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iPhone 5: what you need to know

Bigger, thinner, faster, lighter: the new iPhone is finally here

iPhone 5: performance

Apple A6 System on Chip

Apple is typically cagey about the details of its processors, but Anandtech has managed to decode the markings on the A6 chip, which was shown by Apple at the iPhone 5's launch.The E7E7 marking indicates there's 512MB of RAM per core, giving 1GB in total.

Rumours suggested a dual-core ARM Cortex A15 manufactured by Samsung.However, while it is a dual-core processor, it's actually based on Apple's own design.

Benchmark results have even appeared on the Geekbench browser which show not only the result of 1601, but also that the device was running iOS 6 and has an ARMv7 processor with two cores running at 1.02GHz. The system information also includes 1015MB of memory, and 1024KB of L2 cache.

Apple says the A6 is up to twice as fast as the A5 chip inside the iPhone 4S, and based on the 4S's Geekbench score of 636, that's conservative. The Galaxy S3, incidentally, scored 1588 with its quad-core processor.

There's no detail, yet, on the graphics chip built into the A6, but it's likely to be the same quad-core GPU in the new iPad.

We'll be testing and reporting on the iPhone 5's performance once we get our hands on one for review on Friday.

iPhone 5: cameras

As you'd expect, the rear camera has been updated to an 8Mp back-illuminated sensor. It's mated to a new, thinner, five-element lens with a sapphire crystal cover (rather than standard glass) for sharper, better-quality photos. Not only will the new setup improve upon the quality of the iPhone 4S's already brilliant photos, but it should produce better images in low light thanks to improved processing to remove noise. There's also an LED flash to help out in low light.

Apple iPhone 5 rear 8Mp camera

Photos are captured faster due to the quicker processor, and there's also support for capturing panoramic images as you sweep the iPhone 5 around. As long as you do it smoothly, it will produce a seamless 28Mp image.

Apple iPhone 5 panorama

Video-wise, the camera can also shoot 1080p video at 30fps, and has improved stabilisation compared with the iPhone 4S.

Audio hasn't been forgotten in all this, as there are now three microphones: one at the bottom as before, plus new front and rear mics to improve audio in both videos and also FaceTime calls.

The front camera, used mainly for FaceTime, is an upgraded model that's capable of 720p video and is good enough, Apple says, to inherit the iSight tag. This is used for cameras that can produce lifelike quality. It has been moved to a central position above the speaker.

Continuing on the improved sound theme is wideband audio support. As long as it's supported by the network provider, it means you'll get better call quality.

iPhone 5: ports and buttons

Buttons are virtually unchanged, with power volume and mute buttons all in the same positions.

Apple iPhone 5 Lightning dock connector

The headphone jack, though has been moved to the bottom (something users won't appreciate if they want to connect a pair of headphones while the iPhone is docked). The iPhone 5 will ship with Apple's redesigned EarPods, which also act as a headset for calls thanks to a built-in microphone and control button.

There's also a new dock connector, named Lightning. It's much smaller than the old 30-pin connector and has a reversible design so you don't have to worry about which way you plug in the USB cable: it works both ways. It supports USB 2.0, but not the faster 3.0 standard.

Apple offers several adaptors so you can still use older 30-pin accessories: a basic adaptor for the eye-watering price of £25 and a Lightning-to-30-pin cable with an even steeper £30 price. In the box you'll get a Lightning-to-USB cable.

iPhone 5: price and availability

You can buy an unlocked iPhone 5 from an Apple store in the UK from 8am on 21st September. The base 16GB model will cost £529 inc VAT, but prices for the 32GB and 64GB models are yet to be announced.

There aren't yet any prices for the iPhone 5 on contract, but we expect mobile network providers to announce these shortly.

 Follow Jim Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.


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