iPhone 5 announced – release date is September 21

After many months of speculation and leaks, most of which were correct I might add, the iPhone 5 has finally been announced. The new smartphone is called the iPhone 5 and brings several new things to the iPhone range.

New 4 inch Retina Display

One of the first things you will notice is the display. You might notice from the pictures of it that it has 5 rows of icons as well as a row of icons on the dock. This means that the screen is now a little larger than before. Rather than changing the width and height of the display, Apple has just increased the height. It is still a retina display at 326 ppi but is now 1136 pixels tall but has remained 640 pixels wide. The reason for keeping it the same width was so that the users hand holding it doesn’t notice a difference when texting for example. It still feels the same to hold. The new display is also more enhanced and is 44% greater in saturation than the previous 4 and 4S models.

A6 Processor

The processor has received a bump in performance. The iPhone 5 has an Apple A6 processor inside that Apple claim to run twice as fast as the previous generation all while saving battery. This means that web pages render quicker, photos open quicker and many other things you use your phone for will happen quicker. The graphics are also twice as fast making games such as Real Racing (which was demonstrated) include more details such as reflections from the metal on the car and rear view mirrors. As for battery life and the A6 processor, you can get up to 8 hours of 3G browsing time, 8 hours of talk time and 10 hours of video playback. What Apple hasn’t made clear is browsing times on LTE and the other faster networks. They curiously left those details out. Hopefully that isn’t bad news.

The design

Apple has stepped away from the iPhone 4/4S design in some good ways. Although many loved the design of the 4 and 4S, it was time for a change and Apple managed to achieve it. There are many similarities though which include the same type of antenna wrapped around the front and back of the device. The front is glass of course, we’ve heard Gorilla Glass 2 and the back is almost all covered in anodised 6000 series aluminium (same as MacBooks) with the exception of glass at the top and bottom, perhaps an RF window of sorts. What I quite like about the design of the back is how much work went in to matching up the glass with the aluminium. Apple takes pictures of the backs of the phone and matches it up with one of 725 unique inlays that vary by microns. It then finds the perfect match so the phone sits together well. Although the iPhone 5 has a lot of similarities of the iPhone 4 such as the mute switch, volume buttons, home buttons and wrap around antenna, I think they still managed to achieve something good with this new design.

The camera

The camera is the same 8 megapixels as the iPhone 4S but now uses sapphire crystal to protect the optics which makes it harder to damage and scratch. Other than the sapphire crystal, most other changes appear to be in the software which allows photos to be captured whilst taking video and allows for large panoramic pictures to be taken.

The dock connector is now the Lightning connector

The new dock connector is smaller so that space inside the device can be saved. The connector is digital and is also reversible so that you can plug it in which ever way you want. The connector utilises 8 digital signals to transmit data faster than the previous 30 pin dock connector. An adapter is also available should you have a dock that uses the 30 pin connector that you want to use the iPhone 5 on.

Overall, it’s a fairly decent update to the iPhone range. A new design, larger screen and LTE connectivity are the key points. The smartphone is faster and enhanced from last years model. The 4S was a bit of a let down in some ways and the iPhone 5 seems to have recovered that a little. Competition is still strong though with the likes of the Galaxy S III and other smartphones that are also enhancing with features.

As for a release date, the iPhone 5 launched on the 21st September and pre-orders begin on the 14th. Price wise, there is an increase from £499 to £529 for the base 16GB model although contracts in the US look to be about the same. The 3GS has also dropped from sale now and the iPhone 4 is now the base model iPhone with the 4S being the mid-range and 5 being the flagship.

Full details at Apple.com

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