What You Need to Know about Apple's iPhone 5

By Nick Caruso

Technology titan Apple has finally unveiled its plans for the highly anticipated fifth version of its seemingly magical mobile device. Announced on September 12, Apple has confirmed pre-order dates, shipping dates, and tech specs for the iPhone 5, proving that the wait for this impressive upgrade has definitely been worth it for consumers. Here is everything you need to be in the know:

Despite wide-spreading rumors, the phone is simply called the iPhone 5 and the screen is, in fact, bigger. Apple has upgraded the screen size to an expected four inches, making room for a fifth row of icons on the home screen, plus the usual shortcuts on the bottom. With its 326ppi Retina display, the phone now boasts a resolution of 1136 x 640 and carries a 16:9 aspect ratio with it. Any App that doesn't provide an update to fit these standards will appear letterboxed.

Size does matter, and this iPhone is a mere 0.3 inches thick and weighs only four ounces. Compared to the iPhone's last model, that's 20 percent lighter and 18 percent thinner. Although it has a redesigned shell, many aesthetics remain the same, such as the device's volume and mute buttons.

The iPhone 5's processor is the new Apple A6 chip. What does this mean? The phone will have twice the CPU speed and graphics power, while the chip is internally smaller and way more battery friendly than the iPhone 4S. Add to this the fact that the iPhone 5 will run on 4G making it Apple's first ever 4G LTE phone.

The phone's camera is still 8 megapixels and almost exactly mirrors the 4S model's cam. However, the iPhone 5 can shoot panorama shots to produce a 28MP image and it can also take photos while shooting a video.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes for the iPhone is its dock connector. Welcome to the new eight-signal mode coined "Lightning." It's 80 percent smaller than what Apple fans are used to, and old dock connectors will be made available. It's uncertain if these will ship with the phone.

iOS 6, Apple's new mobile operating system, is included with this update. With this system, users will find Passbook, Apple's new e-tickets app, plus the ability to FaceTime over 3G (network depending). Apple has also revealed its own maps product, featuring detailed satellite imagery, turn-by-turn directions and 3D imagery of buildings on the street.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 start today, September 14, through the Apple Online Store. The phone is expected to ship starting September 21. Prices will start at $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the largest model, a whopping 64GB. Check with your carrier for more information about their own specific roll-out dates.