The iPhone 5 has a larger touch screen, a thinner profile and the capability to run on a 4G LTE network. But Apple’s newest smartphone won’t change the wireless landscape as much as previous iPhones did.
Apple introduced the sixth-generation iPhone today at a news conference near its California headquarters. Apple also unveiled the newest lineup of iPods, including a redesigned iPod Nano.
Many of the changes to the iPhone that Apple announced had been expected, and they follow design trends and connectivity capabilities that other smartphone manufacturers already have introduced on their own newest devices.
For example, the iPhone 5 has a 4-inch touch screen, which is a half-inch taller than are previous iPhones but still more than a half-inch shorter than are other premium smartphones. (The width of the new iPhone screen didn’t change).
Apple also made the iPhone 5 18 percent thinner than previous versions are, thanks largely to a new technology that makes the touch screen thinner.
The iPhone 5 is the first iPhone model that gives you access to the 4G LTE network, which is the fastest cellular network that’s available for downloading data or for browsing the Web. Other smartphone manufacturers have introduced models that can access the 4G LTE network.
However, a noticeable absence from the iPhone 5 is the capability to make mobile payments. Unlike the latest smartphones from other manufacturers, the iPhone 5 doesn’t have a near field communications reader, which is the primary technology that’s used to make payments by using your smartphone.
The iPhone 5 will start at $199 for a 16GB model, $299 for a 32GB model, and $399 for a 64GB model. All prices will require a 2-year service contract with a wireless telecommunications company. Pricing for the iPhone 4S will drop to $99 for the 16GB model. The 8GB iPhone 4 will be free with a 2-year contract.
The iPhone 5 will be available in stores starting Sept. 21 and can be preordered beginning Sept. 14.
The iPhone 5 and the new iPod Touch share many of the same redesign elements, including the 4-inch touch screen. In addition, the iPhone 5 and all new iPod models will have a smaller connector for charging, syncing and docking your device. If you want the iPhone 5 and the new iPods to work with your existing docks or charging stations, you’ll have to buy an adapter that’s sold separately.
Apple also introduced a revamped iPod Nano that takes a design cue from the iPhone and includes a “home” button, has a larger 2.5-inch touch screen and is Bluetooth-enabled. The updated iPod Touch now includes a 5-megapixel camera.
For the latest news and Best Buy selections for smartphones, check out “Smartphones: Honor Roll,” in the September/October 2012 issue.
– K. Fanuko