iPhone 5 debuts with 4-inch screen, A6 chip, upgraded camera with panorama functionality and more

As expected, Apple today introduced the iPhone 5 and there's a lot to discuss.

As expected, Apple today introduced the iPhone 5 and there's a lot to discuss.

First off, yes, the iPhone 5 does sport a larger 4-inch display. Remarkably, it's 18% lighter and 20% thinner than the iPhone 4S. Measuring in at just 7.6mm, Apple calls it the thinnest smartphone in the world. Going back to the display, it's a Retina Display of course with a resolution of 1136x640. And with the added space thanks to the larger screen, the iPhone homescreen now has 5 rows of icons, sans of course the YouTube app which one must now download from the iTunes App Store.

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Software wise, Apple also announced that all of their apps will be updated to take advantage of the extra screen real estate, from iPhoto and iMovie to Keynote and Pages. With respect to apps that aren't updated to take advantage of the bigger display, they will be letterboxed.

Another feature, and one that was previously rumored, is the use of in-cell touch technology which puts the touch sensors right onto the display itself. Not only does this help make the device thinner but it makes multitouch use that much more accurate.

Cellular wise, the iPhone 5 does support LTE, along with HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA.

And running the ship of course is Apple's A6 chip, which Phil Schiller proudly proclaimed was two times faster than the A5.

Incredibly, on a device that's thinner with a larger screen and LTE, Apple claims to not only have matched battery life on the iPhone 4S, but improve upon it. We're talking 8 hours of LTE and 3G talk time, 8 hours of web browsing, 8 hours of wi-fi web browsing, 10 hours of video playback, and 40 hours of audio playback.

Apple also made significant improvements to the camera, with photo capture now registering 40% faster than on the iPhone 4S. One seemingly cool feature is the ability to capture panoramas.

The video camera has improved to the extent that Apple has improved videos stability, added in face detection, and a feature that has been available on some Android phones - the ability to take a photo while taking a video.

Price wise, there are three price points for the iPhone 5 - $199, $299, and $399 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models respectively. The iPhone 3GS is out of the lineup now, replaced by an 8GB iPhone 4 that's free with contract. Meanwhile, a 16GB iPhone 4S is now available for $199 with contract.

Pre-orders begin on September 14th with shipments beginning a week later on the 21st.

As for iOS 6, that will be available as a free download starting on September 19.


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