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By 4 December 2012 | Categories: news

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Local Apple fans will be able to get their hands on the new iPhone 5 on 14 December 2012, as this is when the LTE-enabled smartphone will be released in South Africa. At this stage the retail prices of the device locally is still unknown.  

With its new iPhone 5, Apple looks to set the design bar even higher as the firm managed to squeeze all of its components within a 7.6 mm thick anodized aluminum body that is 18% thinner and 20% lighter (112 g vs 140 g) than that of the iPhone 4S (review). 

For the first time, the iPhone packs a larger display with Apple opting for a new 4" Retina display which features more pixels that the iPhone 4S’s 3.5" touchscreen (640 x 960) thanks to a slightly higher 640 x 1136 (same 326 ppi though) resolution. This sees the iPhone 5 on par with but not besting its rivals such as Nokia’s Lumia 920 which sports a larger 4.5" PureMotion HD+ LCD display with a higher resolution (1280 x 768; 332 ppi).  

Faster CPU and enhanced optics

Powering the iPhone 5 is Apple’s new dual-core 1.2 GHz A6 chip that the firm says will deliver up to twice the CPU performance and around double the graphical performance of the dual-core 1 GHz A5, which does duty in the iPhone 4S.

Besides a faster CPU, users can also expect improvements in the optics department, since onboard is an 8 MP iSight camera that Cupertino has completely redesigned. This rear-facing snapper now makes use of a more slender and durable sapphire crystal lens cover, and is also 25% smaller than the camera doing duty in the iPhone 4S. It boasts a new panorama shot feature that allows users to capture highly detailed panorama images of up to 28 megapixels (a feature that Android users have enjoyed using for a while).

New video functionality includes improved stabilisation, video face detection for up to ten different faces as well as the ability to take still photos as you record video, just like you are able to do on an HTC One X (review). An improved FaceTime HD front-facing camera enables users to take clearer self portrait shots and record HD-Ready (720p) videos.

Updated OS

The iPhone 5 operates on the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system (OS), iOS 6,  which sports more than 200 new user features including the controversial new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation, and real-time traffic information. Following the release of the smartphone overseas, the complaints soon started pouring in about this maps application and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook eventually had to apologise for the poor substitute for Google Maps.

Besides Google Maps and Drive, users also won’t find the boring standard white earphones Apple normal bundles with its smartphones and iPods or the 30-pin iPod dock connector. The former has been replaced with the firm’s new EarPods earphones that has been redesigned to provide a more natural fit and according to Apple, now boasts an acoustic quality that is typically only found on higher-end headsets.

Instead of the normal 30-pin iPod dock connecter, users now have to utilise the smaller and more durable Lightning connector. This means that users who have any iPhone accessories will have to fork out around R330 for a Lightning-to-30-pin adapter to be able to continue using these accessories with the new iPhone. You also won’t be able to use your iPhone 4S’ micro-SIM in the new device, since it utilises the newly adopted nano-SIM card format.

iPhone 5 comes in either black and slate or white and silver in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. It will become available from Vodacom this month (next Friday), but no pricing info is available at this stage. We are awaiting confirmation from both MTN and Cell C regarding the local availability of this hotly anticipated smartphone on their network.

In other Apple related news, the latest research from market research company comScore’s MobiLens service shows that Apple has overtaken LG to become the number 2 OEM (original equipment maker) Stateside for the first time.

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