Apple unveils 4″, 16:9 iPhone 5 with new A6 processor

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By Kathleen De Vere Comments

Apple has unveiled its latest model of iPhone, the iPhone 5. Revealed in a dramatic fashion by Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, the iPhone 5 is constructed entirely out of glass and aluminium, is 7.6 mm thick and 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S.

As was heavily rumoured, the iPhone 5 has different dimensions, featuring a 4 inch screen, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, 1136 x 640 screen resolution and a Retina display with 326 PPI. Apple has also integrated the touch sensors for the iPhone directly into the display. Apple has improved the battery life over the iPhone 4S as well. According to today’s keynote, the iPhone 5 will be able to handle 8 hours of talk and 3G browsing time.

Schiller also revealed that Apple has updated the wireless capabilities of the iPhone 5, adding support for LTE, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA. Apple has been working with carriers around the world on the technology, including Verizon, Sprint and AT&T in the U.S. On the Wi-Fi front, the iPhone 5 features 2.4ghz and 5ghz antenna on 802.11n, giving users download speeds up to 150 Mbps.

The iPhone 5 is powered by a new A6 chip that promises to double the speed of the CPU and graphics processing. Apple showed off the quality of the device by bringing out EA executive producer Rob Murray to demo Real Racing 3 on the iPhone 5. The game featured console quality graphics and what appeared to be synchronous multiplayer powered by Game Center.

Apple has also improved the camera on the iPhone 5, upgrading it to 8 megapixel camera that is 25 percent smaller than the one in the iPhone 4S. The new camera supports dynamic low light mode, precision lens alignment and features a sapphire crystal. The camera now has a f/2.4 aperture, 3264 x 2448 resolution and supports a new mode called Panorama that allows users to stitch together multiple pictures to form seamless panoramas — a move that will be a blow to developers of the many panorama picture apps currently available on iOS. The A6 processor also allows for 40 percent faster photo capture. Video-wise, the iPhone 5 can take 1080p video, has improved video stability and face detection, and allows users to take photos while shooting video. Apple also announced it has refreshed the front facing camera on the iPhone 5 with 720p, backside illumination and face detection. Schiller also revealed users should be able to make FaceTime calls over 3G.

The iPhone 5 features 3 microphones and redesigned speakers that is 20 percent smaller than those found on previous models. Headphones are now noise cancelling.

As was expected, Apple also redesigned the physical iPhone 5 connector cable as well. The new cable, called Lightning, is 80 percent smaller and reversible — a move that addresses a long time source of frustration among iOS device users. The cable is also all digital, features an 8-signal design, with an adaptive interface and is reportedly more durable than the previous version. Apple will provide an adaptor as well, since many accessories will not support the new form factor.

Price-wise, the iPhone 5 will come in three tiers, identical to the initial pricing of the iPhone 4S. With a two year contract, the 16 GB model will cost $199, the 32 GB $299 and the 64 GB $399. The device will be available for pre-order on Sept. 14 and will be available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore on Sept. 21.