IT'S longer, faster, thinner and lighter and Apple reckons its new iPhone 5 will be the hottest selling gadget in the lead-up to Christmas.
Apple today unveiled its much-anticipated phone which features a new 4-inch Retina display; an Apple-designed A6 chip and ultrafast wireless technology.
The iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6 with over 200 new features including: the all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography; Facebook integration; Passbook organisation; and more Siri features and languages.
"iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that weve ever created,'' said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
"We've packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it.''
Apple says the iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone in the world, with an all-new 7.6 mm anodised aluminium body that is 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter than iPhone 4S.
Its design features diamond cut chamfered edges and glass inlays.
Apple says given it is the same width as the 4s, the iPhone 5 is just as easy to use with one hand.
But the longer Retina display caters for widescreen HD video, a full five days of your calendar and more of every web page.
iPhone 5 supports ultrafast wireless standards including LTE and DC-HSDPA, so you can browse, download and stream content even faster.
It will now work on Australia's 4G network, a problem cited with the 4s.
The 8 megapixel iSight has been completely redesigned, making 25 per cent smaller than the camera in iPhone 4S.
The new iSight camera in iPhone 5 features a sapphire crystal lens cover that is thinner and more durable than standard glass with the ability to provide crystal clear images.
The new panorama feature lets you capture "jaw-dropping panorama images of up to 28 megapixels by simply moving the camera across a scene in one smooth motion''.
New video features include improved stabilisation, video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos as you record.
A new FaceTime HD front facing camera makes FaceTime calls clear and can also be used for self portraits and recording 720p HD video.
iPhone 5 also allows you to share photos with friends and family using iClouds Shared Photo Streams.
The iPhone 5 features the new Lightning connector that is smaller, smarter and more durable than the previous connector.
The all-digital Lightning connector features an adaptive interface that uses only the signals that each accessory requires, and its reversible so you can instantly connect to your accessories.
The Lightning-to-30-pin Adapter is also available to connect iPhone 5 to legacy 30-pin accessories.
The iPhone 5 introduces new enhanced audio features including a new beam-forming, directional microphone system for higher quality sound, while background noise fades away with new noise cancelling technology.
iPhone 5 now includes support for cellular wideband audio for crisper word clarity and more natural sounding speech.
Pricing and Availability
iPhone 5 comes in either white & silver or black & slate, and will be available in Australia for a recommended retail price of AUD$799 inc. GST for the 16GB model, AUD$899 inc. GST for the 32GB model and AUD$999 inc. GST for the 64GB model.
It will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK on Friday, 21 September, and customers can pre-order their iPhone 5 beginning Friday, 14 September.
The iOS 6 software upgrade for existing 4s users will be available on Wednesday, September 19 as a free software update.