The iPhone 5 was introduced at an event in San Francisco last night (12 September) by chief executive Tim Cook, his first iPhone launch as Apple’s lead.
It has a larger, 4-inch display screen, which the company says will give brands and developers more real estate for apps and games. Previous iPhone models have had 3.5-inch screens.
Despite the bigger screen, Apple says the new phone, which it describes as “the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created”, is its thinnest and lightest yet, weighing 20 per cent less than the iPhone 4S.
It also has an 8-megapixel camera that lets users stitch together multiple pictures to create panorama pictures.
The device is Apple’s first smarphone capable of running 4G, the superfast mobile broadband service that is due to roll out in the UK later this month. Earlier this week, newly rebranded mobile network EE revealed plans to launch a 4G service over the next several weeks, ahead of rival networks.
It is likely that the iPhone 5 will be one of the first phones to use the 4G network alongside the already anounced Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE and the Nokia Lumia 920.
Additionally, the company has removed the dock connector that has been used in its devices since the 2003 iPod. It has been replaced by a smaller connector that will not work with existing accessories, meaning that users with old docking stations will need to buy an adaptor if they want to use them with the new device.
The device also omits NFC contactless payment technology despite much speculation that it would be built in.
Analysts have welcomed the device but warn that Apple faces continued pressure from rival smartphones expected to launch later this year.
David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media, says: “The iPhone 5 release has provide a much needed physical update of the device, despite the screen not being the largest in the smartphone market and it still lacks NFC and wireless charging.
“However, Apple won’t have it all its own way to the end of the year as it faces continued pressure from Samsung and now Nokia with its new range of Lumia devices running on the Windows Phone 8. In combination, the strength of these devices and platforms will combine to give the most competitive and intriguing smartphone quarter for a number of years.”
The announcement lifted the company’s shares, which ended the day up 1.4 per cent at $699.79 (£434.21).
It ships later this month (21 September) in the UK, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. The phone will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of the year as a part of the fastest roll-out of a iPhone to date. The company sold over 60 million iPhones in the first half of the year.