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The iPhone 5 arrived last Friday, and already in excess of five million consumers have snapped the device up, but contrary to how most electronic gadget vendors handle things, the full user guide wasn’t packaged with the smartphone, but released online some hours later along with a user guide for those diving into iOS 6.

You might expect, given Apple’s dominance in the downloaded content category, that the literature aimed at helping consumers adapt to the new software and hardware would immediately be available over at the company’s iBookstore, but that hasn’t proven to be the case. Only now – four days later – has the sprawling 155-page document been released onto the fledgling online readers’ hub, but it is, perhaps somewhat redemptively, a free download.

iPhone 5 user guide iBookstore

Many of you will have already gotten to grips with the new smartphone and its accompanying software, and although there are quite a few updates in iOS 6 versus iOS 5, it’s not particularly difficult to begin using without the help of the documentation. Still, the small Fingertips user guide which comes in the box of the iPhone 5 is nowhere near sufficient if one wishes to get the very most out of their recent acquisition, so if you want to get your money’s worth, search the iBookstore for "iPhone User Guide For iOS 6."

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In its release notes, Apple describes the The iPhone User Guide as "an essential part of any iPhone library," although not – it would seem – important enough to slot into the meticulously-arranged box.

Still, aside from your general iOS bits and pieces, the guide will give you a stronger insight into the new party guests such as Passbook and, of course, the Maps app which has seen consumers and experts falling over each other to criticize. Google has promised it will bring its Maps offering to iOS through the App Store, although former Apple board member and Executive Chairman of the Mountain View-based search giant Eric Schmidt has quashed rumors it had already been submitted for review.

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Even if you’re very comfortable using iOS 6 and your new iPhone, there might just be that elusive tidbit of information you need in the future, and if you’ve the guide handy, you may avoid an hour or two trawling Google.

(Source: iPhone User Guide For iOS 6 on iBookstore)

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