Thursday, September 13, 2012

Apple Announces Brand New iPhone 5

12 hours ago, Apple announced the iPhone 5 (the sixth-gen iPhone) at their San Francisco event, as expected. Everything about the phone was consistent with the recent leaks and someone following the latter may not be as amazed by the new design.

New iPod models were also announced. You can check them out here.


As the leaks showed, the iPhone 5 has a taller - 4" diagonal - Retina Display. The screen is not wider so that you can hold it in one hand comfortably. Personally, I'm very happy about this. Those large and wide Samsung and HTC phones are not comfortable to use with less than two hands. Old apps run in regular size on the display (letterboxed) until they are optimized by the developers.

The back is not glass anymore. Most of the back is aluminum (white model) or anodized aluminum (black model). There is a two-tone back. According to Apple, parts of the phone are diamond-cut and are made with a level of precision never seen before on their phones.

There are three microphones on the body for superior noise-cancellation. The new iPhone comes with Apple EarPods - an earphone design refresh. They claim to have based their R&D on the ears of over 600 people and designed the headphones to fit most people better. In my opinion, they look really ugly on the outside and the name sounds really weird (although we'll get habituated). They can be purchased very soon (even before the release of the iPhone 5) so we'll know their quality when they are out.

The camera has the same specs, but there's a minor upgrade in the parts. The outermost lens is made of sapphire crystal so it's scratch-resistant and the whole camera internals take up less space.

The iPhone 5 is 18% thinner and a lot lighter than the previous iPhones. Go any thinner and we will be able to snap them easily. I think they should have not bothered to make it thinner. Instead, they could fill up all that extra space with battery.


The iPhone 5 comes with a new A6 chip, which Apple boasts is twice as fast as the A5 CPU. It also has worldwide LTE compatibility. The iPhone 5 will get 4G in many different countries, across Europe  and Asia, even.

The camera on the back records 1080p video and even shoots 28-megapixel panoramas. The camera on the front received a massive upgrade as well. It's now a FaceTime HD camera, similar to the one on recent MacBooks, with 720p capability.

Battery life is improved as well. Apple says that you can get 10 hours of video playback and Wi-Fi browsing on a full charge or 8 hours of talk-time on 3G.

Apple finally changed the connector cable as well. To complement the high-speed Thunderbolt ports on Mac, iPhone now has something called Lightning. The port is smaller and the cable goes in both ways. It's an update people shouldn't whine about, since the previous cable has been the same for over ten years since the first iPod. There is also a $29 adapter that lets you use old accessories.


The iPhone 5 is the first device to come pre-loaded with iOS 6 (the update lands for older devices on September 19th). There's the improved Siri, new Apple maps and much more, including OS-wide Facebook integration and Passbook.

An interesting thing that was announced at the special event was an all-new iTunes. The App Store, iTunes Store and the iBookstore on iOS will get a new interface. At the top, there's a new carousel design that showcases the highlights of the week. These improvements and minor tweaks will land on the desktop version of iTunes in October, with a brand new iTunes app. The interface now looks different, there's a new mini-player and a redesigned store. Playlist management has changed as well.

Apple did not highlight performance improvements in the Windows version of iTunes, which disappointed me. I still hope the new version isn't sluggish like all the previous versions.


iPhone 5 releases in stores on September 21 in the US, Singapore, Australia and several other countries (check your country's Apple website). Pre-orders start from September 14 and shipping starts on September 21 as well. Apple mentioned during the keynote that this will be the fastest rollout for iPhone ever. Very soon, the phone will be available in hundreds of countries in various continents.