Apple takes wraps off iPhone 5, 4 inch screen and all

The device comes with a revamped design, 4 inch Retina display, and is 20 percent lighter than its predecessor.

As expected, Apple has announced the iPhone 5.

The object of much anticipation and speculation over the last several months, the iPhone 5 delivers most of what industry observers had expected. The smartphone is made of glass and aluminum and all of the buttons are in the same places.

According to Apple, the device is 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S, measuring just 7.6mm. It's also 20 percent lighter than its predecessor at 112 grams. The company is calling the aluminum backplate -- which has been shown in several leaked images over the last several weeks -- the "slate."

Apple's Phil Schiller showing off the new iPhone 5.
Apple's Phil Schiller showing off the new iPhone 5. James Martin/CNET

One of the biggest additions is the new 4 inch display, besting its predecessor's 3.5-inch screen. The device once again comes with the Retina display and has the same 326 pixels per inch found in the iPhone 4S. In terms of resolution, users can expect 1,136 x 640, Apple senior vice president for worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller said today during the unveiling. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio.

With the bigger displays comes more space for your goodies. In fact, Apple says that the device will be able to accommodate a fifth row of icons. Previously, Apple's iPhones only supported four rows of icons.

Apple says that it has updated its software, including iLife, iWork, and the native apps, among others, to accommodate the larger display. In addition, the company will allow developers to update their apps to work with the larger screen.

Moving onto the Web, Apple announced that, as expected, the iPhone 5 will come with support for 4G LTE service, delivering what it calls "Ultrafast Wireless." The device's LTE service will be available in the U.S. on the Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T networks.

In addition, Apple says that the platform will offer up HSPA+ and DC-HSPDA. On the Wi-Fi side, the device will boast support for 802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals.

Apple's ultrafast wireless is coming to the iPhone 5.
Apple's ultrafast wireless is coming to the iPhone 5. James Martin/CNET

Performance-wise, Apple is making some big promises, thanks to its inclusion of the A6 processor. According to Schiller, the chip is 22 percent smaller than the previous A5, featured in the iPhone 4S, but is twice as fast and doubles the graphics performance of its predecessor. Saving an image from an iPhoto app, for example, is 1.7-times faster on an iPhone 5 than on the iPhone 4S.

Despite the LTE and better chip, Apple is promising strong battery life in the iPhone 5. The company claims it'll deliver 8 hours of 3G talk time and 8 hours of LTE browsing. On standby, the device will last 225 hours on a single charge, the company says.

Apple showing off its new iPhone 5 camera.
Apple showing off its new iPhone 5 camera. James Martin/CNET

Given the popularity of the iPhone's iSight camera, it's not surprising that it has been updated, as well. According to Apple, the camera now comes with an 8-megapixel sensor and 3,264 x 2,448 resolution. Backside illumination, a five-element lens, and better low-light performance are just a few of the upgrades that have made their way to the iSight. Users will also be able to take panoramic shots, thanks to built-in software.

As one might expect, the camera also supports video capture. Apple says that the lens will deliver 1080p video and facial detection for up to 10 people. As Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year , FaceTime, the company's video chatting feature, is available on both Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Apple says that it has bundled an additional speaker in the iPhone 5, bringing the grand total to three. The device will also come with a noise-canceling earpiece to improve call quality.

Not willing to leave anything untouched, Apple also took to its Dock connector and replaced it with a new one. According to the company, the 30-pin connector is now being replaced by an all-digital connector, called Lightning. The connector is 80 percent smaller than the 30-pin connector and according to Apple, will deliver "improved durability" and be "easier to use."

Say hello to Lightning.
Say hello to Lightning James Martin/CNET

The trouble with the smaller connector, however, is that it's not compatible with accessories featuring the old design. To make good on that, Apple's Schiller also unveiled a new adapter that will allow the iPhone 5 to connect to standard, 30-pin ports. For the low, low price of $29.

The Lightning adapter.
The Lightning adapter. James Martin/CNET

Apple's handset will ship in the customer's choice of white or black, and run on iOS 6. The device will offer the same storage options as its predecessor -- 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB -- and come with identical pricing of $199 to $399, depending on storage needs, with a two-year contract.

iPhone 5 pricing.
iPhone 5 pricing. James Martin/CNET

Meanwhile, Apple has decided to kill off the iPhone 3GS and cut the price of its iPhone 4 8GB device to free. The iPhone 4S will be available in its 16GB flavor for $99.

Apple's new iPhone pricing.
Apple's new iPhone pricing. James Martin/CNET

Apple plans to open pre-orders for the iPhone 5 on September 14. The device will hit store shelves on September 21.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

 

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