Apple Announces iPhone 5, Support Added for Global LTE Networks
Apple unveiled the newest generation of its popular smartphone, the iPhone 5. The new version is the sixth iteration of the device first unveiled in 2007, and introduces several new features, most notably support for high-speed LTE networks and a larger, 4” display. The form factor is slightly taller but it remains the same width, and the device is lighter and thinner than its predecessor.
The iPhone 5 will be available in black and white, and now comes with an aluminum back in lieu of the glass seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Internal changes include a new and faster processor, the A6, with improved graphics capabilities, a 720p front-facing camera, support for 150Mbps 802.11(n) Wi-Fi, and a new microphone setup that Apple says will improve voice quality. Apple claims that battery life will be improved as well, and the iPhone 5 will be capable of eight hours of LTE surfing and 225 hours of standby.
The iPhone 5 utilizes a new nano-SIM card that will be supported by mobile operators worldwide, including on their LTE networks. Roaming capabilities will be limited however, due to the use of different LTE frequencies around the world. This means that U.S. iPhone buyers with AT&T will only be able to roam on Canadian LTE networks, and Verizon and Sprint customers will only be able to roam in Japan. The globally focused unlocked models will support LTE networks in Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. All iPhone 5 models will be able to roam using the HSPA+ standard, which is branded in many countries as 4G and provides speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
In addition to the new iPhone model, Apple outlined features of the new iOS 6 operating system. IOS 6 will offer improved Facebook integration and an improved version of the Siri voice command system, which several automakers will provide integration for in the coming year. The built-in maps app will include turn-by-turn navigation and a new 3D flyover capability. Most notably for travelers, iOS6 adds Passbook,a mobile wallet, which will hold electronic gift cards, tickets, and can act as a boarding pass without the need for a third party app or Internet connection.
The new iPhone will be available in the U.S. on September 21, and iOS 6 will be available as a free update on September 19.