Apple finally took the covers off its latest iPhone, and yes, it’s called the iPhone 5.
The phone, which is said to be made entirely of glass and aluminum, is also thinner. It’s just 7.6 mm thin, 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S. It also weighs 112 grams i.e., 20% lighter than the 4S.
The iPhone 5 has a larger screen than previous versions, at 4 inches, with a resolution of 1,136 x 640 or 326 pixels per inch — which is still a “retina” display, as Apple defines it. The larger screen has a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and has increase the length of the phone overall, but it also allows for a total of six rows of apps on the screen (5 rows on the “pages” along with the permanent single row along the bottom).
Apps designed for previous iPhones won’t scale to the new screen — they’ll appear with black bars on the two ends of the screen.
Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, says the iPhone 5 is “the most beautiful product we have ever made.”
The iPhone 5 is also the company’s first 4G LTE phone. The phone will be compatible with the high-speed LTE networks of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, in addition to many global LTE networks: Virgin in Canada, Singtel and Telstra in Australia, and Deutsche Telekom in Europe.
A new processor, the Apple A6, powers the device. Apple says it’s twice as fast as its predecessor, 22% smaller and that it’s more power efficient . It increases the phone performance while using less battery life.
The new model also includes “ultrafast” wireless, which incorporates the 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi, giving the iPhone 5 more bandwith on the whole.
The iPhone’s camera also got an improvement. It’s still an 8-megapixel sensor, but it’s 25% smaller and includes more features. Dynamic low light mode is said to give you better pictures without using the flash. Other enhancements, such as spatial noise reduction and a smart filter, will improve image quality as well. Apple says the upgraded camera will snap pictures 40% faster.
There’s also a built-in panorama mode for capturing massive widescreen pictures.
Apple also shrinks the dock connector of the iPhone, replacing the old 30-pin connector with a much smaller jack, which it dubs the “Lightning” connector, a riff on the Thunderbolt port that’s a feature of today’s Macs. Although a new connector effectively renders older accessories outdated, Apple says Bose, JBL and Bang & Oulefson are already working on devices compatible with it.
The new iPhone also improves its voice calls. It is now equipped with three separate microphones — on the front, on the bottom and on the back. According to Apple, the multiple mics will help Siri’s performance. The earpiece is equipped with more noise cancellation, and there’s also now “wideband audio” technology, which is said to make voice calls more natural — similar to HTC’s HD Voice tech in the Evo 4G LTE.
The iPhone 5 goes on sale Sept. 21 in the U.S., Canada, Japan, the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. It has similar pricing to its predecessors, starting at $199 for 16GB of storage with a two-year contract, and there are 32GB and 64GB models available for $299 and $399, respectively. Pre-orders start Sept. 14. Apple says the phone will be available in 100 countries on 240 wireless carriers by the end of the year.
Apple is keeping the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in its lineup. The iPhone 4 (8GB) is now free with a contract, and the iPhone 4S (16GB) costs $99. The iPhone 3GS appears to be discontinued.