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Phones

It's here: Apple announces iPhone 5

Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 this morning, with a larger, 4-inch display, 4G radios compatible with Australian networks and a smaller docking port dubbed Lightning.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 this morning, with a larger, 4-inch display, 4G radios compatible with Australian networks and a smaller docking port dubbed Lightning.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Apple expects to have the new iPhone in store on 21 September.

At a launch event in San Francisco, Apple's Phil Schiller revealed the updated handset, pointing out that while the handset's display is larger, it retains the same pixel density as previous versions and earns the Apple Retina display title. Apple is also boasting that the display will offer 44 per cent more colour saturation.

The new model will feature 4G radios, with support for the 4G networks on Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile in Australia.

Powering the new iPhone, Apple has created new silicon, called the A6 processor, which it promises will be twice as fast and offer twice the graphics performance. As an example, Apple predicted that loading the Music app with a database of tracks will be 1.9 times faster than the same process on the iPhone 4S.

Apple has also focused its efforts on improving the day-to-day battery life of the phone. While Apple never reveals the size of batteries used in its mobile products, Schiller told the audience at today's briefing that the new iPhone could last for 8 hours of calls on a 3G network, 10 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi and 40 hours of music playback.

New battery life claims. (Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Physically, the iPhone 5 is slimmer and lighter than previous models, constructed from glass and aluminium. The handset measures in at just 7.6mm in thickness.

"The hardware and software engineering that has gone into this product has been the most challenging yet," said Schiller.

In line with recent speculation, Apple has also modified the size of the charging and docking port on the base of the phone. Schiller said that this new adapter is called Lightning, and that it is 80 per cent smaller than the older, 30-pin connector. It has an adaptive interface, so it can be plugged in any direction, and Apple claims that it should be more durable than previous designs. There is no word on whether the Lightning port supports faster data transfers or battery recharging.

Apple's Phil Schiller on stage in San Francisco. (Credit: James Martin/CNET)

During the announcement, Cook quoted a price of US$199 for the 16GB iPhone 5, though this price is only applicable to US customers who then sign a contract with one of Apple's telco partners. In Australia, we are expecting that all current iPhone vending carriers will range the new model, with pricing to be announced closer to the launch timing.

Apple's outright Australian pricing for the new iPhone 5 handsets has the 16GB at AU$799, the 32GB at AU$899 and the 64GB at AU$999.