Apple iPhone 5 with 4G LTEAt long last, the brand new Apple iPhone 5 was revealed to the world by Tim Cook and it brings several upgrades to the table when compared to the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4. You might remember when we made some predictions a few months ago about the iPhone 5 and, for the most part, those rumors have held up to be true.

Before you go rushing out to buy the new iPhone 5 from Apple, it’s worthwhile to consider what’s new in this latest version of Apple’s smartphone. Did it live up to the hype? Was it worth the wait?

Thinner and Lighter Design

Even though the design is mostly the same as the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S, there are some very notable changes. For starters, Apple has gone with a two-tone color scheme for the back. You can choose from a black and slate look or a white and slate look. Also, the new iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter, measuring just 7.6mm thick and weighing 112 grams. Compare that to the 9.3mm thickness and 140 gram weight of the iPhone 4S.

Larger 4-Inch Retina Display

iPhone 5 with 4-Inch Retina Display

iPhone 5 with 4-Inch Retina Display

The new iPhone is thinner and lighter, but it’s also taller so that it can accommodate the larger 4-inch IPS display. It maintains the same 326ppi pixel density as the Retina Display on the iPhone 4S, but now you’ve got a total resolution of 1136×640 pixels. That’s the same width; the extra 0.5-inches comes in height. When you run older iPhone apps, you’ll get black bars at the top and bottom. The new homescreen can fit an extra row of icons now.

More Powerful Apple A6 Processor

They’re not being particularly forthcoming with the exact details, but the iPhone 5 does have a new Apple A6 processor. This is supposed to be quite a bit faster and more powerful than the dual-core Apple A5 processor in the iPhone 4S.

Smaller Lightning Connector

New Lightning Connector for iPhone 5

New Lightning Connector for iPhone 5

As rumored, the 30-pin dock connector of every other iDevice has now been discarded for the new 8-pin Lightning connector. It looks to be about the same size as micro-USB, but the neat thing is that Lightning is reversible. There’s no such thing as upside-down. To help accommodate legacy docks and accessories, Apple will sell an adapter that lets you plug your Lightning iPhone 5 into something that takes the now-older 30-pin dock connector.

Higher Resolution FaceTime Camera

The main 8MP camera on the back is basically the same as the one in the iPhone 4S, but they’ve added a panorama feature that generates stunning 28MP panoramtic photos with up to 240 degrees of perspective. The front-facing FaceTime camera has been upgraded from VGA (640×480) to a 1.2 megapixels, giving you the ability to shoot 720p HD video. It maintains the same 30fps framerate but you can now do FaceTime over cellular, as well as over Wi-Fi.

Smaller nanoSIM Standard

To go along with the smaller Lightning connector, Apple has also shrunk down the SIM card from the microSIM in the iPhone 4S to a nanoSIM in the iPhone 5. This means that if you upgrade, you will need a new SIM card from your carrier of choice.

Faster 4G LTE Wireless Connection

Two-Toned iPhone 5 Design

Two-Toned iPhone 5 Design

At long last, 4G LTE has come to the iPhone! This means you’ll get a much faster cellular data connection, assuming that your carrier supports it. They’ve also upgraded the Wi-Fi to be dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n, compared to the single-band Wi-Fi on the iPhone 4S.

New Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic

Apple has new earphones to go with your new iPhone 5 too. These are supposed to be more comfortable, more stable and more durable. They’re also supposed to provide better protection from sweat and water, as well as be better at staying in your ear. The acoustics have been improved as well.

Should You Upgrade?

It’s entirely up to you to consider whether it is worth the upgrade, but I think the standard Apple upgrade advice here holds true. If you have an iPhone 4 and you’re up for a contract renewal, getting an iPhone 5 sounds worthwhile. If you already have an iPhone 4S and you’re still in the middle of a contract, it’s not quite as worth it to upgrade just yet. Pricing has remained stable at $199 for a 16GB, $299 for a 32GB and $399 for a 64GB, all on a two-year contract. The iPhone 4S has now been discounted to $99 on a two-year contract. That’s the American pricing.

Now, the next big thing on the calendar is the rumored iPad mini. They say it’s going to be announced next month and I’m sure the rumor mills will have more than a few things to say about it before then.

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