September 12, 2012: Apple introduces the iPhone 5, with a super-slim form factor that makes it the thinnest smartphone in the world.
The new iPhone also brings impressive upgrades such as a greatly improved display and the Lightning port. Despite some controversy, it proves a massive hit.
Impressive iPhone 5 specs
The iPhone 5 boasted a stunning new 4-inch Retina display and a powerhouse processor, the Apple-designed A6 chip. At the time, it was the slenderest smartphone ever. Its 7.6mm anodized aluminum body measured 18% thinner and 20% lighter than its predecessor.
The iPhone 5’s 8-megapixel iSight camera came in 25% smaller than the camera in the iPhone 4s. And yet a new panorama feature let users record ultra-wide panoramas of up to 28 megapixels. Camera software upgrades also allowed new video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos as you recorded video.
The iPhone 5 also came packaged with new EarPods, which marked a notable step up from Apple’s previous earbuds.
Criticism at iPhone 5 launch
The iPhone 5 did not escape controversy, however. On the hardware front, Apple faced criticism for its decision to replace the old 30-pin iPhone connector with a new Lightning connector that was smaller, smarter and more durable than its predecessor. Apple produced a Lightning adapter that let users connect to the old-style port. However, the dongle didn’t come with the new phone.
On the software front, the biggest bad memory about the iPhone 5 is the debut of Apple Maps, which arrived with the new iOS 6 operating system. One of the most notorious botches in Apple history, Maps’ problems ranged from depicting horribly warped landscapes to directing folks visiting the airport in Fairbanks, Alaska, to drive across one of the taxiways.
Today Apple’s mapping service is vastly improved. But at the time, Apple Maps’ shortcomings dominated news reports about the iPhone 5 launch.
Apple’s first post-Steve Jobs iPhone
The iPhone 5 was the first iPhone released after Steve Jobs died. The device was developed and released entirely under the watch of CEO Tim Cook.
It followed the iPhone 4s, which, rightly or wrongly, drew criticism from some quarters for demonstrating that perhaps innovation was beginning to stall at Apple. (Cook was CEO when the iPhone 4s was released, but he only took over a few weeks before its public debut.)
In the end, the iPhone 5 proved an enormous commercial success, selling out around 20 times faster than the preceding iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. AT&T called the iPhone 5 the fastest-selling iPhone the company ever offered.
Did you own an iPhone 5? If so, what are your memories of Apple’s 2012 iPhone? Leave your comments below.