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iPhone 5 Review

Apple`s annual update of its class leading smartphone range is always subject to endless prior speculation and rumours. The result of this is that many people already know exactly what to expect from the new iPhone before it has even been officially announced, despite the fact that Apple is famously secretive about its products.

The iPhone 5 is the latest handset to hit shelves and it actually features an impressive array of capabilities that are easy to see as suitable updates for this long running range. But does it do enough to distinguish itself, not only from its predecessors but also from the rest of the market?

The most important difference between last year`s iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 is that Apple has finally made the display bigger than the traditional 3.5 inches. You get a four inch touchscreen display on the iPhone 5, with a native resolution of 640×1136 that allows it to match the pixel density of the outgoing 3.5 inch retina display while giving you more area overall.

The main upshot of the bigger display is that the phone now has a native widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, resulting in better playback of video content and an extra row of icons on the homescreen.

A secondary effect is that the phone is actually longer than its predecessors, although Apple has managed to make it 20 per cent lighter and 18 per cent thinner, so it feels good in the hand and will take up less space in your pocket.

Power is important for modern smartphones, so Apple has endowed the iPhone 5 with a dual core A6 chip which you will not find in any of its other devices. While the iPhone 4S also had a processor with two physical cores, Apple boasts that the iPhone 5 has twice the number crunching power and double the graphical grunt of its precursor, which is something that is borne out by the complex apps which have been used to demonstrate its capabilities.

Customers can choose between three distinct iPhone 5 models, offering 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of non-expandable storage space onboard. While the physical styling of the handset is similar to that of the iPhone 4 and 4S, it does have a two tone back panel rather than the all-glass design which has been present since 2010.

iOS 6 is preinstalled on the iPhone 5 and although this software is also compatible with older models right back to the 3GS, it is on this new device that it gets to really stretch its legs.

Siri, the voice controlled personal assistant software, has been significantly tweaked this time around, letting owners use their voices to control various aspects of the phone with greater accuracy than ever before.

Apple has also added its own mapping app to replace that offered by Google in the past. There has been some criticism for this service, but future updates will remedy any issues.

The iPhone 5 remains a top tier smartphone which has already sold millions of units in the first few weeks since it went on sale. While there are cheap phones that can perform the same functions, none of them have the same credibility.

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The Apple iPad is a decent gaming device and with each new generation it is getting more powerful and capable.

However, it is still not able to compete with home consoles or PCs when it comes to the quality of the titles that is on offer, not only because of its hardware limitations but also because developers simply are not bothering to create compelling content for the non-hardcore market.

You will be able to find tens of thousands of casual iPad games which will keep you entertained for five minute bursts, but because people are used to paying a few pence for games via the App Store, not the large amounts that are required to support big budget productions, it is somewhat lacking in this area.

Cloud gaming service OnLive had promised to step in and put an end to this drought of high quality, triple A games on the iPad by combining its streaming technology with Apple`s tablet in a match that seemed to be made in heaven.

Sadly in the nine months since the OnLive app for iPad was first announced, the company has apparently been struggling to overcome some technical issues, which has meant that cloud gaming remains a pipe dream on this tablet for the time being.

At the end of last month OnLive chief exec Charlie Jablonski explained that the company is not going to release an app for the iPad until it is truly up to scratch. It seems that Apple is actually weighing in on this decision as the two companies have been in talks during the development and there are clearly some technical issues to be resolved.

Some people have speculated that OnLive is not coming to the iPad at the moment because Apple wants to get a 30 per cent commission on any games which are bought by OnLive customers using the app when shopping from their iPad, although neither company has confirmed or denied this rumour so far.

OnLive has made its cloud-based Windows desktop app available on the iPad, which lets people turn their Apple device into a full Microsoft-style computer. This is possible because the operating system is hosted remotely on OnLive`s servers, with the results streamed to the iPad where the user can interact with them, overcoming compatibility issues.

Cloud gaming requires a lot more network bandwidth, because users will be interacting with onscreen elements that require split second timing, so any technical issues which cause lag or slow down can seriously hurt the quality of the experience.

In addition there are challenges associated with allowing people to control games designed for physical pads and buttons when the only input available is the iPad`s touchscreen.

Some of the best smartphones and tablets can be combined with a third party controller peripheral and there are options like this on the market for the iPhone and the iPad. It will be interesting to see whether OnLive`s own gamepad will be compatible with its iPad app, if indeed the latter ever sees the light of day.