Apple’s iPhone 5 is here

Apple officially launched its long-awaited iPhone 5 this morning at an event in San Francisco, California. 

The latest iteration of the wildly popular smartphone features a glass and aluminum exterior, measures 7.6mm and weighs only 112 grams. 

As Apple CEO Tim Cook points out, the iPhone 5 is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than its 4S predecessor.

However, the device still manages to boasts a larger, taller 4-inch 326ppi Retina display with 1136 x 640 resolution. 

The revamped screen provides extra room for additional icons to be displayed on the home screen, and a number of apps – such as iWork and Garage Band – have already been optimized to take advantage of the new format. 

The newest iPhone is also equipped with a more powerful chip, as the A6 offers significantly faster performance and is more energy efficient than either the A5 or A5X. 

 This means extended battery life, with the iPhone 5 supporting up to 8 hours of 3G or LTE talk time or browsing, 10 hours on WiFi browsing,  40 hours of music playback and  225 hours on a single charge.

As expected, the old connector is gone, replaced by the uber-fast Lightning protocol which is designed to work with Thunderbolt. Adapters will be available for older accessories. 

In addition, the phone sports a new iSight camera which Cook described as an 8-megapixel camera with a 3,264 x 2,448 backside-illuminated sensor, five-element lens and f/2.4 aperture.  A new panorama mode enables picture stitching for multiple images into one, larger shot, with the resulting image clocking in at 28 megapixels. Video capabilities have been extended as well and the front facing camera now offers 720p.

And last, but certainly not least, the iPhone 5 is LTE-enabled, with AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all lining up to offer true 4G connectivity for the handset.

Pricing? $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB (with contract). Pre-orders kick off on Friday the 14th, with the phone slated to ship on September 21st.