The hype surrounding the 5 prior to its official launch reached staggering levels, at least by comparison with other tech devices. For , it was just another day at the office.

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Now that the iPhone 5 is here, what features has Apple brought to the table that were not present in previous generations of this handset and should you bother buying one?

Design

From the front the iPhone 5 resembles a slightly stretched iPhone 4, because it retains the visual detailing that has defined this family of devices since 2010. Its extra length is necessary to include a larger display, while the two tone back plate does diverge slightly from what Apple has offered in the past.

Apple has made the iPhone 5 18 per cent thinner than the 4 and 4S, while the weight has also dropped by 20 per cent, which means it is a handsome handset that will manage to turn heads. The fact that the iPhone 5 will sell by the tens of millions does somewhat dampen its uniqueness, but most users will not mind that everyone else is cupping a similar device to their ear.

Hardware

Apple`s most obvious upgrade for the iPhone 5 is of course the display, which now measures four inches rather than the 3.5 inch measurement that has been a feature of this family of products since 2007.

The screen has an 1136×640 resolution, allowing it to offer the same pixel density as the 3.5 inch Retina Display of the past generation while giving you more area to enjoy. The longer screen also means that you get a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio rather than the 4:3 square alternative that was previously seen.

Powered by the new dual core A6 processor, Apple is boasting that the iPhone 5 has twice the power and graphical grunt of the 4S, which it has been happy to demonstrate with a number of games and apps.

While the camera of the iPhone 5 has the same eight megapixel sensor resolution as that of the 4S, it is able to offer better performance in poor lighting conditions. The secondary 1.2 megapixel camera has also been given a boost, allowing for 720p video recording and better quality during FaceTime calls.

You can choose between 16GB and 64GB of storage for the iPhone 5, although Apple has continued to ignore the calls for expandable storage options, so there is no way to add to the fixed onboard memory.

Software

The iPhone 5 comes preloaded with iOS 6, which is Apple`s latest mobile operating system. The larger screen has allowed for a few tweaks to the interface and Apple has gone all out to make sure that gesture-based interactions and multitouch functionality are all used to the best of their potential.

Siri, the voice controlled digital assistant which was introduced on the iPhone 4S, is present and correct. Indeed it has actually been overhauled by Apple to make sure that it works far more impressively than it did in its initial release.

Apple has chosen to go it alone with its own proprietary mapping application for navigation and location based services with iOS 6. This means that Maps is only available as a third party service. Some have been reporting problems with Apple`s in-house mapping, although these should be ironed out with further updates.

The iPhone 5 has been receiving a generally positive response from the critics in the latest UK news, in spite of some mean spirited detractors poking holes in its features. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that Apple sold out 2 million pre-order handsets in a matter of hours, so critical opinion will play little to no part in the success of this device.