View Comments
iPhone unveiled, Australian release next week
Apple's new iPhone is tested at an event in San Francisco. Picture: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Australians will be among the first in the world to see the Apple iPhone 5 next Friday.

The hotly-anticipated version of Apple’s blockbuster phone, launched overnight, will be faster, taller, thinner and 20 per cent lighter than the iPhone 4S.

It will also connect to super-fast 4G networks in Australia, making web browsing quicker than ever.

The new design features an anodised aluminium body with a four-inch retina display, which is taller but not wider, allowing for an extra row of icons on the screen.

It features an 8 megapixel iSight camera, which can capture panorama images of up to 28 megapixels by moving the camera across a scene “in one smooth motion”.

The phone will come with newly designed “EarPods” earphones, which Apple said were designed for a better fit in the ear canal.

As rumoured, the iPhone 5 will have a new, smaller connector, making it necessary for users to purchase an adaptor for their older accessories.

The iOS 6 software on the new iPhone includes upgrades to Siri to support more languages and better access to local information as well as an Apple Maps app.

The mapping feature replaces the old built-in Google Maps feature and includes a new flyover view.

The iPhone 5 uses long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity and will be able to connect to Telstra and Optus 4G networks in Australia.

At the launch event in San Francisco, Apple also unveiled new iTunes software and a new range of iPod devices.

The release is expected to help Apple recapture attention and revenue after it lost the lead in smartphones to Samsung this year.

Apple's announcements were largely in line with investor expectations, and their response was tepid. Apple shares rose $5.13, or 0.8 per cent, to $US665.72 ($A641.01) in afternoon trading. Shares have jumped as expectations rose for the iPhone 5, rallying 16 per cent since Apple's latest earnings report in July.