iPhone 5 Has 4G Support, Larger Screen But No NFC

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Apple unveils its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, in San Francisco

Apple has unveiled its newest smartphone, the iPhone 5, which boasts a larger screen, support for 4G Long Term Evolution networks and a brand new eight pin connector.

There were no major surprises from the Cupertino-based company, which also revealed a redesigned interface for iTunes across PCs, Macs, iPads and iPhones. Near Field Communication was a notable absentee from the iPhone 5’s feature-set however, as it was widely expected to be included.

Pre-orders for the smartphone can be made from 14 September, while it will be released in the UK one week later on 21 September, the same day as the US.

iPhone 5 Launch

The iPhone 5 boasts a larger screen than its predecessor, with a four inch display that boasts a resolution of 1336 x 640 and can show five rows of icons. It means that it is taller than the iPhone 4S, but also thinner at 7.5mm and 20 percent lighter.

Some applications will receive updates to take advantage of the new display, while others will have a black border at the top and the bottom. As predicted, the iPhone 5 features support for 4G networks, including the one announced by EE yesterday in the UK.

The smartphone is powered by a new Apple A6 chip that makes it twice as fast as the iPhone 4S. Battery life is roughly the same, lasting 225 hours on standby, 40 hours when listening to music, 10 hours on 4G and 8 hours on 3G or Wi-Fi.

There’s a new eight megapixel camera that can capture 1080p high-definition video and can take photos while recording, just like the HTC One X. A new 720p front facing camera will improve FaceTime conversations.

Fast as Lightning

Apple confirmed that it will use a new eight-pin connector called lightning, but there will be an adaptor for the old 30-pin connector that has been in use since the third generation iPod. This means that some older accessories can still be used with the iPhone 5.

It will run iOS 6, which includes new Passbook and Maps applications along with the ability to Tweet from anywhere. The software will be rolled-out to all comptabile iDevices next week on 19 September.

iTunes will also be getting an overhaul on the PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad. It will have iCloud built-in, but interestingly, the new version won’t be released until October – after the release of the iPhone 5.

The 16GB version of the smartphone will cost $199, the 32GB $299 and the 64GB $399 and will be available in either black or white. However once the iPhone 5 has launched, you will be unable to get your hands on an iPhone 3GS, which has been discontinued.

“This time it had to be all about the hardware as much as software. In this regard, Apple has delivered and then some,” commented Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch. “”Thinner, lighter and with a 4-inch screen, the iPhone has gone on a diet and come back leaner and faster. The taller screen caters to the crowd that feed off form factor, but still like the ergonomically comfortable width of the 4S.”

“”Most importantly for the data-hungry, the battery power is supposed to be uncompromised by its new-found 4G capability, which will be ready to go as soon as EE launches it in the UK,” he added. “”On the downside, a new connector has thrown a spanner in the works and there was no mention of NFC capability for mobile wallet payments. But Apple typically leaves them wanting more.”

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