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iPhone 5: Trendy or Terrible?

Photo from Creative Commons, by Yutaka Tsutano

The iPhone 5 began as one of the hottest items of the year, with dozens of Chicagoans and thousands worldwide camping outside of Apple stores to get their first glimpse at the new phone. Since then, the phone has been an elusive commodity, with many still waiting to get phones that were paid for in advance.  Add to the demand reports of buggy software, and some fans believe Apple bit off more than they could chew with the iPhone 5.

Still, even critics claim that Apple’s newest addition to the smartphone market may be the best yet. The 5’s release not only brings new hardware to the field, but Apple launched the new iOS 6 software with the phone, similarly updating all other iterations. The iOS 6 is the newest operating system for the iPhone family, making the phones more versatile and giving some much-needed upgrades to a few older models.

According to the updates’ information page, iOS 6 includes improvements for Facetime, which allows video calling between Apple devices, and a new Maps app which will provide real-time traffic information as well as Siri (the company’s voice-command software) integration.

“I love the iPhone 5 as opposed to (the iPhone 3GS). It’s almost a night-and-day difference really,” says Ryan O’Leary, 21, a student at Loyola University Chicago from Smithton, Ill. ” I haven’t had any real issues. It took them around four hours to activate it after I registered for it to be activated in place of my old phone, but there were several million people going through the activation process at that time, so I don’t blame AT&T.”

Not all with the iPhone 5’s release has been golden, however. In the United Kingdom, many Apple users found themselves unable to use the Siri service proceeding the phone’s launch. An article with the consumer-electronics web periodical Pocket-Lint blames the issue on the thousands of new phones attempting to access Apple’s servers, likely flooding the system and limiting effectiveness. The downtime echoed through the US, though it wasn’t as severe as it was in the UK.

The new Mail application will allow the direct insertion of photographs and videos, something that Apple fans and critics have been asking for for some time. Fans of phone photography will enjoy not only the dual high-quality cameras installed on the phone (both front- and rear-facing, for the ever-popular headshots), but also for the newly improved photo support software. IOS 6 and the iPhone 5 offer better quality video support, as well as the ability to take panoramic shots by piecing several sequential pictures together for a widescreen effect.

“I was a film major at Columbia, and just the fact that the iPhone has HD capabilities is a big thing for me,” said Gregory Thornton, 24, of Chicago, one of the first in the Michigan Avenue line. Last year, during the release of the iPhone 4S, Thornton and several of his friends camped out much the same way they did this time, with several camping chairs and blankets to keep them rested. “I’m an Apple fanatic. I have a MacBook Pro, I have an iMac, but unfortunately I don’t have an iPhone at all, so that’s what I’m hoping to upgrade to this time.” Thornton said he and his friends were made offers of up to $1,000 for their spot in line.

Further complaints have been issued against the new “Maps,” application that Apple has released with the iOS 6 package. Apple’s Map app replaces the Google Maps program that had been installed on previous iterations of the iPhone. According to several articles, including one from CNN, the new Maps feature is inherently buggy, wrongly locating or straight-up deleting many locations. According to The Guardian, an improved iOS 6 compatible Google Maps app has already been submitted and is pending approval. The decision by Apple to remove Google Maps as the official directional app, however, still stands, as a bid by the computer giant to butt in on Google’s empire.

Despite the downsides, Apple fans were still excited enough to line the streets well before midnight to get a chance to purchase one of the few in-store iPhones not already claimed by a pre-paying customer.  Apple’s new phone sold out in record time and numbers, with millions of orders being placed within the first 24 hours of them being available. Apple has stated that it will be some weeks before the next batch of phones will be shipped out, in order to meet consumer demands for those who paid before the phone was officially released. Estimates from Apple are positive, with some claiming almost 50 million phones to be sold by the end of 2012.

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.