It’s bigger, faster and thinner than the previous iPhones, but is the new iPhone 5 better than the Samsung Galaxy SIII, which is already proving a more popular?
Apple billed the launch event as the “largest consumer electronics launch in history” which is a big statement for a smartphone that appears to be catching up with the Samsung offering.
The new 4-inch display screen on the iPhone 5 has the same ‘Retina’ resolution as its predecessor, with a pixel density of 326 per inch, but it is still smaller than the 4.8″ display on the SIII.
The new Apple offering comes with a slimmer, aluminium-backed body and at this stage 4G; however, several companies who own a swag of 4G LTE patents, including Samsung and HTC, are looking to kick Apple off the 4G LTE platform claiming they are in breach of their patents.
The iPhone 5 comes in either white and silver or black and slate and will be sold in Australia for $799 for the 16GB model, $899 for the 32GB model and $999 for the 64GB model. Apple said customers could pre-order from this Friday.
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The device also has a new camera lens and a faster processor; however, owners will have to invest in new cables as Apple has chosen to follow Samsung’s lead and move to a new connector which is 80% smaller than the connector found on prior iPhones. Called Lightning, the use of the new connector will force users to buy adaptors for old cords as well as speakers, stereo systems and other accessories.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook and vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, took the stage at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, where Apple has held many past product launches, to release the newest, largest, fastest iPhone ever.
“It’s an absolute jewel,” Schiller told the crowd of fans.
Made entirely of glass and aluminium, Schiller said the new version of Apple’s flagship device is 18 percent thinner than before and 20 percent lighter than the 4S.
“This is the most challenging project our engineering team has ever taken on… it’s made entirely from glass and aluminium,” he said.
The first thing you notice is the iPhone 5 body is noticeably longer than the previous model. It’s also thinner – from 9.3mm to 7.6mm – due to the combining of the touch sensitivity with the screen’s LCD panel.
While the new device can use the 1800MHz spectrum offered by Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile to deliver high-speed 4G, the big questions now is whether HTC and Samsung will move to get the new phone banned claiming a breach of their LTE 4G patents.
The iPhone 5 will run a new version of the software, deemed IOS6. It contains mapping software with turn by turn directions and satellite imagery, a full screen version of the Safari web browser and an improved version of the Siri voice-control system.
“We think you’re going to love it,” said Scott Forstall, senior vice president of software for the company.
Under the bonnet, the iPhone 5 has a new Apple A6 processor that Mr Schiller promised would deliver twice the performance of the previous chip, and new camera updates with a built-in panoramic mode, digital noise reduction and a better front-facing camera.
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Since launch 8 weeks ago Samsung has sold 20 million new Galaxy SIII smartphones.
Research firm Telsyte estimates more than 4.5 million Apple iPhones were in use in Australia by the end of June.
Samsung and Motorola recently unveiled 4G-compatible smartphones due to arrive in Australia soon – the Galaxy S III 4G and RAZR M – both of which offer screens larger than 4 inches in size, thin bodies and fast processors.