Apple today announced their latest smartphone, the iPhone 5 at an event at the Yerba Buena center for the Arts in San Francisco. This new iPhone represents the first time Apple has changed the screen size and aspect ratio in the 5 year history of the iPhone and its first phone to feature LTE.
Looking at the front and sides, the iPhone 5 is very reminiscent of its predecessors, the iPhone 4/4S. The back has replaced the glass panel with a slightly two-tone back with glass strips at the top and bottom and an aluminum strip taking up the rest of the back. Physically, it is the same width as the previous two iPhones, but 8.6mm taller and 1.7mm thinner. Weight is considerably less at just 112g compared to 140g in the 4S.
Processor and Battery
Powering this new phone is the A6 CPU. Apple does not state whether this is a dual or quad-core CPU, but instead claims twice the CPU and graphics performance of the A5 from the 4S. Likewise, Apple does not state the size of the internal battery, just that it will offer 8 hours of LTE or talk time and 10 hours of video playback.
The iPhone 5 is based around a 4” 1138×640 display. It has the same 326ppi as the iPhone 4/4S, but Apple is claiming a brighter screen. Instead of having a separate touch layer, the iPhone 5 uses in-cell touch technology which allows for a phone that is 18% thinner.
The taller screen means a move to 16:9. In your lock screen, this will mean an extra row of icons. For movies, you can now have them full screen. When it comes to apps, they will have to be updated for the 16:9 form factor. Apple’s own apps have been updated. Third party apps will run in letterbox to emulate the iPhone 4S’s screen factor.
The iPhone 5’s largest jump is when it comes to wireless connectivity. This iteration adds LTE and dual channel HSPA+ for high speed networking. The Phone will come in two different models: A1428 and A1429. The 1428 is limited to bands 4 and 17 employed by North American LTE carriers such as AT&T and Rogers. The A1429, however is the true world phone with five-band LTE to serve networks Europe and Asia as well as Sprint and Verizon.
All models have quad-band GSM/Edge and UTMS+ capability. Variants of the A1429 also have tri-band CDMA with EV-DO REV.B support.
The iPhone continues to have both front and rear cameras. Up front, there is a high definition 720p Facetime HD camera replacing the previous VGA part. Out back is an improved 8MP sensor which is 25% smaller than last year’s model. The sensor is built for improved low light performance and incorporates ultra-hard sapphire crystal. There is a new panorama mode for 28MP Panoramic photos and you can take still photos while recording video
Audio is something that Apple is not taking lightly. In addition to an improved wideband 5-transducer speaker, the iPhone 5 has not one, not two, but three different microphones. These are located at the bottom, front, and rear of the phone. The phone earpiece is improved with noise cancelling capabilities. The iPhone 5 also includes a radically redesigned set of earphones dubbed EarPods.
Thunderbolt and Lightning?
In various revisions, the 30-pin connector has served us since the original iPod was released 11 years ago. The world of IO connections has changed so much since then. Today Apple is moving on and replacing it with the 8-pin Lightning connector. The new connector is 80% smaller and has a completely digital signal and an adaptive interface. The bad news? Every single idevice accessory will need a Lightning to 30-pin adapter and it’s not exactly petite and at $29, it’s not inexpensive either. You’ll have to pay it , since the adapter is not included.
For many countries, including the US and Canada, the iPhone 5 will be available for pre-order this Friday, September 14 and ship a week later on the 21st with more countries. No word on US availability for regional carriers.