So, what’s new in the iPhone 5?

By Geoff Bowen,

Today saw the launch of the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 5, which the Cupertino-based firm describes (ever so modestly) as, “the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone”. After months of speculation, rumour and outright link bait, we can now report on exactly what’s new in Apple’s latest device.

It’s bigger, but lighter

The iPhone 5 is billed as the thinnest, lightest and fastest iPhone ever. Although it’s nearly 9mm longer than the 4S, it’s actually the same width – which should make it feel similar when held. Thanks to new components, such as a nano-SIM (44% smaller than a micro-SIM), the iPhone 5 is just 7.6mm thick and weighs 112g, which is 20% lighter than the iPhone 4s.

New and improved screen

The extra 9mm in length helps accommodate the new 4-inch retina display. This new screen gives 18% more pixels than the 4S, resulting in a resolution of 1136×640. The saturation has been boosted by 44%, which helps to boost the depth of the display’s colours.

Thunderbolts and lightning!

One of the worst kept secrets about the iPhone 5 was the rumoured change to its connector. Unfortunately (for those with existing docks) we can now confirm that the 30-pin connector has indeed been replaced with a much smaller, all-digital, ‘Lightning’ connector which is also reversible – meaning you can insert it either way up. Apple have said that this new connector was necessary in order to produce the thinner and lighter form factor. A 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter is available for those who don’t wish to upgrade their existing accessories.

Faster inside and out

The iPhone 5 will support the new high-speed 4G service that’s being rolled out by Everything Everywhere (now ‘EE’) later this year, and by other networks in 2013. The new device also supports the 802.11n wireless standard, allowing for speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The iPhone’s new A6 processor is reported to be up to twice as fast as the previous A5 chip. It also offers greater graphics performance which will obviously appeal to those who enjoy playing games on their iPhone. The A6 is reported to be extremely power efficient, providing up to 8 hours of mobile browsing, although we’ve obviously not had a chance to verify this yet.

Better (and wider) photos

The iPhone 5’s new iSight rear-facing camera allows you to record 1080p HD video and comes complete with improved stabilisation to help prevent shaky footage. For regular pictures, the new camera provides 40% faster photo capture and better low-light performance. Another feature, which was previously handled by 3rd party apps, is the new panorama mode which sees the gyroscope and camera app work together to capture a seamless high-res panorama of up to 28 megapixels and up to 240 degrees.

Round-up of other changes

FaceTime can now be used over a mobile connection (rather than just Wi-Fi), although we’re unsure on which UK networks will provide support for this.

Apple have replaced the default Google Maps with their own app, which includes real-time traffic information and a new Flyover perspective, which enables you to explore areas from above with a photo-realistic, interactive 3D view.

There are also new EarPods, which the firm states have been ‘completely re-imagined from the sound up’. These should hopefully be more comfortable than their predecessors, whilst also providing better sound quality.

We’ll bring you further details and a full review in due course.