Apple iPhone 5 unveiled: Bigger, thinner, and exactly what we expected

iPhone 5 Front and Rear
Full Coverage From Apple's 9/12 iPhone 5 Launch EventApple has announced the iPhone 5 during its highly anticipated press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Apple’s Phil Schiller took the wraps off the next generation smartphone to huge applause from those gathered in the auditorium, so here’s everything we know so far about the brand-new Apple iPhone 5.

Schiller described the new device as “a jewel,” and the “most beautiful product we’ve ever made.” As expected, it has a 4-inch touchscreen with a 1136 x 640 pixel Retina-quality resolution, that’s billed as the “world’s most advanced display.” Apple has also removed a layer from the screen and incorporated the touch sensors into the display itself.

While the design is identical to the models we’ve seen leaked over the past months, we’ve now got the proper measurements. The body is made from glass and aluminum, weighs just 112 grams, and is 18-percent thinner than the iPhone 4 and 4S at a mere 7.6mm.

A6 processor, new dock connector

Inside hides a new A6 processor, which is 22-percent smaller and twice as fast as the A5 in the 4S, as well as providing twice the graphics performance too.

4G LTE support has been introduced with the iPhone 5, using a single chip for voice and data, and a single chip for the radio too. Like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, the iPhone 5 has been equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi at 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, plus 802.11a/b/g/n. The iPhone 5 now boasts three microphones, mounted on the front, the rear and on the base of the device, plus the speakers have been upgraded too.

LTE carrier partners listed at the event include Sprint, Verizon and AT&T in the USA, and Rogers, Bell and Telus in Canada. There’s plenty of worldwide LTE support too, including EE for the UK.

iPhone 5 Front Rear Standup White

On the rear of the iPhone 5 is an 8-megapixel camera, that’s thinner than the one found in the iPhone 4S. The backside illumination, hybrid IR filter and five-element lens all remain, but the f-stop has dropped to f/2.4 and a “dynamic low-light mode” has been added to improve the low-light performance. A panoramic mode has also been introduced, complete with seamless transitions. Video is still 1080p, but features improved image stabilization, along with face tracking and the chance to shoot still images while recording.

One of the most persistent rumors prior to launch was that of a change to the 30-pin dock connector, and sure enough, the iPhone 5 will use a new cable called the Lightning, and it’s an all-digital, 8-signal design that’s reversible and promises improved durability. For those who have purchased accessories featuring the old, large connector, Apple has made a big, ugly adapter just for you.

iOS 6, release dates and prices

Of course, the new iPhone 5 will run on iOS 6, and Scott Forstall was on-hand to go through some of the changes we can expect, and you can read all about them here. These include updates to Siri, the Shared Photo Stream, FaceTime over 3G and Apple’s new Passbook. iOS 6 will be released on September 19, and it’s compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, plus the iPad 2 and new iPad, and finally the fourth-generation iPod Touch.

The iPhone 5 will be available in both black and white, and pricing stays the same as the 4S, at $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB and $399 for the 64GB version, all with a contract. It’s up for pre-order on September 14 and it’ll ship on September 21.

There are nine lucky countries that will receive the iPhone 5 on that date, and these are the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Even more will be added on September 28, with a total of 100 countries and 240 carriers by the end of the year. It’s Apple’s fastest iPhone rollout yet.