It may have been the worst kept secret in technology history. So much so that when the iPhone 5 finally made its debut on Wednesday in San Francisco, many observers were disappointed because there were no surprises.

The much-ballyhooed device — on sale in Canada through Bell, Rogers, Telus and their sub-brands on Sept. 21 — is packed with everything that was expected: a four-inch screen that's half an inch bigger than its predecessors and slightly sharper, an A6 processor that's twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, and long-term evolution (LTE) cellular connectivity that will make for much zippier downloads.

It's also got a slightly better camera that can now take panoramic photos, and it's thinner and lighter too — about 20 per cent less weighty than the 4S.

On the software side, the iPhone 5 will have better email organization, FaceTime video calling over cellular connections, easy photo stream sharing, a new Maps app and a nifty folder called Passbook, where all sorts of electronic tickets, boarding passes and coupons can be stored.

All told, virtually every specification and feature had been leaked, pieced together by tech detectives or shared by Apple prior to the event. So why the disappointment?

Victim of its own success

Apple has, in many ways, become a victim of its own success. Over the past five years since the launch of the original iPhone, it has grown into the biggest company in the world by market capitalization. Its product launches are thus the most heavily scrutinized — and hyped — events in the technology world.

With each successive event, onlookers grow increasingly curious as to whether the company will again hit a home run, or whether there will be signs that its golden touch might finally be running out, like it eventually has to. Against that backdrop, it's difficult to surprise people.

In some ways, the iPhone 5 is playing catch-up. Some of its capabilities are already found in other phones that have been on the market for months. Several Android devices, for example, do panoramic photos and run on LTE networks.

Other devices are using near-field communication, a wireless technology that lets phones share photos or make mobile payments simply by touching them to a sensor. Apple obviously decided to forego NFC with this version, but that’s evidence that the infrastructure for mobile payments is not yet sufficiently developed, according to Forrester Research analysts Frank Gillett.

When mobile payments start to gain traction, as they could over the next year, Apple will then add the capability, he added. It's a wait-and-see approach.

So, will consumers rush to snap up the iPhone 5, despite the lack of surprises? Many analysts believe so. One report earlier this week suggested the new gadget could singlehandedly boost the U.S. economy.

3.6 million iPhones in Canada

According to Toronto-based tracking firm Solutions Research Group, there are approximately 3.6 million iPhones in circulation in Canada, accounting for about a third of all smartphones. Over the next 12 months, the company expects about 1.5 million new iPhone users to come into the fold, the vast majority of whom will be buying the latest device.

Based on surveys gauging buying intent, this coming Christmas period is going to be the biggest season for smartphones in some time.

"[Apple] are very well positioned to break records come February when they announce what happened during the Christmas season," says Solutions Research Group president Kaan Yigit. "My vote is it will do very well."

So what exactly is it about the iPhone 5 that will have people lining up? After spending some time with the new device at a hands-on session after the press conference, it's clear that its weight — or, more specifically, lack thereof — will be a big selling point. The new phone is touted as being 20 per cent lighter than the 4S, but when holding the two at the same time, it's easy to think it's even lighter than that.

The main material is now anodized aluminum, with a lot less glass involved, which takes away a lot of the heft. The A6 processor is also smaller than its predecessor, so that's also saving weight.

Other than that, the iPhone 5 represents a series of incremental improvements. There's nothing earth-shattering, which is disappointing to those who want to be surprised, but it’s evidently going to be enough for the millions of consumers looking for a new phone.

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  • An Associated Press reporter holds the Apple EarPods during a product review in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Apple EarPods are shown during a product review in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • The new Apple iPhone 5 is displayed Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012 following the introduction of new products in San Francisco. The iPhone 5 is a blend of beauty, utility and versatility. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone 5 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone 5 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • The iPhone 5 is shown during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks about camera quality of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook talks on stage during the introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, gives prices of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Foo Fighters perform during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about new connectivity options during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Greg Joswiak

    CORRECTS ID TO GREG JOSWIAK, NOT EDDY CUE - Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Product Marketing, speaks about EarPods during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Foo Fighters perform during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, gives release dates of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about the introduction of a new operating system during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about new connectivity options during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about new connectivity features during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, talks about the features of the new camera and iSight during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks about camera quality of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of an iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Apple iPhone

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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  • It Works On 4G LTE Networks

    At last, the iPhone will become a part of the LTE community, which means it will streams videos and downloads content at quicker speeds. <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409610,00.asp" target="_hplink">According to PC Mag</a>, LTE connectivity for the iPhone will be available through AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the United States.

  • It's Slimmer, Taller And Sleeker

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/new-iphone-4s-unveiled-at-apple-announcement_n_994462.html" target="_hplink">iPhone 4S</a> has a 3.5 inch display (measured diagonally) and weighs approximately 140 grams. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-features_n_1877637.html?utm_hp_ref=apple-september-event" target="_hplink">iPhone 5</a> boats a 4-inch display and, though taller than its predecessor, is 18 percent thinner (measuring 0.3mm) and 20 percent lighter (weighing 3.95 ounces), according to Philip Schiller, Apple's senior VP of worldwide marketing. The Retina display on the iPhone 5 now "offers 326 pixels per inch" and a resolution of 1,136x640, <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/262242/apple_announces_iphone_5.html" target="_hplink">according to CNET</a>. The back of the device also looks slightly different than that of the iPhone 4S: "<a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/" target="_hplink">The same [aluminum] used in Apple notebooks</a>" covers much of the back of the iPhone 5. Glass is inlaid above and below the aluminum -- either white "ceramic glass" or black "pigmented glass," depending on which color iPhone you select.

  • It Has Better Camera Features

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/galaxy-s3-vs-iphone-4s_n_1615824.html" target="_hplink">iPhone 4S</a> had a VGA front-facing camera (which is less than one megapixel) and a eight-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash. The iPhone 5 brings some significant improvements to this department. <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-camera/" target="_hplink">According to Venture Beat</a>, Apple claims that the camera will take pictures 40 percent faster and will have the ability shoot in "panorama mode." You'll also be able to take photos while filming video -- there's improved video stabilization, too. But the iPhone 5's main camera will still be <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-features_n_1877637.html?utm_hp_ref=apple-september-event" target="_hplink">eight megapixels</a>.

  • The Battery Life Is Longer

    Who dosen't want a smartphone with longer battery life? Apple promises the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-features_n_1877637.html?utm_hp_ref=apple-september-event" target="_hplink">iPhone 5 </a>will last 225 hours on standby, and eight full hours while talking on the phone or surfing the web through 3G. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/galaxy-s3-vs-iphone-4s_n_1615824.html" target="_hplink">iPhone 4S</a> falls just a bit short of the above estimates, maintaining only 7 hours and 41 minutes of talk time, or 6 hours and 56 minutes of web browsing.

  • Its Innards Are More Powerful

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/new-iphone-4s-unveiled-at-apple-announcement_n_994462.html" target="_hplink">iPhone 4S</a> was built around Apple's A5 processor, while the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-features_n_1877637.html?utm_hp_ref=apple-september-event" target="_hplink">iPhone 5</a> houses a slightly faster A6 processor. Apple claims this upgrade gives its latest device twice the computing power.

  • It Comes With New Accessories

    The iPhone 5 steps away from the classic charger ports that have been in use for Apple products since 2003. Say goodbye to the 30-pin dock and hello to Lighting, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/iphone-connector-iphone-5-dock-charger-lightning_n_1878282.html?utm_hp_ref=technology" target="_hplink">reversible 8-pin connector</a> that's approximately 80 percent smaller than the previous charger port. The new smartphone will also be sold with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/earpods-apple-new-earbuds-headphones_n_1878472.html?utm_hp_ref=technology" target="_hplink">EarPods</a>, Apple's latest (and supposedly more comfortable) version of earphones. Without purchasing an iPhone or iPod, these new buds retail for $29.99

  • ...But It's Got A Heaftier Price Tag

    The iPhone 5 is priced on the same scale that the iPhone 4S was when it launched. Purchasing a two-year data contract from a participating wireless carrier will set iPhone 5 buyers back $199 for a 16GB model, $299 for a 32GB model or $399 for a 64GB model. Now that the iPhone 5 is official, the iPhone 4S is getting an attractive price cut. Apple will now sell the 16GB iPhone 4S for $99.