Months of speculation, rumors, leaks and reports have finally led to the main event: Apple actually, officially announcing the new iPhone. It’s here and it’s not all that different from what the leaks and reports had made it out to be.
As expected, the iPhone 5 comes with an evolutionary design update, along with specifications bump that puts it at the level of fellow high-end Android smartphones like the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III. Check out the full details after the jump.
The first and foremost feature people will notice is the design. The general shape is quite similar to the iPhone 4 / 4S with its metal band, and flat front / back. The biggest noticeable differences are its increased display size and metal + glass back.
iPhone 5 comes with a widescreen 4-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 1136 x 640 with a pixel density 326PPI. This makes the new iPhone the same width as the iPhone 4S, only taller / longer depending on which orientation you’re looking at it. Once apps get updated to support the new display, they will show more content. All apps will benefit from this feature, as games will be more immersive, Reeder / Facebook / Twitter will let users see more items, movies and TV shows will play in widescreen without letterboxing etc. etc.
The display has 44% more color saturation than the previous generation iPhone, and features integrated touch technology, which means that the iPhone 5’s display and the touch sensors have been united once and for all. This makes the iPhone 5’s display the most accurate and the most advanced display we’ve ever seen to date.
Following their old tradition of ‘thinner and lighter’, the iPhone 5 weighs in at just 112 grams, is 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S and is the thinnest smartphone to date with a depth of just 7.6mm.
Instead of glass and glass only on the back like with the iPhone 4 / 4S, the iPhone 5’s back plate is two-toned: there is glass at the very top and bottom, but other than that it is all metal. This is a welcome design feature, as the weak non-Gorilla-Glass of the 4 and 4S was a rather serious problem.
Let’s talk specifications now: the iPhone 5 is powered by a quad-core A6 processor clocked atwith 1GB of RAM. Android enthusiasts can finally stop claiming that their phones are technically superior as the iPhone is now right up there with them! Last year, it was proved with benchmarks that the iPhone 4S’ 800MHz A5 dual-core chip was faster than the 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos chip on the Galaxy S II and Snapdragon processors on other HTC phones. The same may just happen again this year. We’ll have to wait and see for the first benchmarks to come in.
Another big new feature is the support for 4G LTE. Earlier this year, the iPhone 4S received an update that changed “3G” to “4G” in its status bar when using AT&T’s HSPA+ network, but that was not at all close to the speeds offered by 4G LTE which Windows Phones and Android smartphones have been supporting since late 2010. Having 4G LTE means users will see marked improvements in streaming heavier content like HD videos and high quality audio streams.
Optics receive an improvement, too. Despite having a year to improve their cameras, other smartphone manufacturers (save for Nokia) have still not come up with optics that totally beat the iPhone 4S’. This hasn’t stopped Apple from improving things, though, as the camera on the iPhone 5 getsto improve image quality while maintaining the same image resolution – 8 megapixels. The front-facing camera’s resolution has been increased to 720p HD from VGA on previous phones.
The iPhone 5 also features the new smaller dock connector, which is USB 3 compatible, making it over 10 times faster than it’s USB 2 30-pin connector counterpart. The new dock connector has been named Lightning, which quite frankly, fits in very frankly with the speeds it has to offer.
The headphones that ship with the iPhone 5 have also been given a major refresh, and the new iPhone now comes with Apple’s latest Earpod headphones.
Pricing is the usual we’ve come to expect over the last three years. The 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models cost $199, $299, and $399 respectively with a two year contract from AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. The iPhone 5 will be available in two colors – black and white.