Those who preordered the new iPhone 5 while stocks were still available last Friday or who are lucky enough to get a new iPhone this Friday after waiting in what are sure to be long lines at stores will get their shiny new smartphone. They'll get its deeper screen and extra row of app icons, the addition of 5GHz Wi-Fi support, LTE cellular support (available in an increasing number of Verizon and AT&T cities, but not yet an option in nearly all Sprint cities), a microphone and internal speaker both said to be better, a faster processor, a thinner and lighter case, and some bragging rights.
But after the excitement wears off, iPhone 5 owners may notice some capabilities are gone or changed in unexpected ways.
Everyone knows that the iPhone 5 (like the fifth-generation iPod Touch also being released on Friday) uses a new 8-pin connector called Lightning instead of Apple's longtime 30-pin dock connector. Apple will sell a bulky adapter for $29 and an adapter cable for $39.
First off, I have to say I'm shocked that a Lightning-to-dock adapter isn't included with the new iPhone or iPod Touch at no charge. After all, Apple did include the $10 power adapters with its new MacBooks and its Thunderbolt Displays to let old chargers connect to the new MacBooks' thinner power plugs.
Furthermore, that adapter does not support video-out, so if you have a VGA or HDMI cable now, you won't be able to use it. In other words, forget about connecting your iPhone 5 to a projector or TV monitor to deliver presentations.
You can still use wireless AirPlay streaming, but only if the projector is connected to an Apple TV, which supports HDMI natively and for which Kanex makes the ATV Pro VGA adapter. Apple TVs are rarely available at conferences for delivering presentations; while you may have one at home and perhaps in your corporate conference rooms, you likely won't have one when making presentations on the road or at trade shows.
Apple says it is working on video-capable Lightning cables and adapters, and it expects to sell them in a "few months." If you present from your iPhone, you might hold off on upgrading to an iPhone 5 until it does. In the meantime, you may want to present from your iPad instead.
The new Lightning connector's adapters also don't work with the iPod Out feature in previous iPhones that some stereos rely on to control the Music app for audio playback. You may find your home or car stereo no longer works with the iPhone 5 as it did with earlier models.
You can also expect dock peripherals of all sorts -- from charging stands to portable stereos, from car audio systems to camera and recording gear -- to not work with the adapter. There's no easy way to know until you try. All I can suggest is that you get a fifth-generation iPod Touch and a Lightning adapter and see how that works first; return them if they don't and skip the iPhone 5 until native peripherals are available. For the likes of a car stereo, that may be never, so either switch to Bluetooth audio streaming or stick with an iPhone 4S or earlier iPhone.