The iPhone 5 is also the company’s first 4G LTE phone. The phone will be compatible with the high-speed LTE networks of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, in addition to many global LTE networks: Virgin in Canada, Singtel and Telstra in Australasia, and Deutsche Telekom in Europe.
The new model also includes “ultrafast” wireless, which incorporates the 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi, giving the iPhone 5 more bandwith overall.
A new processor, the Apple A6, powers the device. Apple says it’s twice as fast as its predecessor, 22% smaller and that it’s more power efficient — increasing performance while using less battery life.
The iPhone’s camera also got an upgrade. It’s still an 8-megapixel sensor, but it’s 25% smaller and includes more features. Dynamic low light mode is said to give you better pictures without using the flash, and other enhancements, such as spatial noise reduction and a smart filter, will improve image quality as well. Apple says the upgraded camera will snap pics 40% faster.
There’s also a built-in panorama mode for capturing massive widescreen pictures.
Apple has also shrunk the dock connector of the iPhone, replacing the aging 30-pin connector with a much smaller jack, which it dubs the “Lightning” connector, a riff on the Thunderbolt port that’s a feature of today’s Macs. Although a new connector effectively renders older accessories obsolete, Apple says Bose, JBL and Bang & Oulefson are already working on devices compatible with it.
The new iPhone includes improvements to voice calls, too. It’s now equipped with three separate microphones — on the front, on the bottom and on the back. Apple says the multiple mics will help Siri’s performance. The earpiece is equipped with more noise cancellation, and there’s also now “wideband audio” technology, which is said to make voice calls more natural — similar to HTC’s HD Voice tech in the Evo 4G LTE.
The iPhone 5 goes on sale Sept. 21 in the U.S., Canada, Japan, the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. It has similar pricing to its predecessors, starting at $199 for 16GB of storage with a two-year contract, and there are 32GB and 64GB models available for $299 and $399, respectively. Pre-orders start Sept. 14. Apple says the phone will be available in 100 countries on 240 wireless carriers by the end of the year.
Apple is keeping the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in its lineup. The iPhone 4 (8GB) is now free with a contract, and the iPhone 4S (16GB) costs $99. The iPhone 3GS appears to be discontinued.