Apple Announces iPhone 5

This morning Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 5. If you’ve been following tech rumors for the past few months, you’ll find few surprises here, but they’ve made loads of improvements, both small and large. Read on for the details.

First things first: The iPhone 5 will be available on September 21, with preorders beginning on September 14. The pricing on iPhones is the same as last year’s. With a contract, the iPhone 4 will be free. The iPhone 4S will cost $99. The iPhone 5 will cost $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB.

That’s all well and good, but what’s new in the iPhone 5? The biggest change is the screen size. The new display is 4″, but it’s the same width as previous iPhones, just taller. The aspect ratio is 16:9, just like an HDTV. The resolution is 1136×640, with 326 pixels per inch.

That’s all very technical. Basically, the home screen is big enough to show another row of icons, and apps will be a little wider or taller once they’re updated to take advantage of the new screen. Apps that haven’t been updated will be centered on the screen, with black bars above and below.

Here’s a quick rundown of the other new features. It’ll sport LTE, so data speeds will be faster than previous iPhones. The body of the iPhone 5 is made entirely of glass and aluminum, and it’s 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S, making it the thinnest smartphone on the market. It’s powered by the new A6 processor, which makes it significantly faster than previous models. The battery will last as long as the 4S battery, and the camera has been improved.

As far as gaming goes, the new resolution and extra screen space should certainly prove to be a good thing. They invited Rob Murray of Firemonkeys onstage to show off Real Racing 3, which we’ve already seen several times. The only new bit of information he offered was asynchronous multiplayer. No word on the highly anticipated Infinity Blade Dungeons, but they might show that off during the rumored iPad Mini event next month.

Apple also announced that iOS 6 will launch on September 19, and that a new line of iPod Touches will be available in October.

So what do you think? Will you buy the iPhone 5, or will you hold out for next year’s model?