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In one of the most anticipated press conferences of the year, Apple finally unveiled the “the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone.” Reporters from around the world lined up to watch as Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook (channeling Steve Job in jeans and a black button-down instead of a turtleneck), announced the iPhone 5 in San Francisco. We’ve covered the iPhone in an article here, but here’s the lowdown on the latest details.
The outside of the phone is made entirely of glass and aluminum, classing it up to a new level. But wait, the aluminum isn’t called aluminum; it’s called Slate (really). It still comes in all-black or all-white, like previous iPhones, debunking rumors of a two-toned back. In a press release from Apple, Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, describes the iPhone 5 as “the most beautiful device that we’ve ever created.” He goes on to say that the phone is “jewel-like.” It has diamond-cut edges, so maybe that’s where the jewel thing comes in. It looks nice for a phone, but I don’t know if it’s quite in “jewel” territory yet.
It’s like the runway model of the smartphone world: it’s tall, thin, and doesn’t weigh much. During the press conference, Apple bragged that it is the world’s thinnest smartphone. At 7.6mm wide, it’s 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S; weighing in at 112 grams, it’s 20 percent lighter. It’s got a 4-inch display, half an inch bigger than the iPhone 4.
The screen still has Retina display, making the picture sharp with its 1136x640 pixel resolution (the previous iPhone had 960x640). The bigger screen even allows for a fifth row of icons or five days of your calendar, just in case that extra row is a big selling point for you.
As rumored, this phone has 4G LTE that will provide “ultrafast” wireless. It will be available on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint in the United States, plus plenty of other carriers around the world.
An A6 chip means the iPhone 5 will be faster. The CPU should be twice as fast as the previous iPhone; the graphics should be twice as fast as well. This new performance should be great for games.
With all of the games you can play, it’s good to know that battery life will be longer than on the iPhone 4S. It offers eight hours of 3G talk time, 3G browsing, or LTE browsing; 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing or video; 40 hours of music; or 225 hours on standby.
The 8-megapixel iSight camera is smaller than the one on the 4S. It features a faster photo capture and better performance in low light. It can take 1080p video. The Facetime camera on the front isn’t quite as fancy at 720p, but it’s still handy for chatting.
The rumors about the dock connector are true. It’s now a tiny 8 pins (down from 30). To help ease the pain of changing the connector to all of the accessories you bought for your last iPhone, there will be an adapter included. Oh, and they named the new connector Lightning. Like it better now?
There are turn-by-turn directions given by your friend Siri’s voice. Not only is Siri better with directions, she’s better with sports now – you can ask Siri how your favorite team is doing. She can make reservations through Open Table and she can update your Facebook status. Basically, she’s a better personal assistant than before. What Siri can’t do, PassBook can. PassBook keeps all of your boarding passes and tickets ready to scan in at gates and venues.
The 16GB (or the smallest) iPhone 5 will sell for $199 on contract and will ship on September 21. The latest operating system, iOS 6 will be available on September 19th.