Updated with pricing and availability.
Confirming the world’s worst-kept secret, Apple this morning launched the iPhone 5 – a smartphone that’s longer, thinner and lighter its predecessors. It will be available in Australia on Friday, 21 September, and in New Zealand on 28 September.
At just 7.6mm thin, the iPhone 5 is the world’s thinnest smartphone, according to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who took to the stage in San Francisco to make the announcement. It’s 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S and, at 112 grams, is 20 percent lighter than the 4S as well.
It has a 4in Retina display of 326ppi and 1136 x 640 resolution. and it’s stunning. Every iPhone to date has had a 3.5in screen.
There’s now a fifth row of icons on the Home screen, and more apps on every screen. All the software that comes on the iPhone 5 has been updated to take advantage of larger display. Everything shows more data.
Older apps will be ‘letterboxed’ with black bars on either side. Cook said that Apple had given some developers early access to see what they’d do.
“We learned that they can update their apps really quickly,” he said. “And they don’t want to just make it bigger, they want to do more.”
The new iPhone is made entirely of glass and aluminum and “designed and built to an exacting level of standard, unlike anything anyone in the industry has made before,” Schiller said.
The iPhone 5 also has 4G LTE capabilities, and the great news is that, unlike the latest iPad, it will work on the Australian LTE networks operated by Telstra and Optus (including Virgin).
On its website, Apple specifies that the GSM iPhone 5 Model A1429 supports LTE Bands 1 (2100MHz), 3 (1800MHz) and 5 (850MHz). The GSM iPhone 5 sold in the United States is the Model A1428, which means that Aussie customers should be careful when buying the iPhone 5 overseas.
The new phone has better WiFi too, 802.11 a/b/g/n, 802.11n is 2.4GHz and dual channel 5GHz, up to 150 Mbps.
The device is powered by an A6 processor, which is two times faster than the A5, according to the company. It is also 22 per cent smaller.
Apple claims to have exceeded the battery life of the iPhone 4S in the iPhone 5, with 8 hours of 3G talk time and browsing, and LTE browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music and 225 hours of standby time.
The iPhone 5′s camera is 25 per cent smaller, and has aqn 8 megapixel sensor, 3264 x 2448, backside illuminated, hybrid IR filter, five-element lens, and a fast f/2.4 aperture. It also has a new low-light mode, and a sapphire lens cover helps protect your lens and make your images clearer and sharper.
Apple has improved the video in the iPhone 5 too. It can capture 1080p HD video, has improved stabilisation, face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take photos while you’re recording.
The front FaceTime camera has HD 720p HD camera with backside illumination and FaceTime over 3G.
There are now three microphones in the iPhone 5, one at the front, one bottom and one on the back. This aims to improve voice recognition. The earpiece is noise cancelling too.
As expected, Apple has introduced a smaller dock connector with its iPhone 5. The connector has been reduced from the previous 30-pin design to an all-digital 8-signal design. It is 80 per cent smaller than the previous connector and is reversable. Oh, and it’s called ‘Lightning’.
The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6, Apple’s latest propriety system with Maps, Flyover, improved Siri, Facebook integration, Do Not Disturb, Passbook and more. iOS 6 will be available on Wednesday, September 19, as a free software update.
The new iPhone comes in either white & silver or black & slate, and will sell in Australia for a recommended retail price of $799 for the 16GB model, $899 for the 32GB model and $999 for the 64GB model.
The iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 will still be available to buy for $679 and $449 respectively.