And so it arrives. Apple pulled the curtain aside in San Francisco yesterday to reveal the latest, thinnest, lightest, fastest iPhone, with aluminium frame, longer battery life and over 200 new apps.
"iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we've ever created," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "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, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it."
The 4-inch Retina display on iPhone 5 has more pixels than the iPhone 4S, but Apple have opted for a taller, rather than a wider, screen. This means the phone is designed to remain a one-hand device. Apps have been included that take advantage of the new display and widescreen HD videos should look better.
The handset's 7.6mm anodized aluminum body is, according to Apple, 18% thinner and 20% lighter than iPhone 4S. The company was keen to point out its "diamond cut chamfered edges and glass inlays" that give it "a truly incredible fit and finish".
iPhone 5 supports faster wireless standards including LTE and DC-HSDPA, and Apple has included a single-radio LTE solution that it says "provides blazing fast speeds while fitting perfectly into the new remarkably thin design".
While iPhone 5 features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for a wireless experience up to 150 Mbps, Apple admits that these speeds are theoretical and may not be available to everyone.
The 8-megapixel iSight camera has undergone a redesign. Despite being 25% smaller than the camera in iPhone 4S, Apple claims it suffers no degradation in performance. It features a sapphire crystal lens cover that is designed to be thinner and more durable than standard glass with the ability to provide crystal-clear images.
The new panorama feature allows wide-capture of images of up to 28 megapixels by smooth movement of the camera across a scene. New video features include improved stabilization, video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos as you record. A new FaceTime HD front-facing camera can be used for self portraits and recording 720p HD video. iPhone 5 also allows the sharing of photos through iCloud's Shared Photo Streams.
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New audio features include a beam-forming, directional microphone system and enhanced noise-canceling technology; and support for cellular wideband audio for "crisper word clarity and more natural-sounding speech". However, although wideband audio is supported, this feature will only work if the carrier supports it. Apple said that at the time of the iPhone 5 launch, some 20 carriers worldwide had agreed to provide this service.
The new operating system, iOS 6, comes with over 200 new user features including: a new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and Apple-designed Flyover view, and Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center.
Neither Etisalat nor Du could be reached for comment yesterday on pricing, availability or LTE compatibility of the iPhone 5 in the UAE. Earlier this week Dubai daily 7DAYS reported a likely availability of the end of September, but given that Apple has announced a European rollout to 22 countries on September 28, the UAE may have to wait a little longer for "the world's thinnest smartphone".