Apple iPhone 5 unveiled with taller screen and 4G


The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones takes a look at Apple's latest offering

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Apple has unveiled a taller, 4G-enabled iPhone at an event in San Francisco.

The device's new size allows it to display an extra row of app icons on its home screen.

The firm said it was 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. However, it does not feature an NFC (near field communication) chip to allow it to make touchless payments.

Apple said the handset would work on Everything Everywhere's (EE) 4G LTE network in the UK.

The news is likely to give EE - which runs the local Orange and T-Mobile services - an advantage against its rivals which will not launch the higher-speed data service until 2013.

"I think it's obviously what the other networks feared would happen," said Matthew Howett, a telecoms analyst at Ovum.

"The question will be how many non-EE customers make the switch."

Apple said the handset would ship on 21 September.

Faster speeds

The new screen offers a 16:9 ratio, matching that of widescreen televisions.

But its 4in (10.2cm) size remains smaller than rival displays used by Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, HTC and Sony's flagship models.

Phil Schiller - Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing, who unveiled the device - said existing apps would be shown with black borders until developers updated their products.

For Apple, the latest version of the phone which supplies the lion's share of its enormous profits was always going to be crucial to its financial future.

For the rest of the mobile phone industry, today's launch was something to worry about - how would it change this fast-shifting landscape?

With so many leaks there were few surprises about this bigger, thinner iPhone.

A better camera, more uses for the voice activation feature Siri, and its own mapping system with turn-by-turn navigation all add up to an impressive device.

But Android users, and in particular fans of Samsung's best-selling Galaxy S3 will say Apple is just playing catch-up. Features like the ability to shoot a panorama have been on their phones for years.

That won't stop the new phone being a big hit - with millions of existing users now likely to be nearing the end of their contracts.

Those who've got used to the iOS system will be keen to stay with it - while for newcomers to the smartphone, the iPhone will be the shiny new thing.

The impact that Apple's latest model has on the UK mobile phone market is particularly intriguing. When Apple announced that its 4G iPhone 5 would work on EE's new 4G network, you could hear the cheers from the headquarters of that company.

But Vodafone and O2 - still furious that their rival has been allowed a head-start on 4G, will be even crosser now.

The handset also features a new Apple-designed chip, called the A6. Mr Schiller suggested this made it twice as powerful as the earlier model.

The camera is an eight megapixel model - the same as in the iPhone 4S, and a lower specification than LG and Sony's most recent devices.

However, Mr Schiller said the equipment and associated software meant the iPhone would create better photographs in low light than before.

The handset also uses a new, smaller, socket for its charger. This means owners will need to use an adapter to plug the device into existing speakers and other equipment. The adapter is listed as being £25 on Apple's site.

The handset does not offer wireless charging like Nokia's Lumia 920.

It will be sold with either 16 gigabytes, 32GB or 64GB of storage. The basic model will be sold for £529 in the UK, but the figure will be lower if bought with a network contract.

In addition to launching the new model, Apple will continue to ship versions of the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4, but is phasing out 2009's iPhone 3GS.

Reworked iTunes

Despite the fact that the iPhone 5 lacks several features found on its rivals, one analyst at the presentation thought it would prove popular.

"There are unprecedented levels of pent-up consumer demand that will ensure it eclipses all previous iPhone launches," said Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

"Newly rebranded UK network EE will be delighted by the fact the iPhone 5 supports the right flavour of 4G LTE technology."

However, another industry watcher thought that the firm might have made a mistake by rejecting new tech in order to make the model thinner.

"The decision to omit NFC in the iPhone 5 could cost Apple," said Fred Huet, managing director at Greenwich Consulting.

"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.

"With over 400 million active credit card accounts on file, Apple had a prime opportunity to convert its customers using a sleek mobile payment system tied to the iPhone."

iPhone 5 with map Apple-designed maps become available on iOS 6 from 19 September

Apple also announced iTunes, its media player and store for Macs and PCs, was being redesigned and would be released in October, and it also unveiled new iPods.

Big earner

The latest iPhone's performance will prove critical to Apple's fortunes.

According to the firm's most recent earnings report the iPhone and related services and accessories accounted for 52% of $120bn (£74bn) total net sales over the nine months running up to July - 98 million handsets were sold in that time.

That has helped boost its share price to new heights. At the end of last week the firm was worth $637.85bn based on its share price. That was the highest such valuation to date if you do not adjust Microsoft's 1998 figure for inflation.

However, competition is intensifying. While Apple's margins may be wider, Samsung's handset sales are growing at a faster pace.

According to data from IDC the South Korean firm accounted for 43.6% of the Western European smartphone market between April and June compared to Apple's 19%.

The figures will have been skewed by the fact that Samsung offers more models and the Galaxy S3 was a newer device than the equivalent iPhone, but one industry watcher said the rivalry could intensify over coming months.

"Samsung has been very efficient pushing and promoting their devices offering the biggest commissions to sales people," Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC, told the BBC.

"The momentum they are gaining with consumers is very high and people see it as a very innovative brand - and customers are clearly looking for innovation rather than just refinements. Samsung will also be likely to make further gains by making price cuts before Christmas."

Apple's stock closed 1.4% higher.

Flagship handsets compared

Device Vital information What the experts say

Apple iPhone 5

iPhone 5

• Released: September 2012

• Screen size: 4"

• Operating system: iOS 6

• Camera: 8MP

• Cost: £529 for pay-as-you-go 16GB model from Apple

Full specification

"If you have an iPhone 4S the only real feature is the new screen, as most of iOS 6 will be available to you, and having to purchase new cables to go with the smaller dock will be a pain. If you have an iPhone 4 or older, however, then the new iPhone 5 offers a number of new features that you'll love. It's an incremental update, but looks like a great one nonetheless."


Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3

• Released: May 2012

• Screen size: 4.8"

• Operating system: Android

• Camera: 8MP

• Cost: £450 for 16GB edition on pay-and-go via O2

Full specification

"While neither the display nor the construction materials on the Galaxy S3 are the best possible, both represent acceptable compromises that help Samsung balance out the rest of its class-leading spec sheet."

The Verge



• Released: April 2012

• Screen size: 4.7"

• Camera: 8MP

• Operating system: Android

• Cost: £420 for 32GB edition on pay-as-you-go via Vodafone

Full specification

"This handset looks and feels stunning...[but] battery life is by far our biggest concern... Buying a One X is a lot like getting a unicorn - it's wild, fast, white, beautiful, expensive and fickle."


Motorola Droid RazrMaxx HD

(not available in UK)

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD

• Release: "Before the [winter] holidays"

• Screen size: 4.7"

• Camera: 8MP

• Operating system: Android

• Cost: To be confirmed

Full specification

"Talk time is outlandishly long at 32 hours... If you want a phone that's deadly serious about staying charged all day, this is a great contender."


Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920

• Release: To be confirmed

• Screen size: 4.5"

• Camera: 8.7MP

• Operating system: Windows Phone 8

• Cost: To be confirmed

Full specification

"The Nokia Lumia 920 is a good phone from the outset, although it didn't really give us much to feel wowed by... we can't help but feel that this may not be enough of an evolution to really take Windows Phone to the next level."


LG Optimus G

LG Optimus G

• Release: September 2012 in S Korea

• Screen size: 4.7"

• Camera: 13MP

• Operating system: Android

• Cost: To be confirmed

Full specification

"Judging by its specs and LG's recent devices, it has plenty of superphone potential... [but] it won't be able to fit in front or back jean pockets, nor will it be easy to use with one hand."


Sony Xperia T

Sony Xperia T

• Release: "Coming soon"

• Screen size: 4.6"

• Camera: 13MP

• Operating system: Android

• Cost: To be confirmed

Full specification

"The 13-megapixel camera... is as close to a compact as a smartphone has come. Couple this with a responsive enough performance and you have a phone that can take on the likes of the One X and the Samsung Galaxy S3."


Blackberry Bold 9900

Blackberry Bold 9900

• Release: August 2011

• Screen size: 2.8"

• Camera: 5MP

• Operating system: Blackberry 7

• Cost: £380 pay-as-you-go on Orange

Full specification

"The Bold 9900 is a great phone IF your live gravitates around communication, but there's better choices out there for gaming and entertainment."



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  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    5 Hours ago

    16:9 screen for a mobile phone? Didn't any other mobile company but Apple get there first?

    Yes. Sony Ericcson Xperia Ray is 16:9. Don't know if it was patented, or even if it could be though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    apple fans still are too thick to realise you cant replace the battery so apple garantee your product will be useless in about 18 months of continuos useage and the sheeple think they care about you lol no they dont only how to rip ever greater amounts of money from you while giving you less than the others do

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    A thin technological marvel of hardware - shame the operating system is so last decade.

    Apple desperately need to bring there iOS up to date, the latest android is massively better and Windows Phone is sublimely brilliant in comparison to both

    It is a nice phone but I really don't want the outdated OS and useless apps

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    Yes, He seems to be saying that the average MacBook user has a lot more money than sense. That is the only conclusion I can draw from what is said.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    >383. calvvvvvv
    >average Alienware user: wears $15 Levi's 501 and a free game
    >merchandise t-shirt.
    >average MacBook user: wears slim fit shirts and Ray Bans.

    >In the world of smart phones-
    >Samsung, HTC, Nokia Lumia users = Alienware users


    Let's see...
    The average MacBook user is the one with a space in place of a brain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    Sorry, i just don't get the fascination with Apple.

    We've been in complete despair with our kids for many years, because the playground has turned into a competition of who wears which designer labels, but as the adults some are doing the same thing ?


  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    Until now I've always had an Apple product... well until now.... what a let down. Even my 3 year old daughter would have done better.

    Next stop will be Samsung... at least they seem interested in designing product where the battery will last..... so long Apple.. thanks for the fish!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    Nobody is MAKING anybody buy an iPhone 5. If you want one, buy one. If you don't, don't.

    It's as simple as that.

    So why nearly 400 instalments of largely indignant ranting in this article?

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    I don't get it, Lumia 920 gets released features nfc & wireless charging and is very innovative with a good OS and gets slated by so called critics

    iPhone is released is basically no different from 4s and if a mile away from the lumia and its the next best thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    "The iPad, for example, was based on an idea dating back to 1968, and in prototype by 2002, but didn't appear until 2010." from the other bbc article with no comments

    Apple didn't exist in 1968, nor did microsoft. They did not invent anything! they bought other peoples inventions and put them in their designs.

    This constant re writing of history by the media is disgraceful journalism, un BBC

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    Casing looks the same. Another bout of aerial issues coming, since the casing forms part of the aerial?? I'll stick with android. I don't fancy being locked in to an uncompetitve restricted format, all specific to Apple. Android is more open. Why Apple haven't been sued by the EU for being uncompetitive I can only guess. And their chargers still aren't the EU standard !

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    With all the problems I've had with the lousy battery life of my last iPhone, this new model had better have a hell of a long power lead that goes with it otherwise its only fit as a windshield scraper


  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    Relax Samsung, you've got this covered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    "Flagship handsets compared"...

    Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc "expert" comment by an unconnected 3rd party (i.e. not associated with one particular brand)

    iPhone "expert" comment by Macworld; not what I would call an "unconnected" 3rd party!

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    For something that creates half there turnover.
    You'd think they'd put more effort into it?

    It won't attract any new customers.
    Upgrade from a IP4 yes, IP4S no point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    iPhone 5 = iPhone 4.1

    Enough said.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    Ok, so firstly, Apple lied, its as simple as that. They clearly stated `the thinnest smartphone ever` yet wait, the motorola Droid RAZR released last year in the US is 7.1mm thin, making it thinner than the iphone5.

    Oh and that dock connector for all your accessories you already have? that`ll be £25!!!! TWENTY FIVE POUNDS!! thats daylight robbery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    Apple are starting to rely on being fashionable over being cutting edge. The problem with that is when you're no longer fashionable what do you have left? Apple have always prided themselves on being at the forefront of technology, but now design patents take precedence over innovation. Apple have become a fat cat, too greedy and too lazy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    16:9 screen for a mobile phone? Didn't any other mobile company but Apple get there first?
    If there IS a god, then someone, somewhere, patented 16:9 screens for Mobile Usage first, before Apple did.
    Also, why did iPhones have the 30-pin connector, when they only connected to a 4 pin USB socket?

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.

    Proprietary connectors in this day and age is outdated, shameless and ethically questionable. In an age of universal connectors and wireless charging Apple still want us to have extra cable just for their devices. When I buy expensive technology I want innovation, I want an ethically sound brand name and I want the device to be as environmentally friendly as possible.


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