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Make It Cheaper telecoms expert, Mash, reviews the iPhone 5

Is the new, improved iPhone from Apple a must for business use?

Everybody is talking about the new iPhone 5 and many business owners want to find out more about how it can help them in their work. In this post, we ask our telecommunications expert, Mash, some essential questions about the latest version of Apple's iconic smartphone.

What do you think about the recently launched iPhone 5?

In a sense the launch was underwhelming because there was no major change that was market disrupting. What I mean by that is there is no upgrade or addition to the phone that you'd call a game changer - so the competition is not rushing to replicate a new piece of technology. The most important difference is the 4G compatibility, which will lead to much faster internet and email access.

In terms of aesthetics, nobody comes close to Apple for putting together devices that look so slick, cool and simple. The iPhone 5 takes this to another level. It has a larger screen, is slimmer in size, is incredibly light, and like all Apple products, it is very easy to use. The main disappointment is the maps service, which has replaced the previously built-in Google maps.

Why do you think businesses should consider buying smartphones?

With a smartphone a small business can access the internet and e-mails, and use a wide range of apps that will help them operate more efficiently - especially for banking and accounting. There are also apps that enable businesses to take card payments, which is great if you take payments from customers while on the move.

From talking to business owners, what are the most important factors that they look for when buying smartphones?

A lot of that depends on the type of business. If it is a company that needs to show products or different purchase options to customers then they need a good camera. Many business owners also enquire about data security, call quality, and whether they will be able to record calls and videos.

Our business mobile team often gets questions about internet speed but that usually depends on the smartphone processor and network capability. The iPhone 5 has a faster processor and is the only phone on the smartphone market that can operate on a 4G network, which is due to be launched soon. One of the key reasons why business owners want smartphones is so they're able to access their emails on the go and synchronise their work and personal email and calendars. Without this, a smartphone wouldn't be as attractive a proposition.

On iPhone 5, the voice command system Siri has improved. It is more refined and is able to understand a lot more, which again, will save users a lot of time. The camera is still at 8MP - but the performance and functionality of the camera has improved on the iPhone 4S.

What about the maps? Are iPhone 5 users going to get lost?

Navigation is a key selling point for smartphones and there has been a lot of buzz in the media and on the internet about how the Apple iOS 6 Maps on the iPhone 5 were launched prematurely. In fact, Apple even apologised to customers for this. The level of details and clarity isn't as high as it was (and still is) on Google Maps and some of the places and names are completely wrong. Apple is aware of the problem and of course, they will look to fix the issues and bugs quickly. Plans are in place to upgrade the service to be on par with market leader Google Maps and even to include voice navigation, which is a tough ask. Meanwhile, Google is trying to release an app for iPhone 5 that customers can download.

The bottom line is this: if you own a business that heavily relies on the use of the maps, I wouldn't recommend an iPhone 5 at the moment. But that will change in the coming months.

Until that issue is resolved, can customers have iOS 5 instead of iOS 6 on their iPhone 5?

No, unfortunately not.

What kind of insurance do companies need for their iPhone 5?

The phone itself comes with a one-year manufacturer's guarantee, but you can get extra insurance on top of that through us and our partners at Supercover Insurance.

Should businesses go with iPhone 5 or a cheaper iPhone 4S? What determines which option should they go with?

Whether the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 is the better option depends on the needs of the business. It is important to stress that the iPhone 4S is still one of the leading phones in the market that has much of the functionality of an iPhone 5. Ultimately, in deciding which one to choose, two things are important to consider: your exact requirements and your budget.

For the most part, do companies use Blackberries for business communications?

More and more companies (and individuals) are using Samsung handsets. This is because Samsung has the Android operating system, which is the most popular operating system in the smartphone market, offering more flexibility and choice for the user.

So which is better, the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3?

Again, very much depends on the user and their requirements. Many believe the S3 to be the better of the two as it has a very fast processor, allows Flash and Adobe use, has more integrated features and flexibility - and of course it has Google maps. The iPhone 5 is smaller, thinner, and looks a lot cooler. You can sync it with your iPad, access iTunes and it has a built in iPod as well. I'm sure those that already have an iPhone will probably continue to upgrade to newer versions. The same applies to Android and new versions of Samsung smartphones.

Apple and Samsung are fighting over potential customers that are new to the smartphone market and Samsung probably has the edge there, especially as the price of their handsets and the tariffs the networks offer for their phones are a lot more competitive when compared to Apple and iPhone.

Is there anything else you would like to tell small businesses?

It is important to keep in mind that it is easy to get swept away by the marketing machine of Apple, but there are other cost-effective solutions for businesses that are looking to buy smartphones. Smartphones have now become an essential tool for all businesses and business owners. The fact that we give free and impartial advice and search the entire mobile market for our customers means that we can go through all the options available. Just give us a call on #phonenumber# and ask for one of our mobile experts.

Image credit: Yutaka Tsutano