The New iPhone: Should iGet it?

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Rob Smith, Multimedia Editor/Staff Writer

The release of a new iPhone has become a holiday in the tech community since 2007. Devoted Apple fans and gadget junkies alike camp out in line in front of Apple stores and online retailer’s sites crash under the influx of pre-orders.

But like many Apple products, the price tag can be daunting, and customers must ask themselves if the upgrade is worth it.

The iPhone 5, due to fly off the shelves September 21, is the first major update to the iconic device since 2010, not including its intermittent “S” model refresh. The fifth version features a half-inch boost in screen size to four inches.

However, the increase in screen real estate is for height only, with the width remaining the same as the previous model.

In regards to speed, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the A6 chip in the iPhone 5 is “twice as fast” as the previous model, not giving exact figures. Despite the increase in screen size, the new model is both significantly thinner and lighter, weighing in at 25 grams lighter and .30 inches thick. Apple has also changed the docking connector on the new phone to a smaller port, meaning that any iHome or similar accessory for the previous models will not work with the new iPhone without an adapter that must be purchased separately.

The most significant update, however, is the inclusion of 4G LTE data capability. That long convoluted name simply boils down to dramatically faster mobile Internet speeds. Sounds great right?

Well unless your carrier is Verizon Wireless, you may not be able to take advantage of the 4G capabilities. The two other major carriers of the iPhone, AT&T and Sprint, are still in the process of rolling out their 4G networks, and the faster speeds are still not available in the Scranton Area from those carriers.

So the question remains, is the iPhone 5 worth the upgrade? Well, it depends. If you’re in a 4G LTE accessible area, or you are soon to be, then yes, the faster download speeds are worth it.

However, if you’re not, that is more of a dilemma. If you just want the notoriety of having an iPhone, the 4S model is seeing a price drop and despite its age, it is still an excellent device. There are also several comparable phones either out or soon to be released, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Nokia Lumia 920, both of which possess Near Field Communication technology, though you would have a hard time finding a way to use it.