The long awaited iPhone 5 was announced earlier this week at an event in San Francisco. After much speculation the leaks, by and large, were proven correct. High-speed LTE is being included in an iPhone for the first time, and the new Dock Connector is indeed smaller. Arguably, that’s the change that’ll cause the most headaches for longtime iDevice users — if you’ve purchased an automobile, a speaker dock, or any of the other zillion iReady products in the past half-decade, you’ll need to purchase an adapter to make things work properly.

The most significant hardware change in our book is the screen. The Retina display is now upped to four inches and brags an 1136×640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi. The real-estate is noticeably bigger, with an extra line of apps added to each screen and movies now playing in 16:9 without letter-boxing. It also means that there’s simply more to look at when browsing websites, playing games and using apps.

Apple’s made this one lighter than before, and while the outgoing flagship never really felt heavy, this one feels impressively Is it better than the 4S? For sure, but it doesn’t make the 4S’ panel look dated by any means. The anti-glare measures implemented are highly appreciated, too.

The new A6 chip, in typical Apple style, hasn’t revealed itself in terms of raw tech specs. But at a glance, it’s definitely quicker than the chip in the 4S. Much like the speed increases between the iPhone 4 and 4S (and before that, the iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS), they won’t take you by storm right away. But, use it for half an hour and you’ll have a hard time going back to a slower chip. The transitions are smoother, switching between apps is a bit quicker and everything just generally feels incrementally faster.

While there will be cries that the iPhone 5 is ‘just a longer iPhone’, it remains a significant hardware change for the phone that hasn’t really had a good going over for a couple of years. Apple has worked wonders to reduce the overall size and weight while upping the power. It comes with a raft of cool new features (mostly via iOS6), but fans of Samsung and HTC smartphones will cry that many of the features are already available on their devices. Regardless, it’s a significant update for an already super smartphone.

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Gavin Hammar

Tech entrepreneur, software developer and founder of Sendible.com.

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