Unlike the move from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S, which saw both devices use essentially the same design, it's immediately clear from looking at it that the iPhone 5 is different from the iPhone 4S. The most obvious reason for this is that it's taller, thanks to its 4-inch screen (as opposed to the 4S's 3.5-inch display). But there's more than a larger screen that sets the iPhone 5 apart from its predecessors. There are a number of under-the-hood improvements that make it a solid upgrade.
iPhone 5 Hardware Features
Some of the most significant new features in the iPhone 5 are:
- 4-inch Retina Display screen, at 1136 x 640 pixels. All previous iPhones had 3.5-inch screens. Like earlier Retina Displays, the screen offers 326 pixels per inch
- The Apple A6 processor. The iPhone 5 is the first Apple device that uses this processor, which the company claims offers twice the performance of the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S
- 4G LTE networking support and support for DC-HSDPA networks
- Dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi (support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks)
- Panoramic photos
- Lightning dock connector. This smaller, reversible dock connector uses just 9 pins as opposed to the earlier 30-pin connector.
Other elements of the phone are the same as on the iPhone 4S, including FaceTime support, A-GPS, Bluetooth, audio and video support, and more.
Like previous models, the iPhone 5 has two cameras, one on its back and the other facing the user for FaceTime video chats.
While the back camera in the iPhone 5 offers 8 megapixels and the ability to record in 1080p HD like its predecessor, a number of things are different about it. Thanks to new hardware--including a sapphire lens and the A6 processor--Apple claims that photos taken with this camera are more color faithful, captured up to 40% faster, and are better in low-light situations. It also adds support for panoramic photos of up to 28 megapixels which are created via software.
The front, FaceTime camera is substantially upgraded. It now offers 720p HD video and 1.2 megapixels.
Significant software additions in the 5, thanks to iOS 6, include:
- Apple-created Maps app, including turn-by-turn GPS navigation
- Improved Siri features
- Do Not Disturb
- FaceTime over cellular networks, where available
- Facebook integration
Capacity and Price
When bought with a two-year contract from a phone company, the iPhone 5 capacity and prices are:
16 GB - US$199
32 GB - US$299
64 GB - US$399
Without the carrier subsidy, prices are US$449, $549, and $649. Learn how to check your upgrade eligibility.
Talk: 8 hours on 3G
Internet: 8 hours on 4G LTE, 8 hours on 3G, 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Video: 10 hours
Audio: 40 hours
The iPhone 5 ships with Apple's EarPods earbuds, which are new with the devices released in fall 2012. EarPods are designed to fit more securely in the user's ear and provide better sound quality, according to Apple.
Size and Weight
4.87 inches tall by 2.31 inches wide by 0.3 inches deep
Weight: 3.95 ounces
Release date: Sept. 21, 2012 in
The phone will debut on Sept 28 in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The phone will be available in 100 countries by December 2012.
Fate of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4
In keeping with the pattern established with the iPhone 4S, the introduction of the iPhone 5 doesn't mean that all earlier models have been discontinued. While the iPhone 3GS was retired with this introduction, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are still being sold.
The 4S will be available for $99 in a 16 GB model, while the 8 GB iPhone 4 is now free with a two-year contract.