Gadgets of the month, featuring the iPhone 5’s Irish debut

28 Sep 2012

We take a look back at some of the biggest gadget news this month, with a roundup on the launch of the iPhone 5 and its release in Ireland, including information on different operators stocking the phone. We also look ahead at what’s to come in the world of gadgets.

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This month…

The iPhone 5 hits Ireland

Roll up, roll up! The iPhone 5 circus is coming to town! While we haven’t seen people camping out a week in advance to get their hands on Apple’s latest smartphone, we’re sure there’ll be some early birds looking to catch the iPhone 5 worm when it’s released in Irish stores today.

The first weekend of iPhone 5 sales was a record-breaker for Apple, and Irish operator Three has been accepting pre-orders for the device online since 9am on 21 September, knowing that demand will likely be great. Vodafone Ireland will also be stocking the iPhone 5, offering HD Voice technology and speeds of up to 42Mbps on the network.

O2 customers might well be the first to get their hands on the iPhone 5, with its Grafton Street, Henry Street, Dundrum Shopping Centre and Blanchardstown branches in Dublin, and Patrick Street branch in Cork opening at 8am. Customers queueing outside the Grafton Street store will be perked up with refreshments and kept dry with umbrellas (if necessary), while O2 gurus will be on hand to show new users how to set up their new phones. Due to high demand, O2 will be offering the iPhone 5 to existing customers only on a first-come, first-served basis.

The much-talked-about iPhone 5 might just be the most repairable iPhone 5 yet, which is a relief considering the amount damaged iPhones have cost consumers in the past. The phone features a 4-inch display, 8MP iSight camera and a faster A6 processor, and it runs on Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6, featuring many improvements – though you might want to steer clear of the Maps app.

The new contenders in the smartphone market

Though the iPhone 5 has commanded a lot of our attention this month, there were a number of other new smartphones that also caught our eye. For the Windows Phone 8 platform, we saw the unveiling of the colourful Nokia Lumia 920, featuring a PureView camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, a 4.5-inch super-sensitive curved glass display, an NFC chip and – an exciting and unique innovation from Nokia – wireless charging capability, opening up a world of possibility for accessories that can charge the phone without any need for a cable.

HTC also revealed its Windows Phone 8 devices with the Windows Phone 8X and 8S. Both phones feature a unibody design and colourful options, plus Beats Audio.

This month also saw the launch of Sony’s Xperia T, also known as the Bond Phone for its appearance in the upcoming James Bond film, Skyfall. We got our hands on the device at the launch, checking out its fast-capture camera, DLNA and NFC technology, and exploring the Bond content exclusive to O2 customers.

Coming soon…

Release date for the Wonderbook confirmed

Sony first announced it would be teaming up with JK Rowling to create an augmented reality (AR) game based on the Harry Potter series at E3 back in June. To do this, a new AR controller for the PlayStation called the Wonderbook has been developed.

While it looks like an unassuming hardback picture book with strange designs on its pages, opening the Wonderbook in front of the PlayStation Eye Camera brings users into a new reality on-screen, leaping off the pages of the book. I’ve seen the Wonderbook in action at the preview of London Studio’s Book of Spells – the first title to be released on Wonderbook – and suffice it to say it wowed the crowd.

Which is why I was excited by news that Book of Spells and the PlayStation Wonderbook will be released in Ireland on 16 November – so I’ve plenty of time to stick it on my Christmas wish list.

PlayStation Wonderbook: Book of Spells

This comes alongside news of a redesigned, smaller PlayStation 3, which is released today. The Wonderbook and Book of Spells can be bundled with the new PS3, including the Move controller and PlayStation Eye Camera. Wonderbook and Book of Spells will also be sold without these accessories at a recommended retail price of €39.99.

Vodafone Ireland Gadgets of the month is made possible by Vodafone Ireland

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic