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8 ways new iPhone 5 hardware will enhance iOS apps

James A. Martin | Sept. 14, 2012
iPhone 5 users can look forward to more app-interface elements, less flicking to find apps and "console-quality" gaming on iOS, according to Apple.

The worst-kept secret of 2012, the iPhone 5, is finally out of the bag. With its 4-inch Retina display, A6 processor, improved camera and other goodies, the new iPhone is sure to be another Apple blockbuster.

But what will the new hardware mean to iPhone 5 owners? Here are a few things to expect.

A Lot of Black Borders

The iPhone 5's 4-inch display is a bump up from existing iPhone (and iPod touch) 3.5-inch screens, and apps will need to be revised to take full advantage of the larger display.

Apple's native apps, as well as its iWork and iLife apps, have been optimized to take advantage of the iPhone 5's bigger screen real estate. Apps that haven't been revised-which will be the vast majority, at least initially-will be surrounded by black borders on the iPhone 5's display, not unlike a letterboxed, widescreen movie on your TV.

iPhone Apps that Look a Bit Like iPad Apps

Apps optimized for 4-inch screens can display more interface elements, graphics and other information than 3.5-inch-native apps. For instance, the iOS Calendar app in landscape on an iPhone 5 displays five days instead of just a bit more than the three days you see on current iPhones. On an iPad, the Calendar app shows all seven days in landscape mode.

At the iPhone 5 unveiling, Apple showcased new versions of the CNN and OpenTable iPhone apps. The blog Marketing Land posted some before-and-after pics of OpenTable. The pictures show that when using the "Find a Table" feature, OpenTable on the iPhone 5 displays specific restaurant photos to choose from-something the 3.5-version app doesn't do-as well as the location, date and time, and party-size search fields, which are all you see in the current iPhone version of OpenTable.

Less Flicking Around to Find Apps

Thanks to the larger display, the iPhone 5 will have a fifth row of app icons on home screens. iPhone 5 users will be able to put more of their must-have apps on the home screen without having to put them into folders-for some reason, I truly dislike using folders on the iPhone.

Faster Web Browsing and App Launching

At the iPhone 5 event, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, said the iPhone 5's new A6 chip will help Web pages load twice as fast. No doubt the iPhone 5's 4G/LTE radio will speed up Web surfing, too.

Schiller said everything will be twice as fast as before on an iPhone 5, including launching apps. That's a good thing. When I need an iOS flashlight app to help me find the keys I dropped in a movie theater, I don't want to waste time.  


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