After months of eager anticipation, Apple has finally unveiled the iPhone 5. If you're considering a purchase of the new model, here's a simplified side-by-side comparison of the key specs you should be aware of that differentiate it from the iPhone 4S, with an analysis of the important changes following.
| ||iPhone 5||iPhone 4S|
||123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
||115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm
||1,136 x 640 (Retina)
||960 x 640 (Retina)
(with face detection and
||FaceTime (via 3G and Wi-Fi)
||FaceTime (Wi-Fi only)
||8 hours (talktime)
225 hours (standby)
|7 hours (talktime)
200 hours (standby)
|Capacity & Price
(32GB & 64GB also available)
|16GB only, $679
(new price, formerly from $799)
The biggest change is the most obvious: the physical redesign has enabled the iPhone 5 to be simultaneously taller, thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S (12 per cent less volume all up), with a longer, more vibrant 16:9 display offering a greater vertical resolution (which should better fit movies and provide more finger wiggle-room for games).
Under the hood, the new A6 processor is claimed to offer twice the speed and graphics performance of the iPhone 4S's A5, and the upgrade to 4G LTE is a massive, much-needed boon for the iPhone (which will make progressively more sense as the Australian 4G market broadens and matures).
The new camera and video refinements are nice to have, and while the Lightning connector is an irksome adjustment (likely to be a financial pain for anybody invested in current-30-pin connector accessories... which is practically every iDevice user in the world), according to Apple it was necessary in order to make the overall iPhone 5 casing as small as it is. Swings and roundabouts, folks. (Although there's also this theory.)
Looking at the above, you can see the iPhone 5 offers a comprehensive upgrade over the specs and feature set of the iPhone 4S. No, it's not the radical new do-over some were hoping for -- and it still attracts fairly premium pricing -- but it's unarguably an attractive update and overall refinement of the iPhone series. Frankly -- and I say this as an Android user -- if people are seriously disappointed by this iPhone then they've let Apple's prowess with reality distortion get the better of them. You can't surprise with all of the iPhones all of the time.
One final factor to bear in mind is that iOS 6 -- which comes pre-installed on the iPhone 5 -- will be available to every other iPhone (from the 3GS onwards) from next Wednesday 19 September. It won't be able to upgrade your current device's specs, but it will help narrow the gap a little between the iPhone 5 and previous models, providing new features and functionalities that should breathe a bit of new life into your current device.
Note: The above is a streamlined rundown based on the specifications Apple released at launch. If you want to drill down further into the nitty gritty, you should definitely check out the details on Apple's web site.