iPhone 5: Bigger Screen, New Connector, Not Much Else

At long last, Tim Cook and company shared the face of the iPhone 5 with the rest of us. While there were no big surprises, the release seems to update most every part of the 4S in one way or another. Let’s have a look at what’s new.

iPhone 5

Size

At 7.6mm thick, the iPhone 5 is 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the 4S. The phone will be longer but not wider, allowing for a fifth row of apps on the homescreen.

Battery

Apple promises 8 hours of 3G or LTE talk or browsing time and 10 hours of WiFi browsing.

Camera

The iPhone 5 will have the same 8-megapixel camera as the 4S. New features include a dynamic low light feature, 40% faster image capture, a smart filter for better color matching and a nice-looking panorama function.

Connector

Probably the biggest change (and my least favorite) is the connector. Apple is ditching the 9-year-old, 30-pin connector for Lightning, an 80% smaller, reversible plugin with improved durability. Hardware companies Bose, JBL, etc. are said to have new docks in the works to fit the port. Apple will release accessories to connect old docks to the iPhone 5 – but how much will they cost you? We shall see.

iPhone 5 Lightning

iOS 6

We’ve already seen most of these new iOS 6 features – all pretty cool, but no big surprises.

Apple ditched Google maps for its own creation. 3D is nice to look at, as is the interface itself, but mass transit and walking navigation seem to be lacking. Check out this roundup of Chicago transit apps to find a substitute.

Safari will feature iCloud tabs that can be shared from device to device – a popular feature on the new Chrome for iOS. Sounds handy – but only if you use Safari for desktop.

The Mail app will let users mark certain people as VIP, so that when you get an email from them, it will go right into a separate inbox.

Passbook still sounds cool – but only if your airline, hotel, etc. of choice is onboard. The most enticing feature here has to be that if you’re at the airport, your ticket will show up right on the lock screen.

The new Photo Stream will let users share a series of photos directly through the photo app. So instead of messing with email or texts, you can send and receive images right there in the Photo app.

Siri got a bit smarter, with increased knowledge of sports and movies. My favorite part here is that Open Table app pops up for restaurant-related queries – a time-saving integration that will certainly benefit both consumers and restauranteurs.

Price & Shipping

The iPhone 5 will be available for $199 on contract, while 4S moves to $99 and is now free with contract. Pre-orders for the 5 start on Friday, September 14th and begin shipping on September 21st.

So what do you think? Chime in on our Facebook poll.