Smartphone hyped but Kiwis underwhelmed

SAM BOYER
Last updated 13:00 14/09/2012
Tim Cook and Dave Grohl
Reuters
SMART MARKETING: Apple CEO Tim Cook and The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl check out the new iPhone 5 at the gadget's unveiling in San Francisco.

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The iPhone 5 will be available in New Zealand at the end of the month, after yesterday's unveiling in the United States.

Apple announced its latest offering would land on our shores on September 28, a week after its official launch overseas.

But the device has already received a mixed reaction, with some experts and tech fans saying the new iPhone is a let- down.

The slimline iPhone 5 will sport a larger, 4-inch "retina" display, the ability to surf a high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, will be 20 per cent lighter than its previous incarnation, and will run on Apple's latest operating system, iOS 6.

The recommended retail price is $1049 for the 16-gigabyte model, $1199 for 32GB, and $1349 for 64GB.

The iPhone 4S and 4 will consequently drop in price - to $899 for the 4S and $599 for the 4 - though they, too, will get free iOS 6 upgrades from next Thursday, as will the older 3GS.

PC World editor Zara Baxter said the new phone was a step up from its predecessors, even though some of the new features would not be available here.

"The LTE [network] is a big step-up. [But] for us in New Zealand, we don't have LTE here yet and we are not looking to get that for a few more years . . . [so] the 4S is going to have the same- speed internet."

The camera was likely to be the best on any smartphone, she said.

But Colin Jackson, tech commentator at it.gen.nz, said the iPhone 5 fell way short of expectation.

"There's lots of stuff they could have put into it that they haven't, which I think is a bit of a shame. I think the only reason you'd buy this is if you were completely hooked into iPhones."

He said Apple had failed by not offering Near Field Communication - the technology in the Samsung Galaxy S III which allows your phone to scan like a Snapper card. And the new model will also require an "irritating" new charger.

Online reaction to Apple's announcement has been equally split, judging by comments on stuff.co.nz.

"RIP iPhone. There are phones way more advanced in the market," wrote Karthik. "But I'm sure the fanboys will still queue to get one."

Apple fan Steve said: "For the haters. It's lighter, faster, better. Even Apple can't change the fact that it's still a smartphone. What did you expect? Lasers?"

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- The Dominion Post

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