Today Apple launched its much anticipated new iPhone 5 smartphone. In days and weeks prior to the launch there were lots of leaked specifications and images of various aspects of the device which have proved to be pretty accurate. The first iPhone launch since the death of Steve Jobs is hoped to continue the legacy of success by bringing to market a new thinner, lighter and faster iPhone married to the refined iOS 6.
The FT reports that as Phil Schiller unveiled the new iPhone 5 he said “We’ve improved everything in the iPhone 5. Everything has been enhanced, reengineered and redesigned.” So let us have a look at what constitutes the iPhone 5...
Let’s start by looking at the physical properties of the new iPhone. The new iPhone 5 is 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter than the iPhone 4S. The dimensions are 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm; that’s a pretty thin phone which is the same single-hand-operation-friendly width as the 4S but about 8mm longer to accommodate the new 4-inch wide-screen. The new smartphone tips the scales at a dainty 112 grams compared to the 4S’s sturdy 140 grams. Apple has decided to use the nanoSIM card standard. Initially the iPhone 5 is going to be available in two colour combinations; black & slate and white & silver.
- Display: The new 4-inch 1136x640 pixels IPS display has the same density as the iPhone 4S at 326 ppi but the length gives it a wider aspect allowing you to “watch widescreen HD video in all its glory - without letterboxing”.
- Data and wireless: The headline here is 4G/LTE compatibility including the EE network in the UK. To fall back you also have 3G HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA data and dual band Wi-Fi 802.11n. Bluetooth 4.0 is installed too.
- Processor: The new A6 chip is “up to twice as fast compared with the A5 chip” for both CPU and graphic operations.
- Battery: Even with the extra processing power and larger screen the new iPhone 5 has “more than enough battery power to last throughout the day” offering 8 hours 3G browsing, 8 hours talk time or even 10 hours of video playback.
- Camera: the main camera is the same spec as the iPhone 4S at 8 megapixels, AF with flash and f/2.4 aperture but the front “Facetime HD” camera is boosted from VGA (4S) to 1.2 megapixels at 30fps.
- Connections: The new main connector you will use to charge and sync the iPhone 5 is dubbed the “Lightning connector.” Apple says that “It features an all-digital, eight-signal design that’s significantly more durable than the 30-pin connector”, a natty thing about this cable is that it is reversible which will save a lot of night time fumbling. A Lightning to 30-pin Adapter will be sold so iPhone 5 buyers can use their old accessories.
- iOS 6: Comes installed as standard on the iPhone 5. It reportedly has 200 more features than its predecessor to make your mobile finger poking more productive and fun.
- Maps: As we saw in June, Apple’s iOS 6 has replaced Google Maps with a mapping system of its own. It uses the well regarded TomTom mapping data.
- Siri: The “intelligent assistant” built into the iPhone 5 “understands more questions, knows more answers and gives you a lot more to talk about”. Now Siri can post to your Facebook or Tweet for you.
- iCloud: Is built into the iPhone 5. New features enable better sharing. Also Find My iPhone lets forgetful or unlucky users locate, lock and recover your lost pride and joy (iPhone).
- AirPlay and AirPrint: Allow you to wirelessly output what you see on your iPhone; to HDTV and printer respectively.
iPhone 5 pricing
Apple UK prices for iPhones are as follows: iPhone 5 from £529, iPhone 4S £449, iPhone 4 £319. To purchase the iPhone 5 you can “Pre-order online from 14 September. Or buy at your favourite Apple Retail Store starting at 8:00 am on 21 September.” As you can see the iPhone 3GS has been removed from sale, it dropped off the end of the marketing conveyor belt.
Overall the biggest iPhone 5 improvements are the new wide-screen which prompted a slight elongation of the design. Also the new A6 processor seems mightily impressive but I wonder what all the processing power will be used for. In the UK the iPhone 5 will be able to work on EE’s 4G network when it gets booted up, shortly. Other 4G devices on offer from EE will be the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, the HTC One XL, Samsung Galaxy S III LTE and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE. What would be your choice?
UPDATE: Apple has now uploaded a video of the unveiling event (requires QuickTime).