Under new CEO Tim Cook, the Cupertino giant had been trying to "double down on secrecy" and not leak any details about the device ahead of time. A few details snuck out, however, as they tend to do in the mobile world. (See 5 iPhone 5 Features Carriers Should Care About .)
Here's a quick recap of what expected announcements Apple delivered on today and which features didn't make the cut in iPhone 5.
: Many expected Apple's device to be a revolutionary leap over past versions, which have so far been iterative. But, by in large, that wasn't the case. The iPhone 5 is slightly bigger than its predecessor, weighs less and has a bigger screen, but, otherwise, it's the same iPhone that Apple Fanboys know and love.
NFC is a no-go
The iPhone 5 won't be replacing your wallet any time soon, as the new device lacked a Near-Field Communications (NFC) chip. Apple announced its Passbook mobile ticketing and loyalty app, submitted patents around NFC and recently acquired mobile payments security provider Autentec, but it looks like the contactless tech is stuck in the labs. (See Apple Could Make Mobile Payments AuthenTec.)
CPU gets revved up
Along with the faster network, the iPhone 5 includes a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics engine in the A6 that are twice as fast as its predecessor, the A5.
Battery life letdown
: Apple didn't make a big deal about the iPhone 5's battery life like Motorola did on its new Droids. The iPhone 5 bests the battery life of the 4S, but not by much. Apple says it will run for eight hours of 3G talk time, 3G browsing and LTE browsing.
HD Voice, but no VoLTE
: As expected, users won't be able to talk over 4G on the new iPhone, although they will have better quality for their calls. Wideband audio technology will make voice calls seem more natural, Apple's Phil Schiller said today, according to AllThingsD. Twenty carriers, including Salt SA and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), will support this at launch. (See Will iPhone 5 Have a 4G Voice?)
No iPad Mini
The iPad Mini did not make its debut alongside its iPhone brethren. Instead, the "one more thing" late Apple CEO Steve Jobs made famous was a performance by the Foo Fighters. Apple's expected to hold another event in October to unveil the miniaturized iPad. (See iPad Mini: Wi-Fi Only & Camera-Free?)
I think that the interesting thing is that it seems to have hurried along Sprint & AT&T with LTE launches. AT&T says they'll be at 100 cities by year's end. Sprint at 100 in "coming months."
I did enjoy the "analysis" by one Michael Feroli of JP Morgan Chase that the iPhone 5 will magically add 0.33% to the US GDP in 4Q. Apple may be wasting its money on marketing -- it has plenty of (probably) unpaid cheerleaders.