iPhone 5 hits Australia next week with 4G


news Consumer technology giant Apple has revealed its new iPhone 5 smartphone will launch in Australia next week on Friday September 21, and will support the 1800Mhz 4G networks which Telstra and Optus operate locally. It will also launch through Australia’s third major carrier Vodafone, but without 4G speeds.

Physically the new iPhone retains much of the same form factor as the previous iPhone 4 and 4S models. However, Apple has redesigned the smartphone to take advantage of a longer (but not wider) 4″ display that features a resolution of 1136×640 pixels. The phone is a great deal thinner than the previous iPhone 4S, at 7.6mm thick, and it is 20 percent lighter at 112 grams.

At its heart the iPhone 5 runs Apple’s new A6 processor, which Apple says delivers up to twice the CPU and graphics performance of the previous model, and the iPhone’s camera has been redesigned to be 25 percent smaller than the camera in the iPhone 4S, but it takes still photos faster than its predecessors, as well as coming with new features that let users take panorama images of up to 28 images, as well as still photos while recording video up to 1080p. The iPhone 5 also comes with a HD front-facing camera for video calling and recording up to 720p video.

Apple has introduced a new ‘Lightning’ connector for connecting the iPhone 5 to a battery or to other devices such as PCs and laptops. This connector is smaller and “more durable” than the previous model and is also reversible. There’s also a legacy adapter so that users can connect their new iPhones to their old accessories using Apple’s old 30 pin adapter.

The iPhone 5 also comes with what Apple has described as new enhanced audio features, including “a new beam-forming, directional microphone system for higher quality sound”, and the company this morning said that “background noise fades away with new noise cancelling technology”. The iPhone 5 supports ‘cellular wideband audio for crisper word clarity and more natural sounding speech’ and the iPhone 5 comes with new Apple headphones which Apple is touting as coming with a more natural fit and increased durability, as well as “an incredible acoustic quality typically reserved for higher-end earphones”.

This morning all of Australia’s major mobile carriers — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone — confirmed that the new iPhone would launch through their networks on Friday September 21 (next week). However, only Telstra and Optus will be able to initially support the iPhone 5’s 4G speeds, with Vodafone not planning to launch its 4G network until next year. Vodafone has, however, announced this morning that it had switched on DC-HSPA speeds (between 2Mbps to 16Mbps in major Australian capital cities). 4G capacity offers speeds significantly higher, however — with some users reporting speeds of up to 40Mbps on Telstra’s 4G network and 60Mbps on that of Optus.

The iPhone 5 comes in either white & silver or black & slate, and will be available in Australia for a recommended retail price of AU$799 for the 16GB model, AU$899 for the 32GB model and AU$999 for the 64GB model (all prices include GST). Customers will be able to pre-order their iPhone 5 from Friday 14 September (through Apple’s website).

The pricing of the iPhone 4/4S moels has also been revamped; it will now be available for recommended retail price of AU$679. The iPhone 4 will be available for a recommended retail price of AU$449. Apple has also announced that its iOS 6 software will be available on September 19 as a free software update for existing iPhones; the iPhone 5 will come with iOS 6.

“iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’ve packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it.”

Well, the leakers pretty much got this one right. Apple has launched basically the new iPhone which everyone thought it would; with a longer screen and 4G speeds, plus slightly improved versions of every other feature, the new iPhone looks set to be a quality model like its predecessors. So what does its release mean for Australians? Three things.

Firstly, the iPhone will be the smartphone which will almost singlehandedly drive the adoption of 4G/LTE speeds in Australia. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of people who will be itching to get their hands on an iPhone 5 when it launches in Australia next week, and likely this handset will be bought by a number of people in the millions over the next several years. I hope Telstra and Optus have their 4G networks ready for this behemoth, because they’re about to see an influx of 4G customers of biblical proportions.

Consequently, as I’ve previously written, the release of a 4G iPhone is horrible news for Vodafone. Despite the fact that the company scrambled this morning to put out a press release regarding its DC-HSPA update in major metropolitan areas, Vodafone has a clear disadvantage compared to Telstra and Optus when it comes to iPhone 5 sales, as it does not operate a 4G network. I anticipate that many current Vodafone iPhone customers will be switching to low-cost Optus brand Virgin when the iPhone 5 launches. The lack of 4G speeds will bite Vodafone.

Lastly, the iPhone 5 offers the fast-growing cadre of Australian Android fans very little incentive to switch back to iOS and away from Google’s popular operating system. Why buy an iPhone 5, after all, when both the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One XL have bigger screens and comparable features in every other area? The iPhone 5 offers Android fans nothing they couldn’t get from Android manufacturers anyway — and many of them already had equivalent handsets.

In essence, the iPhone 5 merely brings Apple’s handset line up to par with existing Android models. This gives Android manufacturers a window of opportunity to steal a march on Cupertino and leap ahead over the next six to nine months again, with a plethora of new and funky handsets. I expect the ranks of the Android faithful to only continue to grow in Australia over the next year. And, as a new Android user myself, that’s something I welcome. The iPhone 5 definitely doesn’t do enough to entice me to switch back. It’s just a slightly bigger, more powerful, iPhone 4S, with 4G speeds.

Image credit: Apple


    • Hard to say its beaten by the Lumia 920 when the 920 is about 2-3 months away from SHIPPING!?

      That said, its already been beaten by a hardful of android phones that have been on the market for many many many many months now. Too bad this is it for Apple for at least 12 months, unless they rush to market the iPhone 5S.

      iPhone 5 was a bit of a meh event…..

    • Of course, the iPhone 5 has a price and a release date…while the Lumia 920 doesn’t ;)

      That said, the 920 is tempting…I still don’t want to carry a phone around that is that big though.

      • 4.5 inches isnt bad. After using the Lumia 800 / 900 for DC testing, I find it quite usable. Im really taken by how good it actually is. I have a Galaxy S3 as my personal h/s.

        I was a bit upset with WP7, despite it having some good features.

        Heres hoping 8 is a solid improvement.

    • I would argue that nfc isnt really beginning to take of. I think it still has basically zero really useful uses (yeah it can replace a credit card but the whole paying by credit card model should be phased out regardless)

      • Said from a iTroll cause Apple hasn’t delivered it. Would you have the same view if the iPhone 5 had NFC?

        NFC payments its magic.

        NFC pairing is pretty darn nice as well.

        Sharing via NFC is easy as, no special ‘bump’ apps, just put two android devices back to back!

        NFC checkin for facebook/google+/4sq etc

        Friend wants your wifi password, swipe the NFC tag to give them access!

        Think future, have all those building passes ‘rolled’ into your NFC phone. So just swipe your phone to get into work. NFC doorlocks at home.

        I could go on, but it would be lost on you and your non NFC enable phone

  1. The phone market has been revolutionised for several years- since about 2007 ;).

    All we ever get is faster, better versions of the previous phones- why is this a surprise?

  2. I bet $2 it has a separated radio chip (as has every iPhone/iPad to date), but no one will dump on it for that, as they have some of the other LTE smartphones.

  3. It’s interesting to note the diversity of opinions in the mobile space today. For many Android users, the screen size and larger form factor of their devices is 1up on the iPhone, but for me it’s the complete opposite. The smaller width of the iPhone + it’s aesthetic design style is one of the key reasons I just can’t stomach the thought of moving off to the current top Android phones. In fact I would have been frustrated if the width of the iPhone had of increased substantially.

    I want a device that is small and that I can use single handedly without any stretch factor. I want an aluminium and glass combo vs the plastic feel that seems to accompany so many other phones. Because of that, I don’t care that I pay a premium for the device.

    But having said that, I’m glad there are people that prefer many of the Android offerings – it promotes competition and the amazing amount of innovation we have seen in the mobile space over the past 5 years.

    • yeah i agree with brad. looking forward to getting hold of one of these. my 4S is just fantastically reliable and good to use, and i was hoping for something a bit bigger, thinner and lighter and looks like Apple nailed it. I still like the look of the GS3 but I don’t think it’s the phone for me, I love the feel of a solid handset like the iphone vs the plastic-ness of virtually everything else.

  4. The beginning of the end for apple “dominance” (actually I should say PERCEIVED Dominance, because Android has 52% of the market…).

    #BigFatFail Apple.

  5. I agree on the Vodafone point. If I was with Vodafone and nearly out of contract, there is not much they could do to get me to stay with them… and then it would be even more expensive for them to win me back.

    But even their 3G hardly works where I live.

  6. “The iPhone 5 also comes with what Apple has described as new enhanced audio features, including “a new beam-forming, directional microphone system for higher quality sound”, and the company this morning said that “background noise fades away with new noise cancelling technology” ”

    Where have I seen a description like that before….

    “The sound quality is due in part to the fact that the Droid X features no fewer than three microphones — one along the bottom front, one at the top edge for noise cancellation, plus a third on back”

    Ah Apple marketing, you’ve done it again…

  7. I’ve been holding off upgrading my iPhone 4 until the 5 came ou, but turn-by-turn navigation was a feature I really hanging out for and it’s not available in Australia. That’s probably going to push me to a Lumia 920.

  8. I had been considering ditching Vodafone for either Optus or Telstra because of 4G, but when I look at both of their coverage maps, neither my home nor work receive 4G coverage, and these two locations are where I spend about 90% of my time.

    It is a bit of a gamble but I decided to stick it out other with Vodafone because
    a. Their speed has improved (probably all those subscribers leaving :-P)
    b. After their network meltdown they (claim) to be investing $1b in infrastructure so it “should” continue with the 3G+ upgrade and 4g sometime next year
    c. Cheaper (yeah there’s some Scot in me! )

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