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The iPhone 5 is here: should you upgrade?

Bigger, faster, slimmer, lighter Apple iPhone 5 launches. A must-have device for business owners?

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 5, the sixth generation of its best-selling smartphone, and the new model is bigger, faster and more powerful than ever before. But does it tick the right boxes for the small business user, and should you be looking to upgrade? Let’s take a closer look.

Such is the media frenzy that surrounds the build-up to Apple launches that even though the company had failed to even acknowledge the iPhone 5′s existence before the event, there were few surprises when it was finally revealed.

The biggest difference from a physical point of view is that the iPhone 5 boasts a 4-inch display, versus the 3.5-inch screen on its predecessors, which will make document viewing and editing significantly easier. The bump in screen size is matched by an increased screen resolution, so details should be pin-sharp.

Despite the larger display, however, the iPhone 5 is slimmer (7.6mm) and lighter (112g) than before, and the notoriously crack-prone glass backing has been replaced by an aluminium panel, which should make the new model more durable – an all-important consideration for the business user.

However, the biggest improvement the iPhone 5 brings to the table is 4G LTE support. With the UK finally about to enter the ultrafast networking era thanks to EE’s newly announced 4G service, the iPhone 5 is coming along at just the right time to take advantage. Theoretical transfer speeds of up to 100Mbps will be a major plus for data-intensive business tasks.

Despite the bigger screen and more powerful components across the board, business users will be pleased to hear quoted battery life for the iPhone 5 – another potential deal-breaker for the business user – is actually longer than offered by its predecessor: eight hours talktime over 3G, or the same in data use over LTE.

The iPhone 5 is clearly a better device across the board than the iPhone 4S – even if in many cases it’s only a slight improvement – but there’s no question that the biggest downside is price. The cheapest variant, with 16GB of on-board storage, will set you back £529 when it officially goes on sale on September 21, an increase of £30 over the current entry point.

That’s a tough pill to swallow considering the iPhone isn’t cheap as it is, and the final decision will come down to just how important the extra screen size and 4G LTE are to your business.

If you can live without them, your better bet could in fact be the iPhone 4S, which has already seen a price drop now that the new model is here, and could well become even cheaper in the months to come.

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