Apple has officially lifted the lid on the iPhone 5, ending months and months of leaks, rumours and industry speculation.
The sixth-generation handset features a four-inch Retina ‘integrated touch’ display with a 1136 x 640 resolution, 16:9 widescreen ratio, 326ppi pixel density and 44 per cent more colour saturation.
Billed as the ‘world’s thinnest smartphone’, the iPhone 5 replaces the glass casing of the iPhone 4S with an anodised aluminium chassis that measures an impressive 7.6mm thick and weighs just 112 grams, making it 18 per cent slimmer and 20 per cent lighter.
Keeping things ticking over is an A6 processor that boasts twice the CPU and GPU performances of last year’s model. This is boosted by the inclusion of 4G LTE, along with existing standards such as HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA – all rolled into a single radio chip for voice and data and augmented by a dynamic antenna.
Elsewhere is an improved eight-megapixel camera with a dynamic low-light mode, a five-element ‘sapphire crystal’ lens, backside illumination, hybrid IR filter and faster photo capture. The camera app itself comes with a built-in Panorama mode that captures up to 28-megapixel snaps and there is a new ‘Shared Photo Streams’ feature that works over iCloud to enable easier sharing of photos with family and friends.
The front-facing camera has been upgraded, too, and is now able to shoot videos and make FaceTime calls in 720p HD. The latter, at long last, gets 3G support. So you no longer have to rely on a Wi-Fi connection to contact your near and dear.
Battery life, while not brilliant, is respectable, offering (according to Apple’s estimates) eight hours of talk-time and browsing over 3G, 8 hours browsing over 4G LTE (no mention of talk-time), 40 hours of music playback and 225 hours of standby.
On the connectivity front, the much-rumoured smaller dock connector is present and correct. This is an eight-signal, reversible port that’s 80 per cent narrower than the old 30-pin variety. Also on board is the so-called ‘ultra fast wireless’, packing spectrum bands of 2.4GHz over 802.11n and 5GHz over 802.11 b/g/n.
What about software? Well, iOS 6 – hailed as the ‘most advanced OS for any phone’ is installed out of the box. Among the deluge of new features and enhancement this brings is Apple Maps that replaces Google Maps as the native mapping application and comes with a 3D mode, turn-by-turn navigation and satellite imagery. Siri, meanwhile, now provides sports results, movie gen and restaurant details at your command.
A new app called PassBook has also been announced that stores your boarding passes, tickets, receipts, vouchers, coupons and loyalty cards in a single place, much like a digital wallet. Unfortunately, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is absent yet again - despite months of chatter that it would finally make it to Apple's wonderkit.
The iPhone 5 will be available to pre-order on September 14th and begin shipping to customers in the UK, US and select countries on September 21st. UK pricing is yet to be unveiled but going by the US, it should be identical to the iPhone 4S when it dropped last October.
Stay tuned for more iPhone 5 news and announcements in the days ahead.