With the eyes of the world watching, Apple has introduced the latest version of its iPhone smartphone overnight in California, and while the intense degree of scrutiny the product was under in recent weeks and months meant we pretty much knew almost exactly what we were getting, the result is still a mightily impressive-looking, highly refined device that is likely to continue the series' ongoing commercial success.
After a somewhat muted reception a year ago to its predecessor, the iPhone 4S (a conservative upgrade deemed neither new or exciting), the pressure was on Apple today to deliver a product that offered a little freshness and pizazz, and the iPhone 5 looks to have that in spades.
The device features a handsome redesign in its new two-tone aluminium casing, which is both taller and thinner than the iPhone 4S. The screen size has been expanded to 4 inches diagonally (up from 3.5 inches), meaning the phone is taller but has the same width as before; a canny acknowledgement of dimensions the hand finds comfortable. The new resolution at 1,136 x 640 offers a better fit for 16:9 widescreen video.
The 20-per-cent lighter weight (112 grams) will be noticeable, but the device's reduced volume still manages to find space for upgraded internals including a new, faster A6 processor, improved battery life and redesigned 8-megapixel camera. The new iPhone is 4G, and significantly -- after Apple got its fingers burned with the '4G' iPad that didn't deliver on Australian 4G infrastructure -- the iPhone 5 is compatible with Telstra and Optus' 4G networks.
The iPhone 5 is available in two models (white & silver, or black & slate) and will be on sale in Australia from next Friday 21 September. Pre-orders (advisable) commence this Friday 14 September. Pricing remains unchanged from the iPhone 4S's previous tiers: $799 for the 16GB model, $899 for 32GB and $999 for 64GB.
We'll have more for you today with all the latest on the iPhone 5 and Apple's other announcements overnight just as soon as we can.