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5 things that surprised me about the iPhone 5

(Credit: CNET)
After a week of using the iPhone 5, I've posted my review of Apple's new phone on CNET. Which brings me to wondering: how much can a familiar-looking device that we've seemingly known about for months be capable of surprising anyone, much less a tech editor?
For me, the iPhone 5 surprised in the following ways.
The weight
Shaving about an ounce off a phone's heft doesn't sound like a lot, and I've always been skeptical of incremental reductions (20 percent lighter!), but the first thing that shocked me when I picked up the iPhone 5 was how light it was, not how thin it was. There's a reason for this: many smartphones boast large screens and sleek looks, but few weigh as little as 3.95 ounces. Most other iPhones weigh about the same, so it feels different immediately.
(Credit: CNET)
The beauty of Maps
Whenever you hear that an app is beautiful to behold, especially an app as integral to the use of the iPhone as Maps, it can't help but feel superfluous. Still, try to look at Maps on an iPhone 5 and not feel wowed. Right now, it's the best graphics demo the iPhone 5 has in its stable, and Flyovers feel intensely surreal, even if you're a Google Earth addict. Whether the graphical finesse of the new Maps and turn-by-turn navigation can make up for the lack of more-refined Google search terms, Street View, and public transit directions feels like a dicey proposition, but Maps is undeniably fun to play with.
(Credit: CNET)
The speed
In particular, I'm talking about LTE. I'm not a 4G LTE user at home, and I never thought I'd need it in a phone. Still, the wake-up moment for me was when I opted for FaceTime over LTE instead of Wi-Fi because LTE was more than twice as fast as my home broadband wireless connection, and the connection was smoother. It's a seductive draw: would I end up paying through the nose for LTE for its snappy convenience? I've used it far more than I ever thought I would, at least on the review unit. The A6 processor's harder to appreciate right off the bat, but both combined give this iPhone a serious turbo kick.
(Credit: CNET)
Lightning doesn't support Thunderbolt
For years, I've wondered when iOS devices would sync via Apple's incredibly fast Thunderbolt port. A new, smaller connector seemed like the ideal opportunity. Then came the name: Lightning. Lightning and Thunderbolt. Yet, the packed-in Lightning cable works via USB. The door could still be open for Thunderbolt (or USB 3.0) in the future. Does faster syncing matter? To me, it does.
(Credit: CNET)
Everything changed just a bit
There's no Big Thing on the iPhone 5, but, try to name a part of the phone that hasn't changed. Usually, iPhones keep at least one or two things intact from one year to the next. This year: design, screen, speakers, microphones, cameras, data connection, even connector port and earphones were toyed with. Instead of investing in one game-changer, the iPhone 5's a top-to-bottom tune-up that makes me wonder, just a little bit, what Apple could do to top it next year.

Missing all the features of Google Maps? Get them back in iOS 6 with these third-party apps

Are you already feeling the frustration of Apple’s new iOS 6 Maps app? Apple is officially no longer using the Google Maps backend from iOS 5 with today’s public release of iOS 6. With its new in-house Maps app, some were concerned users would be disappointed with the arguably downgraded experience. A few of the reasons some users are refusing to update to iOS 6: lack of Google’s Street View and public transportation features, limited traffic data, and inferior local search. Above is a breakdown of lost features by country, courtesy of, showing 51 countries will be losing access to Transit data, 24 countries losing traffic data, and 41 countries without access to Street View. Also worth noting is that 20 countries won’t have access to Apple’s shiny new turn-by-turn and 3D Flyover features. Another consideration is that many of the features of Apple’s new Maps app, such as Flyover, turn-by-turn, and Siri, will be limited to iPhone 4S/iPhone5, and third gen iPad users.
The good news is there might be a way to get back some of that functionality even if it means having to go through a couple third-party apps to do so. Here’s to hoping Google has an even better Maps experience headed to iOS in the near future, but until then the apps like the ones below might be your only option:

Street View: While it might not have been one of the most used missing features, many users will certainly be surprised when they realize they can no longer access Google’s panoramic street view imagery with their new iPhone 5. Luckily a couple free third-party apps fill the gap. We’ve been using iFindView and StreetViewer, apps that provide a clean UI with access only to Google’s Street View feature by dragging and dropping a familiar orange Pegman on a map. The free versions are ad-supported, but you only see it when entering your search and not on the actual maps or Street View mode. There are a couple other similar apps on the App Store, and these are your only option until Google comes to the rescue.

Transit: When it comes to transit and walking directions there are more than a few options. Apple’s new Maps app will even prompt you with a list of installed transit apps on your device, but selecting one will simply pull you into that app. Walking directions have not been removed, but first impressions have not been great. This might be a good opportunity to check out apps available for your local public transpiration routes, as decent ones exist for most cities. If that isn’t an option, your best bet might be to go to in Safari to visit Google’s mobile version of its transit service and install it to your homescreen as a web app…
You can also get an app currently being hosted on GitHub that allows that same web version of Google Transit to appear in the list of transit apps in the iOS 6 maps app. Entering transit directions in the iOS 6 Maps app and selecting “Google Directions” from the list of routing apps will launch Google Maps in mobile Safari.
There are also third-party apps such as Maps+ which let you browse Google’s online maps with directions, location-based alarms, and standard, satellite, hybrid, and terrain views. Perhaps a better option would be the OpenMaps app from the same developer allowing you to access the maps of OpenStreetMap and download them for offline use.
Local search: This is another area where many feel Apple’s new Maps has been downgraded without Google’s data. If iOS 6′s Yelp results aren’t cutting it for you, it might be time to install the Google+ Local app (formerly Google Places) to get access to get Google’s data for restaurants, gas stations, and businesses, and other points of interest.
Flyover: Replacing this features for users with iPhone 4, iPad 2, and below isn’t easy. Fortunately Google is already doing some work in this regard, providing some pretty impressive 3D flyover-type imagery and a Tour Guide feature in its Google Earth iOS app compatible with iOS 4.3 and up. So far Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Geneva and Rome have been added, but Google is promising more additions in the weeks to come. Hopefully this is a first look at part of the Google Maps iOS app in the works.
We fully expect Apple to continually improve its new Maps app, but it will be really interesting to see how Apple follows through and whether users flock to a yet to be released third-party alternative from Google in the months to come. As of the most recent build of iOS 6, the Maps app arguably feels incomplete compared to the Google Maps-powered app in iOS 5, despite some impressive new features in Flyover and turn-by-turn.

iFixit Tears Down the iPhone 5 As It Goes On Sale in Australia

The iPhone 5 is already on sale in Australia where, because of time zones, it's already tomorrow. iFixit has sent a technician to an Down Under Apple Store so the site can be one of the first worldwide to tear down the iPhone 5.

iFixit co-founder Luke Soules trekked halfway around the world to Melbourne, Australia to be one of the first to receive the iPhone 5. Then, he flew like the wind back to MacFixit Australia's office and started taking apart our unit. The process is now well underway.
iFixit will be updating their their tear down on the fly, and we will be updating our post as they update theirs.

The iPhone 5 continues to use the 5-point pentalobe screw that Apple began using in the iPhone 4, requiring a special screwdriver to take apart the device.

Ars Technica's Chris Foresman points out that the battery in the iPhone 5 has practically the same capacity as the battery from the iPhone 4S, going from 5.3Whr @ 3.7V to 5.45Whr @ 3.8V, or 1432 mAh to 1434 mAh.

Swiss Federal Railways Says Apple Copied Its Iconic Railway Clock

Switzerland's Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, or Swiss Federal Railway service, has accused Apple of using their iconic clock in its Clock app for iPad without permission, according to a report in the Swiss newspaper Blick [Google Translate].


Left: Apple's Clock app. Right: The iconic Swiss Railway clock. Courtesy Wikipedia

The clock, designed by Hans Hilfiker, has become an icon of both the Swiss railway and of Switzerland itself. The trademark and copyright for the clock is owned by the Swiss Federal Railways service.

According to the article:
SBB is the sole owner of the trademark and copyright of the railway clock. The railway company will now get in touch with Apple. The aim is a legal, as well as a financial solution. It is not right that one [Apple] simply copies the design.
The paper notes that Apple Switzerland declined to comment and directed reporters to Apple's corporate headquarters in the United States.

The clock's image is widely licensed, with the watchmaker Mondaine selling replicas around the world.

(Thanks for the translation, Dave!)

Update: In the interest of fairness, we have changed our links from Tanges-Anzeiger to the Swiss daily Blick, which first reported the story. The translated quote remains one provided by a MacRumors reader from a paragraph in the Tanges-Anzeiger story.

Apple Issues Statement Over Day 1 'Maps' Glitches, Maps Team Reportedly Under Lockdown to Fix Issues

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With iOS 6 released to the public for just over 24 hours now, Apple's new and highly touted Maps application has received a large amount of public criticism over missing features and glitches. Google has already submitted its own iOS Maps app to Apple, but the company has responded via a public statement issued to AllThingsD:
"Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service," said spokeswoman Trudy Miller. "We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."
Later in his piece, AllThingsD writer John Paczkowski says the developer team assigned to the Maps app is "under lockdown" working to fix the app.