Apple iPhone 5 finally unveiled

iPhone 5

Apple has finally shared one of the worst-kept secrets in tech by unveiling the iPhone 5 and latest iteration of its mobile operating system iOS6.

We've packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device.

The shiny new smartphone will be available from Friday 21st September, with pre-orders open from this Friday, 14th September. Those preferring to hang on to their existing iPhone will be able to download a free upgrade to iOS6 from Wednesday 19th September.

The iPhone 5 brings with it many enhancements over its predecessors, including 802.11 dual-band Wi-Fi and LTE support to enable super speedy downloads and multimedia consumption. It's also much thinner (18 per cent) and lighter (20 per cent) than iPhones of old, with vital statistics of 7.6mm thick and 112g weight respectively. The screen is also longer than before and battery life is touted as being much improved too with up to eight hours of talk time and up to 10 hours of video playback.

Video and audio are also beefed up and noise cancelling technology bundled with the handset will make regular conference call users much happier by eradicating troublesome background noise.

What's more, speed improvements thanks to an A6 chip, coupled with a four inch Retina display makes viewing apps, websites and more an even better experience than before, according to Apple.

"iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we've ever created. We've packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultra fast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a press release issued following the unveiling.

Meanwhile, iOS 6 brings some 200-plus new features to the iPhone party including a new Maps app, greater Facebook and Twitter integration and a more intelligent Siri.

Carphone Warehouse will be selling the device across all the major networks and expects mammoth interest from customers if previous iPhone sales are any indication. Indeed, the retailer has sold more than 1.6 million iPhones since the first generation launched back in 2007, according to its CEO Andrew Harrison.

"We know from our own insights that huge numbers of customers have held back from upgrading their smartphones in anticipation of Apple's big reveal. Indeed, we estimate that up to 15 per cent of mobile phone users in the UK will upgrade to a smartphone in the next three months and we predict that more consumers than any other handset launched this year will purchase the iPhone 5," Harrison said in a statement.

"Apple has raised the bar once again with the launch of yet another compelling device and we expect to see unprecedented demand for the handset, accessories and insurance cover. This highly anticipated handset launch alongside the 4G announcement made this week, has really set the tone to ignite the high street ahead of Christmas 2012."

Rather than just changing the phone's design and tweaking the OS, Apple has gone one step further this time and changed the charging connector too. It's a case of out with the old 30-pin connector and in with the all-new, smaller Lightening Connector which relies on eight signals to work and has the same I/O each end.

The iPhone 5 pricing starts at $199 for a 16GB version, while 32GB and 64GB will cost $299 and $399 respectively.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.