Now that the smoke has cleared from yesterday’s Apple conference it’s time to take a closer look at the iPhone 5. There were no shocking big surprises or technologies that hadn’t leaked before the conference. In general the new iPhone is thinner, faster and it sports a bigger screen. How will it impact the music producers, composers and sound designers that have incorporated iOS in their studio or live setup? Let’s take a look at the features that may or may not change the way you’re using your iPhone for music production right now.
The new A6 chip should make the new iPhone 2X faster than the A5 chip that’s currently in the 4S. That means you could expand your multitasking setup without your audio quality artifacting out on you as fast as it does now. With the new chip and the 1GB RAM (as opposed to the 512MB in the 4S) iOS developers can take their iInstruments and other music apps up another notch.
Increased Screen Size
For the first time in iPhone history Apple abandons their 3.5in screen size and puts bigger screen real estate on the iPhone 5. While the bigger fingered among us might still have problems hitting the right keys and buttons on the iPhone screen, developers can update their apps to show an additional row of knobs, increase the fader length for more precise editing and more, without the iPhone becoming a bulky machine to hold.
LTE & Dual-band 802.11n WiFi
The amount of GB you can store on your iPhone is getting less important by the day with the improved wireless technologies introduced on the iPhone 5. LTE, which is limited to select markets and carriers at launch, and the Dual-band 802.11n WiFi connection should make it possible to bring more high-quality streaming audio into your iPhone, whether at home or on the go. Also moving audio from and to Dropbox or iCloud should be a lot faster this time around, maybe you should think of upgrading that storage plan of yours.
The iPhone 5 has three microphones. The familiar one at the bottom, but now 2 extra mics at the top too (front and back). Combined with the special noise reduction technology it should make your conversations clearer, but let’s not forget all of the apps that use your mic input for capturing audio. While maybe not up to par with external peripherals such as the Apogee MiC you can expect a better quality sound coming in this time.
Okay let me make clear that if you’re serious about using a mobile device for creating audio and you’re using stock iPhone earphones to play it all back you’re doing it wrong. That might be the audiophile speaking in me, but I was never a big fan of the stock earphones that came with my iPhones in the past. It’s good to see that Apple is still paying attention to the fit and audio quality of their earphones and while the new EarPods have already been reported to not fit every ear canal possible, the sound does seem to have improved a lot over Apple’s last try. For $29 it might even be the best choice available right now.
The iPhone 5 will probably not be a revolution hardware-wise. I am sure however, that I will spend more time fiddling with audio on it than I did with my current iPhone. Developers have more power to mature their iOS apps with it and who knows what great new ideas we’ll see in this life cycle.