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The iPhone 5: Thinner, lighter, faster, taller

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 3:22pm
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

Apple's iPhone 5Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 at an event in San Francisco. The new iPhone is thinner, lighter, faster and taller – yes, taller – than its successor, the iPhone 4S.

The display on Apple's new flagship phone is the same width as previous iPhones, but it is slightly taller. The iPhone 5 has lost some weight and slimmed down, as well. The new phone measures 8 mm thick and 114 grams, whereas the 4S was 9.6 mm thick and 146 grams. Apple said software developers have seen prototypes of the new device and have confirmed that making their apps compatible with the new screen size will be relatively simple.

Aside from a new form factor, the iPhone 5 offers a boost in speed, compliments of a new A6 processor, as well as LTE connectivity. Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T will be carrier partners in the United States.

Apple also announced upgrades to the iPhone 5's camera hardware, as well as a panoramic feature that allows users to sweep a scene. The resulting photo is a 28-megapixel image.

And, of course, what would an Apple event be without some new proprietary accessories. The iPhone 5 features the new Lightning connector, which the company claimed is “smarter and more durable” than the previous connector. The all-digital Lightning connector features an adaptive interface that uses only the signals that each accessory requires, and it’s reversible so users can instantly connect it to their accessories.

The Lightning-to-30-pin Adapter is also available to connect the iPhone 5 to legacy 30-pin accessories. A price was not immediately available for the adaptor.

Pricing structure for the iPhone 5 is pretty much the same as for the iPhone 4S when it launched. Apple will offer the iPhone in 16 GB ($199), 32 GB ($299) and 64 GB ($399) models.

Pre-orders for the new iPhone start on Sept. 14, with devices shipping on Sept. 21 in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The iPhone 4S will be reduced to $99, while the iPhone 4 will be free on contract.

Apple said it will make the previously announced iOS 6 available on Sept. 19. The new iteration of iOS will run on iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, 3GS, new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod Touch.

Today was primarily focused on the iPhone, but the company also unveiled a revamp of its iPod line, including a new iPod touch, Nano and Shuffle, as well as improved headphones, which the company is calling EarPods. The new iPod Touch, which mirrors the iPhone 5's taller format, will sell in 32 GB and 64 GB models for $299 and $399, respectively.

The announcement comes in the wake of last week's blitz from competing OEMs that were all looking to get announcements out ahead of Apple's typically attention-grabbing unveilings. Nokia, Motorola, HTC and Amazon all took last week as an opportunity to introduce consumers to their new gadgets.

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