New versions of Apple's products are often described as "Nothing Too Exciting," as Rebecca Greenfield did for The Atlantic Wire. Unlike the huge technological leaps from, say, the Sony PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3, each year's new iPhone and iPad release tends to be only incrementally improved over last year's. And when Apple does release all-new products, as it did with the iPad in 2010, they often resemble or take significant cues from old or existing products.
So the iPhone 5 isn't likely to change things up completely, the way that the iPad did to the netbook and laptop markets. As you might expect, though, it does shatter a few speed records.
App launching times
Android users are more likely to compare things like processor speed and the amount of memory that each smartphone has. That's partly because those are some of the only things that differentiate Android phones from each other. Even Apple couldn't resist talking about the iPhone 5's new A6 processor, however, which the company claims is "up to twice as fast" as the iPhone 4S' A5 chip at "just about everything you do." That includes graphics performance and framerate in games, but it also includes app startup times; Apple claims that apps launch "almost instantly."
So much for Apple's claims; how about the iPhone's tech specs? Techhive's Daniel Ionescu has a writeup of how it compares to today's Android models, but exact specs on the processor and memory will have to wait until someone dissects it. Apple prefers to talk about its hardware in terms of the user experience.
Wireless Internet download times
The iPhone 5 is the first iPhone model to have 4G LTE wireless Internet, which is basically the HDTV of connection speeds. It makes downloads and page views much faster, so fast that the 4G LTE iPad soon became the target of criticism for letting people burn through their monthly megabytes way too quickly.
Like with processor speed and performance, 4G is a frontier that Android "superphones" have already reached. For most of the history of 4G Android phones, however, they've had to be extremely large to accomodate the huge battery it takes to power a 4G radio, and have had poor battery life despite that. The iPhone 5 promises up to 8 hours of 4G LTE web browsing; and unlike some of its competitors, Apple tends to underestimate its devices' battery life.
The iPhone 5's Camera app features "40 percent faster photo capture," according to Apple. Given that the iPhone 4S' Camera app already launched and took pictures faster than its competitors, it's no wonder the iPhone is now the most popular camera on the Flickr photo-sharing service.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.