iPhone 5: It’s here!

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The iPhone 5 is finally here after much anticipation by many including myself.  I’ve never had an iPhone before or an Android as I’m a Blackberry user, but for the last year I had been looking to upgrade to an iPhone and see how I adjust.  Some of my buddies who are gadget geeks urged me to wait for the iPhone 5 which would be coming.  They didn’t know when, but were estimating June 2012.  That obviously didn’t happen and then the rumors continued to swirl around.  It was the only time I got caught in the cloud of the iPhone 5 rumor mill.  I was never one to race out when a product was released as I never cared that much, but this one takes the cake as I’ve been very patient which is not my strong suit.

Here is what you can expect after the unveiling today:

THE iPHONE 5

  • We can finally put the debate to rest — Apple’s newest mobile juggernaut is called the iPhone 5 (despite actually being the sixth iPhone to hit the market). It’s 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S, 18% thinner, and crafted out of (what else?) glass and aluminum.
  • Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will begin on Friday, September 14, and the device will ship to lucky consumers starting on September 21. As usual, the device will be available in 16, 32, and 64GB models, which will cost $199, $299, and $399 respectively with a two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.
  • The long-rumored (and handsome) two-toned design is indeed legitimate, as is the new iPhone’s larger 4-inch Retina Display. And yes, that 16:9 display runs at 1136 x 640 with five rows of icons. According to Schiller, it’s “the most accurate display in the industry” because the touch sensors are embedded in the display as well.
  • As expected, Apple has also unveiled a brand new chipset for the iPhone 5: the A6, which Schiller says is a full two times faster than the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S
  • The iPhone 4S’s battery life wasn’t anything to write home about, but the iPhone 5 seems equipped to do much better — 8 hours of 3G talk time, as well as 8 hours of 3G and LTE web browsing to be precise.
  • The iPhone’s audio system has been bolstered with a smaller (but improved speaker). There are also now three microphones in the mix: one on the front, one on the back, and another on the bottom.
  • That oft-rumored miniature Dock Connector is real: it’s all-digital, has eight pins and it’s called “Lightning.” Yes, there’s an adapter for it, but no word yet on exactly what it will cost you.

CONNECTIVITY

  • It’s hardly a surprise at this point, but the iPhone 5 packs support for Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T’s LTE networks here in the States. What’s really impressive is that combined that LTE support with 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi onto a single “ultra fast” chip.
  • Despite what a handful of leaks pointed to in the weeks leading up to the event, there’s been no mention of an integrated NFC chip yet.

CAMERA

  • Smartphone cameras are really starting to give their point-and-shoot brethren a run for their money (think Nokia’s PureView and HTC’s ImageSense tech), but instead of running up the megapixel count, Apple has stuck with an 8-megapixel camera. That said, the backside-illuminated sensor is smaller, and features much better low-light performance.
  • App developers may be bummed to know that the camera now also has a built-in panorama mode. The revamped camera also supports 1080p video capture, and users can now snap photos while recording video at the same time. I wonder how HTC feels about that.
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