Huge news from Apple with the iPhone 5, iOS 6, and more. Are they worth the upgrade?

As predicted, Apple officially launched the new iPhone 5 today, and it’s slated to be the lightest, thinnest, and quite possibly the fairest iPhone of them all.

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade from your older model iPhone, or are wondering if it’s worth trading in your newish iPhone 4S, we’ve got the scoop on what’s new with the iPhone 5, why everyone is buzzing about iOS 6, and some other changes a few popular Apple gadgets we love.

iPhone 5
The most notable changes to the new iPhone 5 are in its physical features. It’s going to be 20% lighter and 18% thinner than the 4S. The new 4-inch retina display screen means way better video and movie viewing, more room for app icons, and of particular note, a 5-day calendar view and easier email use.

iPhone 5 Lightning Connector

As speculated, you’ll also notice that it has a new connector size, called “Lightning.” Not surprisingly, Apple will be selling converters for your own cords, but for now, you’ll need new cases, new chargers, and presumably, new charging docks. Also, more money, unfortunately. (It’s always frustrating when a tech upgrade means upgrading ALL your tech.)

We do like that the A6 chip means that the phone will be faster overall, which affects everything from loading apps to taking photos–a plus when you’re trying to get the best shots of your kids with their eyes actually open. And now with the addition of LTE 4G, you may even get faster speed than your WIFI.

New iPhone 5

A big new bonus for families: you can now get Facetime with iOS 6 directly through 3G. Yay! This so great when you’re away at night without a WIFI connection and dying to see the kids to tell them goodnight to their faces.

iPhone 5 panorama camera

The beloved, well-used iPhone camera has undergone a few changes too, most importantly a new low light mode (phew, finally) as well as a panorama feature for wide angle shots. And we love that you will now be able to grab a still shot while you are taking video, which is so smart for parents. No one likes to have to pick between one or the other at birthdays, plays, and soccer games.

Where, when and how much?

New iPhone 5 in white

You’ll be able to pre-order the new iPhone 5 in white or black–with coordinating aluminum backs this time around–on September 14, with September 21 delivery or in-store pick-up. The price starts at $299 like the iPhone 4S was–meaning the iPhone 4 is now free with a service contract, and the 4S drops down to $99. That’s a great deal for those of you, like my husband, who are still using the 3GS but might not want to drop the big chunk of change for the iPhone 5 just yet.

Based on what we’ve seen, if you’ve been holding out with your 3GS or 4 like me, the iPhone 5 might be worth the upgrade. But considering the price difference, you can save a whole lot trading up to a 4 or 4S. The only issue we see with that, is that because the iPhone 5 is introducing a new charger and port size, surely it will get more challenging to find accessories for the older iPhone models.

iOS 6
Along with the iPhone 5, Apple is rolling out iOS 6, which those of us with an iPad or iPhone 3GS or higher can use starting on September 19.

iPhone iOS 6

We’re looking forward to seeing if the new Apple maps, which will replace Google Maps, measure up. However they will incorporate 3D and SIRI to give you turn-by-turn directions which sounds promising.

Apple Maps for iOS 6

iCloud is going to play a big role too as you might have guessed. The new iCloud tabs will let you sync Safari bookmarks across all your devices, and the new Passbook, Apple’s virtual wallet, looks really handy. Plus SIRI is now able to do a few more things, like update your Facebook page–although we’re not sure whether to be scared or excited about that. In fact, there will be a lot more Facebook integration all around, like the ability to share links right from the web page you’re on, or share photos without leaving the camera app. About time!

iPod Nano
Along with a big iTunes update, the iPod Nano is getting a total redesign, likening back to the 5th generation.

New iPod Nano

Even though it won’t have WiFi and a web browser, it will have a bigger screen to view photos and video, as well as the ability to more clearly see your playlist. We love that it’s got built in fitness and pedometer apps, as well as Bluetooth to let you stream from your car or any other wireless enabled speakers like a Sonos system.

iPod Touch

New iPod Touch

From the looks of it, Apple is trying hard to market the newest iPod Touch to a younger tween and teen audience, with bright new colors plus a wrist strap. The new camera is a sort of hybrid of the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, and makes this a really well-rounded device for kids who want to be connected, but not that connected.

However while until recently the iPod Touch was a decent and affordable next-step for younger kids growing out of gadgets like LeapFrog Explorer and VTech Innotab, this newer version offers much more sophisticated software–and a $299 price to match.

By the way, if you’re thinking about trading up, check out a few of these companies that help you resell or recycle your old gadgets for the best price:

-Usell
-SellCell
-Recellular

 -Kristen

So tell us: Are you going to get the new iPhone 5? 

The new iPhone 5 goes on sale for pre-order on September 14!  Find all the scoop at Apple.com, of course.

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.

2 Comments

  • Reply September 12, 2012

    Kara Nutt

    Everything I just read as new and “finally” on the iphone, I have had on my droid for over a year. I just can’t seem to see the appeal of an apple product.

  • Reply September 13, 2012

    Lois H.

    Great summary – thank you for compiling. I have to say, as an owner of a 3G iphone, I can’t say I’ve seen anything that makes me want to run out and drop $300+ on a new phone anytime soon. I’ll let all those crazy people you know will be lined up at the doors next week get theirs first and wait for the hype to die down and some real user experiences to surface before making the decision to upgrade or not. I don’t see anything that makes a compelling story to switch at this point.
    Although I have to say the new colored Touch & Nano are cute, cute and would definitely appeal to my tween girls. Thank goodness they already have Touches or they’d be on their Christmas lists, I’m sure!

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