What you need to know about Apple's iPhone 5

iPhone 5
Apple debuted the iPhone 5 at a conference in California Wednesday morning, giving customers around the world a sneak peak at their latest state-of-the-art smart-phone that’s expected to be available in stores later this month.

The iPhone 5, the latest incarnation of the hallmark mobile phone product from Silicon Valley giants Apple, won’t be available for purchase until September 21 in the US, Apple Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller says, with distribution elsewhere eventually making the product purchasable in 100 countries around the world later this year. As if customers weren’t eager enough to pick up the phones the instant they hit the shelves later this month, the team behind the company’s newest product previewed the phone Wednesday and revealed an array of upgrades and additions to the device that is likely to only increase the demand.

Although the cost of the iPhone 5 will stay the same as the phone’s previous models, with a 64 gigabyte version the biggest one available to consumers at $399 with a two-year contract with select telecom companies, Apple has made a substantial amount of subtle updates to the hardware and interface of the iPhone which will likely be enough to ensure stellar sales figures but also might not be enough to convince would-be buyers if the bells and whistles are worth forking over the funds.

Among the changes announced on the iPhone 5 that make it different from its predecessors, the new product will feature a A6 processor described as twice as fast as its predecessor while half the size than earlier ones used in the phones.

Externally, the device itself will be 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S and also 18 percent thinner, while at the same time showcasing a new 4-inch screen that is large enough to let users view five rows of icons, not four, on their phone. The entire device will be made entirely of glass and aluminum.

Additionally, the iPhone5 will utilize a new all-digital interface to connect the product to external devices, such as computers and power supplies, which while smaller than earlier connectors, may be a major drawback from some users interested in a new phone. A separate adapter will be necessary in order to use the phone with previously purchased accessories, a guaranteed extra cost for anyone considering the iPhone 5, although the new product advertises a more powerful battery that will allow for more hours of talk-time and usage before requiring a charge.

The new phone also features updates to its front camera and advertises itself as being able to capture photographs in dark lighting better than its earlier versions. The company will begin taking preorders this Friday.