Apple’s latest product, the iPhone 5, was unveiled to the world last night at an exclusive event in San Francisco.
The much-hyped phone, of which there have been rumours and leaked photos in the months building up to the launch, was finally displayed and detailed by Phil Schiller – Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing. The late Steve Jobs was renowned for his enthusiasm at emceeing the company’s announcements.
The new phone is taller, 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter than its predecessor the iPhone 4s though it does not have an NFC (near field communications) chip, which some people expected.
The iPhone 5 will also be 4G-enabled while the added height will allow an extra row of application icons on its home screen.
Apple said the handsets will begin to ship and possibly be available from September 21.
The new screen has a 16:9 ratio, similar to that of widescreen televisions and some cinemas but its 4inch size is still smaller than the display of many of its rivals, notably Samsung, Nokia, LG and HTC.
The latest iPhone also encompasses a new Apple-design chip named the A6, which is believed to be twice as powerful as the chips run in previous models.
The iPhone 5’s camera – an area in which Apple has often lagged behind its rivals – has an eight-megapixel lens, the same as in the iPhone 4s and continues to have a lower specification than some of its rivals.
Schiller insisted though the associated software would create better photographs in low light than before.
As many of the rumours before the launch suggested, the new handset will use a new, smaller, socket for its charger meaning owners of existing iPhones will need to buy new chargers and owners of iPhone enabled equipment, such as speakers, will need to buy adaptors to continue using their accessories.
Unlike Nokia’s latest model the Lumia 920, the iPhone 5 does not offer wireless charging.
The new iPhone will come with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage, depending on the model. Prices will range from $199 to $399 with a 24-month contract.
Apple said it will continue to sell the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4 models but will slowly phase out the iPhone 3GS.