Apple may be notoriously secretive and tight lipped, but the company appears to be getting worse and worse at actually keeping things under wraps. The iPhone 5 appears to be the most leaked handset in existence. Thankfully, the suspense is over, the next-gen iPhone is finally here and it does, in fact, go by the numerical title of 5. Just like the parts that have been circulating this is a glass and aluminum affair and, at 7.6mm it’s a full 18 percent thinner than the 4S. It’s even a full 20 percent lighter at 112 grams. It’s all those amazing things and it packs a larger 4-inch display. The new version of Apple’s Retina panel is 1136 x 640, which clocks in at a more than respectable 326ppi. It also sports better color saturation with full sRGB rendering
That new longer screen allows for an extra set of icons to be displayed on the home screen, and first party apps have already been tweaked to take advantage of the additional real estate. The iWork suite, Garage Band and iMovie have all been updated. Older apps will still work too, though they’ll be displayed in a letterbox format until an update is issued. The tweaked ratio puts the iPhone 5 display closer to 16:9, but it’s not quite there.
The most exciting news is likely the addition of LTE. There’s still HSPA+, EV-DO, EDGE and all that jazz on board, but it’s the true 4G that is really generating excitement. In the US Sprint, Verizon and AT&T will all be able to take advantage of the single chip data and voice LTE solution inside. And, if you’re stuck on one of those tiered data plans, the 802.11 a/b/g/n antenna should help you keep your wireless usage in check.
If the brand new radios weren’t enough of a raw spec update to get your geek blood pumping, the new A6 CPU inside should push you over the edge. Apple claims its a full two times faster than the chip inside the 4S, but we’ll have to wait and see how accurate that assertion is. The A6 is reportedly 22 percent smaller than its predecessor, which probably helped Cupertino achieve such slim dimension on the iPhone 5 and it’s also more energy efficient — allowing the handset to chug along for 8 hours of talk time, despite the addition of LTE. Keeping your data usage to Wi-Fi will allow you to milk up to 10 hours out of the device.
As for the camera, it’s more or less the same as that in the iPhone 4S, just a little bit slimmer. It’s a backlit 8 megapixel sensor with a 5 element lens and an f/2.4 aperture. The biggest improvement in the image capturing department is the “shutter” speed. Apple is claiming the new set up is up to 40 percent quicker at turning a beautiful sunset into a cold hard series of 1s and 0s. There’s also a new panoramic shooting mode that stitches together an effective 28 megapixel photo. And, what camera update would be complete without the ability to capture 1080p video. The front facing cam has also received a might boost, getting its own backlit sensor capable of capturing 720p clips. Even better, that iSight cam can be paired up with FaceTime for high-res video chats over that fancy new 4G network you’ll be surfing on.
If you thought there wasn’t anything else that could possibly be improved, you’re wrong. Apple even gave the microphone an upgrade to a five-magnet transducer that should improve voice quality on networks that support it and enable Siri to better decipher your mumblings. And, as expected, the dock connector has gotten a long-overdue revamp. The eight-pin plug is 80 percent smaller and all digital — it even has a catchy marketing name: Lightning.
Obviously, no new iPhone would be complete without a new version of iOS, and the 5 will be rocking iOS 6 right out of the box.which packs a boat load of exciting improvements, including tweaks to Siri and the new Passbook.
When the iPhone 5 ships, you’ll have your choice of two colors, black or white, with the white having a raw aluminum back and the black sporting a dark anodized body. As expected the iPhone 5 will start at $199 for the 16GB model, while the 32GB will cost $299 and the 64GB $399 — so no changes there. Sadly, we’re still waiting on a 128GB version. Shipments in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore start on September 21st, but you’ll be able to pre-order starting on the 14th. Apple plans to add 20 more markets in the coming month.