FAQ: It's the iPhone 5

Apple's conjecture-happy followers nailed it, more or less, but when can you get it?

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

The device's aluminum case is milled from the same stock used for MacBook laptops. The iPhone 5 comes in the familiar black or white, with corresponding-colored glass strips on the back's top and bottom to allow radio signals to penetrate the case.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, who attended the iPhone 5 rollout, was most impressed with the feel of the new model. "What really strikes you about the iPhone 5 is how light it feels in your hand," said Milanesi. "But it still retains a quality feel to it. That was the most surprising to me, that when you touch it, the quality is obvious."

Anything different inside? Tear-down artists will be able to give us the lowdown within a day or two of Sept. 21, but here are some things we know: The iPhone 5 is powered by an A6 -- not the iPhone 4S's dual-core A5 -- packs an additional radio chip for LTE and support for 801.11n Wi-Fi, and has slightly more battery capacity than the iPhone 4S, with a 12.5% increase in claimed "standby" time.

What's the A6? It's the Apple-designed SoC, or "system on a chip" that combines the processor with other silicon, including the graphics processor, to power the iPhone 5.

Apple hasn't said much about the specs of the A6 -- other than to claim that it's twice as fast as the iPhone 4S's A5, and 22% smaller -- but Anandtech.com yesterday claimed that it's based on a dual-core Cortex-A15, ARM's top-of-the-line design in the Cortex-A line.

According to ARM's website, the Cortex-A15 that's suitable for smartphones is available in 1GHz to 2GHz speeds, in either single- or dual-core configurations.

The iPhone 5 is the first Apple device to rely on the A6; this year's iPad, for example, uses what Apple calls the A5X.

I've been waiting for LTE on the iPhone, but how do I know if my carrier supports it? In the U.S., the iPhone 5 can run on the LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon; in Canada, the relevant carriers are Bell, Rogers and Telus. For LTE coverage in your area, check with your carrier.

A list of carriers that support the iPhone 5 on LTE networks in other countries is here, on Apple's site.

Europeans might notice that they've been shoved to the back burner. That seems to be Apple's plan, which focuses on delivering hardware to handle the most-popular frequency bands in North America and Asia, according to experts.

Will my apps run on the iPhone 5's larger screen? Yes.

Current apps will, depending on the orientation of the iPhone 5, display black bars at the top and bottom, or along the sides -- in much the same way that an older TV shows "letterbox" movies or a widescreen set displays standard-definition programming.

There's no stretching or scaling, as there is when an iPhone app runs on an iPad.

Some developers will be quick out of the gate with redesigned apps that make use of the full 4-in. screen; Apple cited CNN and OpenTable in its presentation yesterday.

Naturally, Apple beat everyone to the punch on full-screen support: The Pages, Numbers and Keynote productivity apps, for example, take advantage of the new display, as do iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.

And iOS 6's built-in apps, like Calendar, Facebook, Mail and Safari, are ready for the bigger screen.

Can I use my existing accessories with the iPhone 5? Not without spending more money.

For $29, Apple will sell an adaptor to connect older accessories that relied on the 30-pin docking port to the iPhone 5's new, smaller "Lightning" port.

Apple is also selling a cable with old and new connectors at each end for an even-higher $39.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon