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Apple struts lighter, faster, bigger iPhone 5

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 13, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company executives today unveiled the iPhone 5, a faster, slimmer upgrade that for the first time in the five-year history of the smartphone, boasts a larger screen of 4 inches.

"They'll gain market share on all fronts," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "The iPhone 3GS had an industrial design that stuck out, but these three look like they're from the same family. And the [free] iPhone 4 is the value proposition."

On the outside, the iPhone 5 looks dramatically different from 2011's iPhone 4S. "It is the most beautiful product we have ever made, bar none," said Philip Schiller, who heads Apple's marketing.

Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage after the introduction of the iPhone 5 during Apple Inc.'s iPhone media event in San Francisco on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters/Beck Diefenbach)

The iPhone 5 takes the tape at 4.9-in., about 7% taller than all previous models. It's thinner -- just 0.3-in., or 7.6 millimeters -- by 18% and lighter by approximately 20% compared to the iPhone 4S. Its 4-in. screen boasts an 1136-x-640-pixel resolution. The case is a combination of aluminum and glass, with the chassis composed of the former.

The new 16:9 aspect ratio will display existing iPhone apps in their current resolution, with black bars either beside the app, if the iPhone is held in landscape fashion, or at the top and bottom if held in portrait fashion. "All your software works just like before," Schiller said.

"Developers don't have to change their apps," said Milanesi. "They will, of course, take advantage [of the larger screen] when they create their next versions. But you can buy an iPhone 5 today and not feel all of a sudden that thousands of apps are suddenly not relevant."

Apple used that same strategy in 2010 when it launched its first iPad, making it possible to run iPhone apps on the new, larger-screen tablet.

Inside, the iPhone 5 relies on an Apple-designed A6 chip that Schiller said was approximately twice as fast as the A4 in last year's model. Apple revealed no details about the A6, however, such as its clock speed and the number of cores it contains.

The iPhone 5 also supports the faster LTE data networks operated by some carriers worldwide. In the U.S., Verizon has the largest LTE network. "It just screams," Schiller said.

"After the Samsung trial, Apple has addressed the two things that people love about Samsung phones ... they have larger screens and LTE," said Moorhead. "Well, look, Apple just rolled out a larger display and LTE."

Powering the iPhone 5 is a larger battery that Apple rated at 8 hours of both talk time and browsing over 3G, as well as 8 hours of browsing using LTE. The talk time number is identical to the 4S, but 33% more on 3G browsing. Apple claimed the iPhone 5 runs 225 hours in standby mode, 12.5% longer than the iPhone 4S.

 

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