Apple iPhone 5 – need to know

The greatest Apple smartphone ever is here – and it's bigger, better and comes packed with new features. Here’s everything you need to know

Apple has launched the iPhone 5 with its customary fanfare – and it's every bit as impressive as we expected, with a whopping new 4in Retina Display and an all-new design, plus the software smarts of iOS 6. But does it beat the competition? Get the full lowdown on the iPhone 5 with our in-depth need to know.

UPDATE: Read our in depth iPhone 5 review 

iPhone 5 – design

The iPhone 5 may have had a size boost, but it's rocking a new slimline form factor. While the screen has been stretched to a 16:9 ratio, 4in 1136x640 (326ppi) display, the body has only grown a little in length and actually managed to shrink 18 per cent in depth to a super-skinny 7.6mm and lose 20 per cent weight to measure in at 112g. That gorgeous aluminium and glass frame comes in two colours – the white version sports a raw aluminium back, while the black has a black anodised backing.

That all-new Lightning dock connector is now smaller at 8-pin, although your old 30-pin connector accessories will still play nice with the iPhone 5 thanks to a new adapter (which will set you back a cheeky US$30). Also helping to trim that size down is the iPhone 5's new nano-SIM. The headphone jack has migrated to the bottom of the iPhone 5 – just like the new iPod Touch – while the stereo speakers have grown and improved in quality.

iPhone 5 – power

Providing the grunt to power that super-sized Retina Display is the A6 processor – with power efficiency while adding double the processing and graphical power over the A5. Everything your iPhone has been crying out for. Thanks to that boost in graphical memory you can now use your iPhone as a gaming powerhouse – even consoles should start to worry, especially with AirPlay Mirroring turning your big screen into a game display.

iPhone 5 – screen

After five and half years since the first iPhone, it has finally grown. The iPhone 5's 4in screen retains the same eye-watering Retina Display (326ppi) quality as that of the iPhone 4S, with 1136x640 resolution and 44 per cent better colour saturation – all in a film-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio.

iPhone 5 – camera

Although the iPhone 5's iSight camera retains the same megapixel count as the iPhone 4S, at 8MP, the backside illuminated back camera benefits from improved image stabilisation – plus a new Panorama shooting mode. The iPhone 5's front-facing camera has been upgraded to a 720p shooter also with backside illuminated prowess for clearer facial imagery while testing out the new Facetime over your network connection.

iPhone 5 – connectivity

Apple has already given us Thunderbolt connectors, and now we've got Lightning too (Galileo!). The new iPhone port might be smaller in size but it's easier to connect going in either way up. Expect a host of new docks as a result and an adapter for those who don't mind adding its ugly bulk for an extra cost. And of course it's coming with 4G LTE for a connection five times faster than 3G – just in time for EE rolling out 4G in the UK.

iPhone 5 – battery

While the battery might not have physically grown, it still appears to be plenty powerful enough, offering 8 hours of 4G browsing time, even with that larger 4in display. We'll be investigating its battery life in our full in-depth review.

iPhone 5 – iOS 6

iOS 6 has landed bringing with it new Maps, super Siri, Facebook integration, Facetime over 3G, and great new call features. There’s also Passbook that turns your phone into a wallet, Lost Mode to help you find your device, tab synchronisation across devices in Safari, Photo Stream sharing, and improved Mail. For full details check out our iOS 6 need to know guide.

iPhone 5 – accessories

Apart from a host of new docks and speakers incoming to fit that new Lightning port, and the adapter for those that want to use their old kit, there are the EarPods. These are Apple's improved in-ear earphones that have been designed to snuggle in comfortable while distributing air perfectly for the best sound. Plus they're bundled with the iPhone 5 for free.

iPhone 5 – pricing and availability

The iPhone 5 will be available from £530, with pre-orders starting on September 14th for a September 21st release date. We'll be bringing you our hands-on review and in-depth review as soon as possible – check back for more information!

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