Apple has shown off the long-anticipated upgrade for its iPhone range, with the LTE enabled iPhone 5.
The new model is also claimed to be the thinnest smartphone on the market at just 7.6 mm thick, comes with a larger 4″ screen, which also now comes in the industry standard 16:9 aspect ratio. Although the screen size has been enlarged, it is still smaller than comparable models from its handset rivals.
The new smartphone is also 20% lighter than its previous model. The camera is the same as the previous model at 8 megapixels, although upgraded software is said to improve photography in low light situations.
The handset will come with the improved A6 chip, designed by Apple and is said to be twice as fast as its predecessor.
The most significant omission though was the second upgrade to miss off NFC compatibility for mobile payments.
Fred Huet, Managing Director at Greenwich Consulting noted that the “decision to omit NFC in the iPhone 5 could cost Apple. It is just a matter of time before the smartphone replaces the plastic card, and by skipping this technology, Apple may have missed a valuable opportunity to take the lead in this market.”
The other downside for existing Apple users was the expected confirmation that the connectors will be a different size, requiring a replacement of accessories, or the use of an adaptor the company will offer as an extra.
The iPhone 5 will also use the latest version of the iOS software, which will also be offered as a free upgrade to owners of older iPhones from the second generation (3GS) upwards.
The LTE connectivity is also compatible with networks outside the USA, and the added support for DC-HSPA will fill in European markets where LTE is not available. China was not mentioned in the presentation, although it is expected that a purpose built model will be available shortly.
The new iPhone will go on sale in retail stores on the 21st September with a retail price in the USA of US$199 for the 16Gb model and $299 for the 32GB model.
Pre-orders will be accepted from this Friday in the USA, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK.