Last month, Apple released the sixth iPhone which garnered millions of preorders and tons of media attention. Although there’s been a storm of attention, Apple didn’t really make a lot of changes to the iPhone itself, except in a couple of ways that users don’t really like. I agree with one, the weakening of an already weak Maps app. I disagree with the other one that users often complain about – the change from a 30-pin dock connector to the new 9-pin Lightning connector.

iPhone 5 Screen Size

The Apple iPhone 5 got a beautiful redesign with a taller 4-inch screen and a chassis that looks like something out of a fine jewelry store. I bought the white iPhone 5 and it looks elegant.

I’m a fan of the large Android screens that often come in sizes from 4.5-inches up to 5.5-inches for the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 coming out soon. I also own a Samsung Galaxy S III which sports and 4.8-inch screen. The screen on the iPhone measures the same width putting all of the new screen real estate at the top and bottom of the screen as I hold it in portrait. This has the added effect of giving me a 16×9 widescreen format like I get with my big HDTV set. Video watchers will love the change. I wish they added to the width and the height.

New 9-Pin Connector

The new 9-pin Lightning cable fits perfect and slides in and out easily, which I can’t say about Apple’s old connector. It’s going to cost me. I have to buy adapters or replace my old accessories, but I like the change.

Faster Processor

Under the hood Apple revved the engine with a faster processor, more memory and high-speed LTE data connections. I can’t enjoy that latter since I don’t live in a region with AT&T LTE coverage, but I look forward to the wireless company expanding to my neighborhood. I tested it in nearby Charlotte and its fast.

iOS 6

The last big change comes with the new version of Apple’s operating system – iOS 6. The user gets a new app called Passbook which serves like a digital wallet but with limited support from third-parties. I can get my plane tickets or baseball tickets send directly to the app. I can also store my shopping loyalty cards and let the cashier scan the phone screen, something I tried at my local Best Buy this weekend. It thinned my wallet a bit and I like it.

Maps

I’m not as pleased with another new app. Apple booted the Google Maps data in favor of its own in-house produced Maps for their app. What a debacle that became. Apple’s maps are so riddled with errors that CEO Steve Cook issued a public apology and added a new section to the App Store showcasing alternative map apps.

If you like Siri, the voice recognition tool that lets users make calls, send text messages, post to Twitter, set appointments and reminders, or launch apps, then you’ll love the updated version in iOS 6. It’s more useful and more reliable, a big plus since Siri on the iPhone 4S worked less than half the time for me.

iPhone for Ministry

The iPhone works great for ministry. The iCloud syncing of contacts, appointments and reminders keeping busy believers on-time and in contact with friends, church members and colleagues. The plethora of apps one can use for ministry makes iOS a top pick for smart phones and tablets. In a recent post here I told readers that Android came of age recently, but iOS is still the standard even though Android competes well.

The Bible apps work great and I can read more per page thanks to the taller screen. Viewing video and pictures works well.

One issue that churches may face is the change in the connector. If you hook your phone up to a projector or TV set for presentations or use an audio interface that worked with the old 30-pin connector, upgrade with caution. Your ministry will need to replace them or buy adapters that are hard to get right now. I ordered an adapter the same day I ordered the new iPhone. UPS delivered my phone the first day it became available but the adapter still shows a future deliver day on some day in October without a specific date.

Final Notes

The Apple iPhone 5 is a great smartphone. For those who love the iOS ecosystem that can upgrade for the discounted cost, I’d say jump. Get an order in as soon as possible. However, don’t pay an off-contract price of hundreds of dollars. It’s not enough of an improvement over the iPhone 4 or 4S to warrant the cost.

Android users who enjoy their phone and operating system should stay put. There’s not enough here to make one want to switch. I own the two best phones available, the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III. If you forced me to give one up, I’d hand over my iPhone, quite reluctantly, and keep the Samsung.