As was widely expected, Apple on Wednesday unveiled the iPhone 5, the newest entrant into its smartphone lineup. The iPhone 5 sports a taller screen, a new dock connector port, LTE support, and other refinements.
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, took the wraps off the new iPhone for press gathered at the company's San Francisco event, calling the device "the most beautiful product we've ever made, bar none." The iPhone 5 is made entirely of glass and aluminum, Schiller said, adding that the "exacting level of standards" exhibited by the phone is Apple's best hardware engineering to date.
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It's the thinnest and lightest iPhone, at 7.6mm thin, and 112 grams. Schiller said those measurements make it the world's thinnest smartphone. The iPhone 5 is also volumetrically smaller than the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5 keeps the Retina display moniker, but it's taller than the screens on iPhones that preceded it. The display offers 326 pixels per inch, with a 4-inch screen and 1136 x 640 resolution.
There's now a fifth row of icons on the taller home screen, and all of Apple's native apps, along with the iWork and iLife suites, have been updated on the iPhone 5 to take advantage of the larger display.
The Calendar app in landscape shows five days instead of three on the iPhone 5, for example.
Apps that aren't updated don't stretch or scale, Schiller said. Rather, such apps will display letterboxed on the iPhone 5, with black borders surrounding the centered app.
Schiller showed off apps from CNN and OpenTable, each of which had been updated for the taller iPhone display, adding in new content. In OpenTable's case, Schiller said, the developers added some of the iPad app's interface element, since the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen afforded more space for such niceties.
The iPhone 5 offers 44 percent more color saturation than the iPhone 4S, Schiller said, and because the touch sensors are integrated right into the display, it's 30 percent thinner, with sharper imagery, and less glare in sunlight.
New to the iPhone 5 is LTE, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA support. That's on top of the GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, and HSPA that the iPhone 4S offered. Schiller said that with LTE, the iPhone 5 can achieve a "theoretical maximum downlink of up to 100Mbps."
Schiller explained that the iPhone 5 uses one baseband chip for voice and data and a single radio chip. The new phone also improves upon the iPhone 4S's dynamic antenna, Schiller said, improving its ability to automatically switch to different networks as appropriate.
LTE partners for the iPhone 5 include Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the U.S, and Rogers, Fido, Bell, Telus, and more in Canada. Schiller said there are "plenty" of LTE partners in Asia, Australia, the U.K., and Germany, with lots of DC-HSDPA support in Europe as well.
The iPhone 5 also gains better Wi-Fi, with support for 802.11 a/b/g/n. The 802.11n standard is 2.4GHz and dual channel 5GHz, up to 150 Mbps, Schiller said.