iPhone 5 is everything that a smartphone owner could possibly ever desire for: It is taller, leaner, lighter, shinier and packs in much more punch than ever. But the best part lies in its price tag. Apple iPhone 5 will cost the same as its predecessor - $199, $299 and $399 for 16, 32 and 64 GB versions respectively. These prices are applicable to the operator-locked handsets in the US market. Apple did not give out the prices of unlocked variants.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will commence on September 14 and it will hit the shelves in US and UK on September 21 followed by a rollout in 20 more countries, including Canada, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, by October.
As usual, Apple did not make any announcement about its India launch plans for the iPhone 5, but it is expected to arrive in India in the first half of November.
As anticipated, Apple also announced that it is discontinuing the sale of iPhone 3GS whereas iPhone 4 8 GB model will now become the entry-level variant which will be bundled free with lock-in plans for the US customers.
The new iPhone 5 is 7.66mm thick, almost a whopping 18% thinner than its predecessor iPhone 4S, weighs just 112 gram, again 20% lighter than 4S. It packs a phenomenal 326 pixel and packs 1136x640 resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio. It has retina display and pixel density of 326.
Under the hood, the Apple iPhone runs on a quad-core Cortex A6 processor, which makes the device twice as fast as its predecessor. In fact, in another first for iPhone, the iPhone 5 uses a common chip for voice as well as data, as well as a single radio chip.
Apple, which had received a bit of flak on the battery front in the past, seems to have reworked the battery of iPhone 5. It now promises 225 hours of standby time, 8 hours of 3G and 4G LTE browsing, 8 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video playback and 40 hours of music play.
Even as there was no word on the battery upgrade from Apple, its performance in the iPhone 5 may have improved, at least statistically.
There seems to be some disappointment in store also for those who were expecting a 12 megapixel camera in iPhone 5. It sports a 8MP rear camera with panorama mode, backside illumination, hybrid IR filter, five element lens, and f/24 aperture.
Other features of the camera include dynamic low light mode, sapphire crystal and precision lens alignment, all of which is enough for iPhone 5 to be taken reasonably seriously for a prosumer camera tag. The front camera in the iPhone 5 for FaceTime will now support HD videos at 720p. It has an aluminium rear sensor and features three microphones - one each at the bottom, top and rear.
Significantly, iPhone 5 will have LTE 4G functionality that will transfer data at much faster rate. The phone will be able to switch between antennae in order to support the network.
It will be interesting to see how the market takes to the LTE-equipped iPhone 5. Rivals Samsung and HTC had a few days ago threatened Apple with patent lawsuits if it ported iPhone 5 with LTE.
Considering 4G has not been rolled out on a large scale even worldwide, it may not excite buyers in many markets, including India. However, Apple has announced just Sprint, AT&T and Verizon, in the US that will support iPhone 5 with 4G compatibility. It does not include T-Mobile which does not have the LTE offering.
Even as Cook was still unveiling the iPhone 5 in a launch that has been most awaited ever for any gadget by any company ever, the social media and blogs were keeping the internet bursting at its seams.
The media launch event took place at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco where Cook shocked everyone by suddenly taking the wraps of iPhone 5 without much ado, sending the gushing Apple aficionados into a tizzy.