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iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S: Detailed Feature Comparison

Updated on October 14, 2012

The sixth generation of Apple's vaunted iPhone—the iPhone 5—was announced by Apple on September 12, 2012, approximately one year after the launch of the iPhone 4S, and began shipping on September 21, not even two weeks later.

Although the form factor has changed somewhat (the iPhone 5 is larger and lighter than its predecessor), other enhancements and changes are lurking under the hood. Read on to see what's changed in the iPhone 5 compared to its older brother, the iPhone 4S.

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5

iPhone 4S
iPhone 5
Launch date
October 2011
September 2012
Form factor
iPhone 4
Case Material (chassis)
Aluminum and Glass
Operating system
iOS 5
iOS 6
Screen size
3.5 inch
4 inch
Dual-core A5
Dual-core A6
Mobile network
Back: 8 megapixel; Front: 0.3 megapixel, 480p video
Back: 8 megapixel, 40% faster shutter speed; Front: 720p video
140 g (4.9 oz)
112 g (4 oz)
9.3 mm
7.6 mm
With 2-year plan: $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), $399 (64GB)
The thinner iPhone 5 boasts an aluminum back, recalling the original iPhone's iconic, metallic design.
The thinner iPhone 5 boasts an aluminum back, recalling the original iPhone's iconic, metallic design.
The iPhone 5's larger screen accommodates a fifth row of icons (the iPhone 4S only has four rows).
The iPhone 5's larger screen accommodates a fifth row of icons (the iPhone 4S only has four rows).

Hands-on video of iPhone 5

Will you buy the iPhone 5?

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The new 8-pin, all-digital and bidirectional "Lightning" port connector.
The new 8-pin, all-digital and bidirectional "Lightning" port connector.

Here's what we know based on Apple's announcement:

  • 4G: The iPhone 5 is the first 4G iPhone available on all three US carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint). It can accommodate both true 4G/LTE technology as well as DC-HSPDA, HSPA+ (3.5G), EVDO and earlier technologies as a fallback when 4G connections are unavailable.
    U.S.: Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.
    Canada: Rogers, Telus, Bell, Fido, and Virgin Mobile.
    Asia: Softbank, Smartone, Singtel, and SK Telecom.
    Europe: Deutsche Telekom, and EE.
    Australia: Telstra, Optus, and Virgin Mobile.
  • Larger, thinner screen. The most significant change is that the screen has grown from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. The size increase represents the first time Apple has ever expanded the screen dimensions on an iPhone.
    In addition, the screen will see both inductive (touchscreen) and display (LCD) layers merged into one, allowing the screen to be thinner and using less energy to attain the same brightness.
    The screen also displays true sRGB rendering, resulting in colors with 44% great saturation than in the previous iPhone 4S.
  • Smaller port. The 21-mm wide, 30-pin connector port at the bottom of the phone is expected to be replaced with an 80% narrower, all-digital 8-pin port, dubbed "Lightning." Adapters to use previous port connectors will be available.
  • Faster chip. With each successive Apple mobile operating system, increased complexity and added features create strains on the processor. Apple is likely to move away from working with Samsung, with whom it has a number of outstanding patent lawsuits underway, and move to an updated, dual-core A6 chip. The A6, with an enhanced graphics processor, is 22% smaller than the A5 in the iPhone 4S, but Apple claims it has almost double the processing speed.
  • Improved battery. The iPhone 5's battery will make use of the phone's larger footprint, with its weight bumped up from 0.80 oz (22.7g) to 0.96 (27.2g). According to iResQ, the iPhone 5 battery will be 3.8V/5.45Whr while the iPhone 4S is currently 3.7V/5.3Whr.
  • Better camera. The iPhone 5 has an 8 million pixel camera (similar to the iPhone 4S), but it has an improvement in shutter speed: capturing and storing images is now 40% faster than in the iPhone 5's predecessor.
  • Case material improvements. In a nod to the first-generation iPhone, the back of the iPhone 5 has seen the return of metal: aluminum. The body now is a hybrid of aluminum and glass, and is approximately 20% lighter than the 4S, at 112 grams (4 ounces).

What didn't make the cut

There is a wide range of phone features, some prominently featured on the iPhone's Android competitors, that will likely not debut in the 2012 model. These include:

  • NFC (near-field communication) chip: iWallet will probably have to wait.
  • Wireless (inductive) charging
  • ORB (organic radical battery)


Submit a Comment
  • toptenreview profile image

    Tre Griffey 

    7 years ago from Utah, USA

    I think that the best thing to do when buying an iPhone is buying the phone every other release date. I don't buy everyone because I don't think that they make that many changes from year to year. I bought the 4 and then waited until the 5. For me, there were enough changes to make me want to buy it. I was still able to sell my phone and cover costs on the new one.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I myself, created this account; on this website to most importantly send out my most sincere appreciation for this article. This is hands down the best written article on this topic and I would like to take this time to say, Thank you. Everything in it is detailed and after each subject you keep going , in which I loved. Good Job

    Before I leave this website, I must ask because I cannot seem to get this out of my head, "Are we just fascinating over a supposite Iphone 5? Or will there actually be an Iphone 5 this year?" I ask this question for one reason and one reason only, why would Apple not announce anything about an Iphone 5 coming out in less than two to three months? If that is true or false why has Apple not announce there will NOT be a NEW Iphone this year, why keep it such a secret, hmm..? Also If you go onto Apple's website they are giving out the ISO 6 features during the "supposite" release time of the Iphone 5. Why release a new ISO if you're just going to be coming out with a new Iphone in a few days, why not just keep the BRAND NEW ISO 6 for the Iphone 5, why give it away for free to Iphone 4/S user's? Could the new Iphone just be the new ISO package and not a NEW phone?

    Thank you for your time and if you decide to reply thank you.


    Chris Nap's

  • CTKHub4u profile image


    9 years ago

    not sure if they ever mentioned the pixel level of the Screens, just how much is it? without a lot, while the screen is still small , this limits touch screen ergonomics for link/URL selections & webpage zooming requirement often, and need a mouse controller/pad added. What I would like to see added as hardware component for the IPhone 5, is a slide pad, not for keyboard text pad, but a virtual screen panel added, would be more rugged, lower pixel for touch animation control virtual keyboard/pad/Mouse or 3D/Gaming image control panel. That or Multi small compact batter compartment holding about 3 to 5 Mini batteries to surly lengthen the time usage.

  • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

    Jason Menayan 

    9 years ago from San Francisco

    JYersak33: Thank you for your comment. I got the 3G, but have been on Android since. I might go back to the iPhone, but would only do so if there's 4G capability, and, ideally, some Swype-like input method that's faster than pecking each letter.

  • JYersak33 profile image


    9 years ago from Statesville, NC

    Good hub. I follow Apple pretty heavy. I have watched (rather read live updates from gizmodo) the WWDC every year and with the iPhone conference being moved to October I will begin following that as well. I, for one, cannot wait on the next iteration of the iPhone. A recent data log of iOS 5.1 has shown iPhone 5,1 in the data log entries. Which means the hardware is being tested already. I have decided to skip the upgrade years (3GS, 4S, etc) and go with the next new one. The upgrades are not large enough to justify an early upgrade for me. But the redesign years are surely hit.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    The iphone 5 will come out at the same time as the iPad 3, I cant wait!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I want to get an Iphone do I get the Iphone 5 or wait for the Iphone 6? Your thoughts!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    why do you care right now the phones coming out in more then a year worry about it then

  • profile image

    i like cheese 

    10 years ago

    OMG i want one

  • profile image

    i like cheese 

    10 years ago

    Are they going to bring out a new one every year or what? it just means that everyone is going to start spending all of there money on a new one every year including the apps, covers and game's.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    That phone is so kool that when it comes out u am going 2 get it on the first day it comes out

  • profile image

    Jimmy C 

    10 years ago

    before i never used iphone from generation 1-3, and 3gs. until i brought i4 the phone are stylish, flat, tons and tons of apps and good high speed. now i am in love with my i4. i hate the most is signal problem not strong enough to weak and opening power booting way too slow - too slow man and every time open screen for password, i hate it soo much, people can see my password at my back somewhere or friend next to me might see the password. apple iphone need to change more, like face recogizer by front camra or thumb recognition as a security measure into 2 optional setup is the best. please take off the front square button that is soo gay man and old style, better to have touch screen, no more button.

  • profile image

    Hahahah lol 

    10 years ago

    This is totally wicked dude

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Well I'am looking forward to the iPhone 6 as my contract ends in 2012, if history serves us right the iPhone 5 will maintain it's price, get a storage and memory bump, CPU upgrade and camera improvements.

    I doubt there will be changes in the form factor it will be purely cosmetic, no 4g is

    Dead on, I have a feeling at next years WWDC Steve jobs will re emerge with a iPhone 4G.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Well my Dadd has all the dang iPhones invented so I don't care about iPhones. Lik seriously y would people care about cones that were new but there are going to be even more

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Great hun!

    Some sources believe about the possibility of a telepathic control unit (TCU) that will allow you to answer the phone or choose song with a glitch of your mind.

    Some other sources go farther and describe a precognition core processor that will know which app or song you are going to buy before you are aware or even before they are developed.

  • nikitha p profile image

    nikitha p 

    10 years ago from India

    Very informative hub, I wish this is my next mobile.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    You know, a transparent iPhone wouldn't be much to see - some circuit boards. Unless you propose to enlarge the phone?

    Also, the battery will NEVER be part of the case. That's just too dangerous - scratch it and who know? I know some of my classmates have serious gouges in theirs. The projector isn't practical, and the existing models are about the size of an iPad, and cost in the thousands. No.

    They don't want to increase the touch resolution. That's a ton of money to do so. So no thumb or face recognition.

    About NFC. Imagine how easy it would be to just grab the signal - all you'd need is a remote controller with a switch. Apple wouldn't do this if they wanted to keep selling iPhones.

    I would cry if they got rid of the button. It's my friend.

    How would entering DFU mode work? And how would you force restart the iphone if there was only a software button? NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    awesome i like

  • profile image


    10 years ago


  • profile image


    10 years ago

    saweet! they should have two cameras so you can take 3d photos =^)

  • Trsmd profile image


    10 years ago from India

    So we have to wait for more than a year for this arrival?

  • SUSIE DUZY profile image


    10 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

    Can't wait. I always have to have the new one immediately.

  • Kamran100 profile image


    10 years ago

    nice hub..iphone is good source of sharing information. thanks for prove the future information!

  • samironwebtrack profile image


    10 years ago

    i am very exited for new i phone...thanks for sharing this.

  • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

    Jason Menayan 

    10 years ago from San Francisco

    GmaGoldie: I wouldn't wait for the iPhone 6. The iPhone 4 can do it (but only with other iPhone 4s right now) and several Android phones with front-facing cameras can do so, too, already. There might not be one phone that can do so with all other phones, unfortunately (at least not yet).

  • GmaGoldie profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 

    10 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


    Great Hub! Would you recommend this phone for video phone calls to family members?

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Awesome planning for the acquisition of the 2012 iPhone! A nifty device to say the least. To be first on line, what a great place to be.


  • ocbill profile image


    10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

    a lot of hype for a phone coming in 2 years? I am leaning towards the google phone.

  • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

    Jason Menayan 

    10 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for your comments, Spider Girl and gr82bme!

    I personally love smart phones - I had an iPhone (3G) and now have an Android (Nexus One) - and am looking forward to the iPhone 6 when it comes out. But yeah, all of it depends on decent coverage with a carrier!

  • gr82bme profile image


    10 years ago from USA

    I really do not care about these phones. I have a cell phone and I barely use it. Ther isn't even any service from my house! It is Verizon and they say you can use it anywhere. BULL!

  • Spider Girl profile image

    Spider Girl 

    10 years ago from the Web

    That's a big news for an iPhone geek like me! Thanks for sharing:)


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