Every time Apple announces a new iPhone, local vendors - Tigo Rwanda, Elite Digital, FoneXpress and MicroCity - scramble to bring the new gadget to the Rwandan market as soon as possibly they can. "The nano-SIM is already in all our service centers and the iPhone 5 are sitting on a plane watching a nice film on their way to Rwanda ," Tigo confirmed via Twitter.
The nano-SIM is a new type of SIM card that's 40% smaller, and a little bit thinner, than the micro-SIM card found in iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad as well as Samsung Galaxy S3. Hopefully, as they've always done, even though they don't sell the iPhone, MTN Rwanda will also undoubtedly offer the nano-SIM to their subscribers.
Last year the iPhone 4S disappointed a lot of people because it looked the same (as the iPhone 4) even though it had a lot of improvements inside. What people were waiting for is what was announced on Sept 12 - the iPhone 5 - because people were looking for 4G LTE (the kind of mobile broadband that isn't yet in Rwanda; the fastest we have is 3.75G) and a larger screen along with another redesign on their iPhones.
Before you get the iPhone 5 in your hands, let's compare it with its predecessor - the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5 is simply taller than the iPhone 4S. In fact, if we stack them side-to-side and give you kind of a bottom view, you can see that they are exactly the same in terms of width. Down on the bottom, the speaker (slightly louder than that of iPhone 4S) and microphone were reoriented for the iPhone 5.
The headphone jack is now on the bottom for the iPhone 5, like on the iPod touch. The iPhone 5 has a new much smaller, all-digital, 8-pin connector while the rest of the iPhones have a 30-pin.
The two phones have very different backs. There's a glass panel on the iPhone 4S, which, as a lot of people know, breaks quite easily. For the iPhone 5, Apple added a nice aluminum back (think of MacBook Pro or iPad), which is still covered with glass. So what happens if you drop the phone and the glass shatters? It'll probably be very difficult to swap out whereas on iPhone 4S, you just took out the screws, slid in another cover and you were good to go.
The iPhone 5 has sapphire crystal lens cover, meaning that it's much more difficult, if not impossible, to scratch the lens. If you ever cracked the back - which includes a glass lens cover - of the iPhone 4S and swapped it with a new one, you've probably noticed that the quality of your photos improved. That shows that the old lens was scratched.
There's also a microphone, near the camera, which will help with audio coming from the back of the iPhone and make HD video a lot better.
Going over to the sides you can see that the iPhone 5 is thinner than the iPhone 4S. Up on the top, not much changes except that there's no microphone and headphone jack. The sides look the same except for minor tweaks. iPhone 5 is also the thinnest and lightest iPhone.
The iPhone 5 has the new A6 dual-core 1GHz Apple CPU with 1GB of RAM (which makes it significantly faster than the iPhone 4S), while the iPhone 4S has an A5 dual-core 800MHz Apple CPU. The iPhone 5 has also an incredible web browser in terms of performance.
The resolution (screen) on the iPhone 5 is 1136Ã—640 while it's 960Ã—640 on the iPhone 4S. The battery is also a bit larger on the iPhone 5, very much needed for the larger screen and inclusion of the 4G LTE radio.
iPhone 5 also installs updates faster and it can do so by installing multiple apps simultaneously while other iPhones do that one by one. Generally speaking, iPhone 5 is the deserved upgrade.
Despite being a super smartphone, you must not forget that the iPhone has some stressful issues to a typical user in Rwanda - even in the basic functionalities that makes it a phone. For instance, there's still that annoying caller ID mismatch (that can be fixed by a software update) reminding you that the country you're using the iPhone in is labeled as "unsupported" by Apple.
Recently, Apple decided to replace Google Maps with Apple Maps in iOS 6, reportedly because Google wouldn't license its turn-by-turn navigation service, a popular feature in Android phones. Designed by Apple from the ground up, Maps gives you turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views, and the stunning Flyover feature.
Unfortunately, this much-needed feature isn't supported yet in Rwanda. You remember that Google has already started mapping Kigali City even down to street level; sorry if you use the iPhone.
There are also some of the killer features of the device that are more and more becoming redundant in Rwanda as the iOS becomes more robust. Data from local vendors show that users are interested in buying Android phones rather than the iPhone - partly because they are relatively cheap, but also because they don't want to be frustrated by some redundant, native apps of the iPhone.
If you have an iPhone 5, and your carrier hasn't introduced the nano-SIM card yet, here's a DIY on how you can manually turn your micro-SIM into the nano-SIM card.