tinny speakers for another year...