What's new in the iPhone 5

Ending months of speculation, Apple announces its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5. Here are some of its newest features.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 13, 2012 10:55AM

TheStreet.com logoBy Chris Ciaccia

 

Apple (AAPL) unveiled its iPhone 5 on Wednesday to much fanfare, ending months of speculation.

 

There had been speculation over what Apple would call the new iPhone until the company accidentally leaked the name of the new device earlier Wednesday in search terms on its Web site.

 

Even still, there are several new features which are sure to get tech pundits and consumers excited about the new phone, which is available Friday for pre-order. It will officially go on sale Sept. 21.

 

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"It's an incredibly quick start," said Phil Schiller, the company's senior vice president of marketing. "This will be our fastest phone rollout ever."

 

Here's a list of the iPhone 5's most important new features:

 

What It Looks Like

The iPhone 5 has a bigger 4-inch screen (up from 3.5-inches), has a 16 x 9 aspect ratio, is a svelte 7.6 millimeters thick and weighs just 112 grams. As Apple tries to pack more features into a thinner device, it integrated the touch sensors integrated into the display itself, making the display 30% thinner than the previous version.

 

With the larger screen, there are now five rows of apps instead of the traditional four, and users can see the 326 pixels per inch, giving the iPhone 5 a 1136 x 640 resolution. In addition, the color saturation on the screen is 44% greater than the iPhone 4S.

 

The device also comes with Retina Display and runs on 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks from AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), and Sprint (S). The speed on the LTE networks is super-fast, running at 100 megabits per second.

 

The ability to run on LTE networks plays into the company's decision to make the iPhone 5 with Retina display, as users watch video in widescreen format without letter boxing (the black bars at the top), and use apps on the larger screen.

 

Features 

Running on LTE networks allows users to watch high-quality video and download data faster. Apple has a close relationship with 4G leader Qualcomm (QCOM), so it's a good bet Qualcomm has some chips in the new phone. 4G networks are 10 times faster than 3G networks.

 

Capitalizing on the 4G networks, Apple announced its popular video service, FaceTime, would get an upgrade as well. FaceTime HD will have improved quality and run on the higher-speed networks, whereas before it was available just on Wi-Fi. Battery life is always a concern, but Apple noted that users would get eight hours of browsing on LTE networks, eight hours of talk time, and 10 hours of video playback time.

 

The new phone has an 8-megapixel camera enabled with smart filters. The camera allows you to take pictures in panoramic views, using Panorama. Users can capture a panoramic view by simply turning your camera through the scene. There's also the ability to shared photo streams with your friends, which may be a shot at Instagram. There's also the ability to shoot 1080p HD video with the iSight camera.

 

Apple also put in a new processor chip, the A6, into the iPhone 5. The A6 chip doubles the performance, and is 22% smaller than its predecessor, allowing Apple to save a lot of space inside the phone.

 

With Apple making the phone thinner, longer and packing more into the phone, the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant changed the pin connector on the bottom of the phone. It will now have 9-pins on the bottom instead of a 30-pins connector, and Apple announced the "Lightning connector" which is more durable than the previous one and reversible as well. The company also announced a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter for those who have accessories with 30-pin connectors. In addition to the connector, Apple also introduced new headphones, known as earbuds, that now come standard with iPhones and iPods.

 

Pricing for the iPhone 5 starts at $199 for the 16 GB model on a two-year contract.

 

Operating System

 Apple introduced its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, in June at its developer conference, but the tech giant showed off a few of the new features.

 

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software, showed off the new Apple Maps app, and demoed 'turn by turn' and flyover features.

 

The notification center has been enhanced, making it easier to tweet from anywhere inside the phone. Safari, Apple's web browser, also received an upgrade as a part of iOS 6.

 

Two of the more talked about features during the presentation were Passbook and Siri. Passbook is a location-aware app that lets users store discount cards, gift cards, movie tickets and boarding passes. Users can store gift cards, which some believe is Apple's first step into the mobile payment space. Siri received upgrades and can now talk about sports as well.

 

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

 

 

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Sep 14, 2012 12:44PM
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