New Apple iPhone 5 Unveiled—Is it Worth it?

Edward C. Baig of USA TODAY was one of the lucky few to get an invite-only pass to the press event for the eagerly anticipated new Apple iPhone 5.

There are many substantial improvements to the new model, and few disadvantages that current iPhone users will not be happy about.

First off, good news: the screen size has been increased from 3.7 inches to 4 inches. The space increase allows a fifth row of app icons to be viewed on the main screen. It’s also 18 percent thinner (the lightest and thinnest iPhone to date) and made entirely of aluminum and gas.

The new model can go into wireless 4G LTE networks and users can get up to 8 hours of 3G talk time from the battery. Three microphones and better speakers have been installed.

You’ll also be able to launch music, various apps, photos much faster. And, speaking of photos, the camera features have improved, even capturing panorama images. Apple demonstrated this during the conference, showing a 28-megapixels panoramic image of the Golden Gate Bridge. Very cool!

The real excitement though is the iOS 6 software upgrade. It gives you turn-by-turn audio directions and built-in maps you can zoom in on for an incredibly realistic geographical experience.

One addition Baig really liked was the iOS 6 addition called “Passbook,” a repository for boarding passes (which you can display from the lock screen), coupons, and other important documents you don’t want to have to carry around separately.

And, that’s not all—iOS 6 also comes with Shared Photo Streams for those that love to shares images with friends.

Improvements have also been made to the virtual assistant, Siri, to launch apps, get sports scores, and movie recommendations.

The iPhone 5 will launch September 21st and can be pre-ordered this Friday, September 14. You can choose from black and white, with models coming in 16GB ($199), 32GB ($299) and 64GB ($399).

If you missed the event, you can view the video below!