At a media event in San Francisco this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to reveal the iPhone 5. Much of what was rumored about the device is now fact: the iPhone 5 is slightly larger than iPhone 4S, boasting a taller – though not wider – 4 inch screen, and uses a new, smaller dock connector, referred to as Lightning. Pre-orders kick off on September 14th, and the phone will be available worldwide on September 21st, 2012.
Read on for in-depth details on the new smartphone but don’t forget to check out our iPhone 5 liveblog for our full coverage of today’s event – including a look at the new iPod models.
Made entirely of aluminum and glass, the iPhone 5 offers the expected leap in power over its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. The A6 chip at the heart of iPhone 5 is said to be twice as fast, and offer twice the graphical performance, of iPhone 4S’s dual-core A5 processor. That said, the jump between iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 appears, on paper, to be far less than the jump from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S, and some features – talk time, camera resolution – are essentially unchanged between the two devices.
Of course, the iPhone 5′s major selling point is its larger screen. With a 326ppi Retina display and a resolution of 1136 x 640, the iPhone 5 is said to offer 40% more color saturation than the 4S, and Apple has updated its stable of Apps – including Garage Band and iWork – to take advantage of the new screen’s dimensions. Apps that have not been updated for the new phone will be letterboxed.
iPhone 4S was the first iPhone to include an 8-megapixel camera – a huge step up from earlier models. iPhone 5 sports the very same camera, though some features have been tweaked. For starters, the iPhone 5 captures images 40% faster than the iPhone 4S , and its camera works much better in low-light situations. Another cool feature is that iPhone 5 supports panorama photography right out of the box – no need to invest in a separate App. All stitched together, panorama shots will be 28-megapixel images. High-definition video recording, meanwhile, will benefit from improved image stabilization and facial recognition.
Despite its larger screen, iPhone 5 is 18% slimmer than the 4S, and weighs less, too – 20% less, in fact. iPhone 5 support HSPA+, DC-HSDPA and LTE, with talk time that is almost identical to iPhone 4S: 8 hours on 3G. Internet browsing gets a bit of a boost, with Apple promising 8 hours over 3G and LTE (compared to iPhone 4S’s 6 hours) and 10 hours over Wi-Fi (vs. 9 for 4S). The system’s Wi-Fi supports speeds of up to 150 Mbps.
Rounding out the phone’s new features are improved earbuds, dubbed Apple EarPods, a 720p front-facing camera for making high-definition Facetime calls, and a trio of microphones for improved voice recognition and speech quality. The iPhone 5 will be available in 16GB ($199), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399) configurations, with either black or white faces, and silver aluminum or black anodized backs.
For a complete list of the iPhone 5′s tech-specs, continue to page 2.
Along with iPhone 5, Apple unveiled iOS 6, and though most of the details had already been made public at WWDC 2012, that doesn’t make the operating system’s September 19th debut any less exciting.
Highlighted by a new, Apple-developed Maps App that promises full turn-by-turn navigation and a Flyover view, iOS 6 packs over 200 new user features. Siri will finally be able to launch Apps and post Facebook updates, iCloud Tabs will keep track of the all web pages that are open on any of a user’s Apple devices, and Passbook can manage everything from airline boarding tickets to giftcards. Though iOS 6 doesn’t include any new features that are likely to have the impact of Siri, it’s a robust update nonetheless, and will be compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, 3GS, new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod Touch.
Ranters, what are your first impressions of the iPhone 5? Is it the device you were expecting? What features are you most excited about, and which are you most disappointed by? Let us know in the comments below.
iPhone 5 releases September 21, 2012.
iOS 6 releases September 19, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken.