Apple iPhone 5 Australian buying guide

An Australian guide to buying the iPhone 5

Apple's new iPhone 5

Apple's new iPhone 5

Apple has unveiled the company's latest iPhone — the iPhone 5. It features a thinner and lighter design, a larger "retina" display and comes with 4G LTE connectivity that will support the Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile 4G networks in Australia.

For full details on all the iPhone 5's new features, read our iPhone 5 preview.

What, when, where, how? We've got all the Australian details of the iPhone 5 you need to know.

Why you want an iPhone 5?

Apple says the iPhone 5 was designed from the ground up as a completely new device, but it seems most of the features are incremental upgrades. If you're coming from an iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, however, there are a number of new and improved features that should do enough to convince you to upgrade.

The biggest drawcard is 4G connectivity. Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile will all sell the iPhone 5 on their 1800MHz 4G networks Down Under. The iPhone 5 has a single chip for voice and data and a single radio chip. 4G networks are significantly faster than their 3G counterparts, so if you're an iPhone owner right now the iPhone 5's ability to deliver faster download and upload speeds on Telstra and Optus is the biggest incentive to upgrade.

The screen is also larger at 4in, up from 3.5in. This should please users who may have been tempted by the bigger size of rival devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III. The screen is the same width but is taller: Apple says it was designed this way to make it comfortably to stretch your thumbs across the width of the display.

The iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter than previous models. Apple says it's the world's thinnest smartphone at just 7.6mm thick, though we're not sure about the validity of that claim given the Android-based Huawei Ascend P1 S measures 6.68mm. The official stats are 18 per cent thinner than the iPhone 4S and 20 per cent lighter at 118g.

The iPhone 5 also has an updated A6 processor and a few nice camera upgrades. The pick of the features appears to be a new panorama mode that can capture a 28-megapixel panorama image by stitching together images. The front camera of the iPhone 5 has also been updated and now supports 720p video.

Why you don't want an iPhone 5

Apple may say it has completely redesigned the iPhone, but a lot of similarities remain. The display may be larger but it offers the same 326ppi pixel density. The style of the phone looks a little similar to previous models. The thinner and lighter form factor is certainly a nice upgrade, but it's not a definite "must-have" if you already own an iPhone 4S.

As widely rumoured before the launch, the iPhone 5 uses a completely new dock connector that Apple simply calls "lightning". The 8-pin port is reversible so you can plug the connector in regardless of the way it is facing. This is all well and good, but if you own a heap of iPhone accessories, the dock will no longer be compatible.

For older accessories that use the traditional 30-pin plug, Apple will sell two lightning adapters but they're not included in the box with the iPhone 5. It costs $35 for a regular Lightning to 30-pin adapter or $45 for a Lighting to 30-pin adapter with a 0.2m cord — you'll need the latter if you want to connect the iPhone 5 to a dock that uses the older 30-pin connector port.

Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adapter ($35)
Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adapter ($35)

The iPhone 5 will use a new SIM card standard called Nano-SIM. It's a smaller SIM card than the Micro-SIM Apple used on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. That means your current SIM card won't work on the iPhone 5. So far, Apple is the only manufacturer to use the smaller Nano-SIM standard.

What's the deal with 4G?

The iPhone 5 will work on the 4G networks operated in Australia by Telstra and Optus. Both of these networks use the 1800MHz LTE band. Virgin Mobile, being an Optus MVNO, will also sell the iPhone on its 4G network. Vodafone has not yet launched a 4G network in Australia, so it will only sell the iPhone 5 on its regular 3G network.

When will the iPhone 5 be available in Australia?

The iPhone 5 will be go on sale in Australia on Friday 21 September, the same as the US launch date. In good news for Australian consumers, Australia is once again a tier one country by Apple meaning none of the delays we saw with the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4. In the past, Australian's have had to wait a number of weeks after the US to buy the new iPhone.

Along with Australia and the US, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK will also get the iPhone 5 from day one. A selection of other countries, many in Europe, will have to wait until 28 September to get their hands on the iPhone 5. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Apple says the iPhone 5 will be available in "over 100 countries" by December 2012.

Where will I be able to buy the iPhone 5 from?

The Apple iPhone 5 will be available from all three major telcos in Australia — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. It will also be available through Optus subsidiary Virgin Mobile.

Like the current iPhone, the iPhone 5 will also be sold outright through Apple's Retail Stores across the country and through Apple's online store.

How much will the iPhone 5 cost?

The iPhone 5 will come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models with Australian pricing starting at $799 for the 16GB model. The 32GB model will set you back $899 and the 64GB version will cost $999.

Though Apple sells the iPhone 5 outright, many people will sign up to a two-year contract. These new plans will be of particular interest to current iPhone 4 owners: by now many of them have just finished a two year contract, so they will be ready to sign up to a new one and upgrade their handset.

iPhone 5 pricing for Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile (click on each for more details) is detailed below.

Telstra

Telstra's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.
Telstra's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.

Telstra's pricing for the 32GB model iPhone 5.
Telstra's pricing for the 32GB model iPhone 5.

Telstra's pricing for the 64GB model iPhone 5.
Telstra's pricing for the 64GB model iPhone 5.

Optus

Optus pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.
Optus pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.

Optus pricing for the 32GB model iPhone 5.
Optus pricing for the 32GB model iPhone 5.

Optus pricing for the 64GB model iPhone 5.
Optus pricing for the 64GB model iPhone 5.

Vodafone

Vodafone's pricing for the iPhone 5.
Vodafone's pricing for the iPhone 5.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.
Virgin Mobile's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.

Virgin Mobile's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.
Virgin Mobile's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.

Virgin Mobile's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.
Virgin Mobile's pricing for the 16GB model iPhone 5.

What do you think about the iPhone 5? Has Apple given you enough reasons to update from an iPhone 4S or iPhone 4? Let us know in the comments below!

Related content

Apple iPhone 5 preview
Apple's iPhone 5 is 4G for Australia, too
Apple iPhone 5 vs. Apple iPhone 4S: What's the difference?
Apple's iPhone 5 'Lightning' adapters will retail for $35 and $45, not available until October

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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