This is without a doubt the most beautiful piece of hardware I've ever laid my hands and eyes on. There's no question about it. I won't be reviewing this thing, but can point you to my favorite reviews by Gruber, Josh Topolsky of The Verge. If you're not into reading lengthy reviews, just watch The Verge's exceptional video review. All their videos are well put together and simply beautiful. And if you really don't have any attention span, watch Josh talk about it on Jimmy Fallon this week, it's pretty hilarious. And last but not least, if podcasts are your thing, look no further than John Gruber discussing this and iOS 6 with MG Siegler. In fact, MG sums up my thoughts regarding the talk of people being bored with the new iPhone very well in his excellent review.
Those worried about the talk of “disappointment” surrounding the iPhone 5, I suggest you simply go to an Apple Store starting on Friday and try it for yourself. My guess is you’ll immediately recognize just how ridiculous all that bluster actually is. The iPhone 5 is the culmination of Apple doing what Apple does best. This is the smartphone nearly perfected.
Now, enough with what these professional tech news guys think about the review units they've had since the announcement, I've had a whole 10 hours with it.
The screen is incredible and the new size is a welcome update
The blacks are blacker (I have a black one, it's incredibly hard to differentiate black areas of the screen from the actual black hardware), the colors are richer and more vibrant, and the inclusion of an extra row of icons is very helpful. The transition to the new screen size was seamless for me, although I imagine landscape typers will take some getting used to with the wider keyboard.
I would like to see Apple add an additional row of icons in each folder now. Seems like an oversite, since it certainly would fit just fine. UPDATE: There are indeed 5 rows available, thanks Eric for pointing that out!
EVERYTHING IS SO FREAKIN' FAST
In Nashua, New Hampshire, LTE beat out my WiFi with 20Mbps down, 800Mbps up. See the screen grab - 'nuff said. These speeds are incredible - we'll see how they hold up as more and more devices are added to the network.
It's important to note that the speed at which web pages render on your phone is also heavily influenced by how fast the phone is. Getting the bits there is one thing, but most modern web pages put a significant burdon on the browser to render the page once the data is there. That said, you really get a double bump up in performance here: Really fast data and a 2X-ish faster processor.
It disappears into your pocket
Even though when you look at the front of it you see a larger phone, it's nearly 20% lighter and smaller in volume. It was immediately apparent just how less noticeable it was in the pocket of my jeans. Since it's thinner, it makes it easier to slip right into your hipster skinny jeans, yet it's just a smidge taller so it won't be sticking out. So who cares that it's lighter? Welp, the weight and thinness of this device makes it so much more pocketable.
New headphone jack position is baller
You can make arguments either way for where the headphone jack should be, but I found it extremely comfortable to type on both one and two handed with headphones plugged in. The phone seems more balanced in hand with the cable hanging out the bottom rather than the top.
A less chintzy feeling home button
I've had to replace my home button before, which was no easy task, so it's good to hear that the new home button is beefier. It's immediately evident that it's a new, sturdier design when you press it. It just feels beefy.
Lastly, please don't hide this beautiful piece of hardware in a case
I really really don't like cases, and like I said, this is the most beautiful piece of hardware I've ever experienced. Whenever I yell at someone for hiding their phone in a case (especially those atrocious OtterBoxes), it's always because they're worried it'll get al dinged up, or they'll drop it and shatter the thing. When, I ask, will you be admiring your non-dinged up phone then? Never. All you'll be admiring is this stupid case. This is like keeping plastic over furniture - it keeps it from getting dirty but you never get to use it the way you intend to. Now, I did learn that for many people, a case is necessary because they're pretty careless with the >$600 glass covered object that they run their life from. But that was a 4 and 4S problem - not nearly as big a deal with iPhone 5 since the back has been replaced with aluminum. Check out this video to see a guy that most definitely should never be put in front of a camera drop this thing over and over again.
Go get it, dummy.