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iPhone 5: lots of fanfare, no surprises -- but your old charger won't work

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Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook takes the stage after the introduction of the iPhone 5

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook takes the stage after the introduction of the iPhone 5

The Apple iPhone 5, showing the new Lightning connector

The Apple iPhone 5, showing the new Lightning connector

Getty Images

Getty Images

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, talks through the new iPhone 5 connector at the devices launch

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, talks through the new iPhone 5 connector at the devices launch

Getty Images

Getty Images

The new iPhone 5. Photo: PA

The new iPhone 5. Photo: PA

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Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook takes the stage after the introduction of the iPhone 5

THE surprise was that there were no surprises. Technology giant Apple, famed for its product secrecy, launched the iPhone 5 last night but almost all its goodies had been leaked well in advance.

Sales of the current model had slowed dramatically in recent weeks as buyers held off in anticipation of a thinner, lighter, faster model with a bigger screen. That is exactly what they got when Apple boss Tim Cook unveiled his newest smartphone at a lavish event in San Francisco broadcast to European media in London.

The iPhone 5 will go on sale in Ireland on September 28, just one week after it makes its debut in other countries, including the US and UK. Prices will be identical to the current models.

Journalists queued and jostled to grab a few minutes' time with demo models after the presentation. But the brief hands-on with the phone was enough to convince most that Apple has another massive hit in the making.

In comparison to the iPhone 4S, it looks almost identical save for a taller screen measuring four inches.

Featherlight

But in the hand it immediately feels featherlight and noticeably less portly. Adding just an extra half-inch to the screen depth matters more than you might think, showing you more of your emails, web pages, videos and pictures.

Inevitably, it performs faster too, with apps launching in half the time. In many ways, though, Apple was just playing catch-up, because its rivals had already moved to bigger screens and slimmer designs.

Some buyers will be disappointed that neither battery life nor the camera were dramatically improved, though Apple promised both are better than the previous generations.

In a presentation liberally dotted with more hyperbole than the Steve Jobs era, Cook and his team regularly threw out words such as "amazing", "revolutionary" and "phenomenal".

What they didn't mention was how annoying many customers will find the new, smaller power connector.

Apple will sell you an adaptor, of course, but all current chargers and docks are effectively redundant. Similarly, the new SIM card is now 44pc smaller and thus won't fit any other phones.

Minor irritations such as these are unlikely to make buyers think twice, with one analyst predicting Apple will sell 10 million iPhone 5s in its first week.