Ten Details You Didn’t Know About iPhone 5 + The 2012 iPods

You’ve followed the rumors and leaks for months. Heard all the details Apple made official during today’s media event in San Francisco. And begun the agonizing process of waiting two whole days for the company to start pre-orders for most of the new iPhone and iPod models. But there are still a bunch of big and little details you probably didn’t hear during Apple’s presentation—and we’ve rounded them up here for you.

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10. The new iPod nano apparently won’t play music or videos through a built-in speaker. Mimicking the design of Apple’s three-button remote controls, the nano has built-in volume buttons straddling a central play/pause/track control button on the left side, but they don’t appear to control integrated speaker output—just the volume level through wired headphones or Bluetooth wireless-connected accessories. Apple’s web site doesn’t make any reference to the new nano having a speaker, either; this is a step back from the fifth-generation model, but no different from the sixth-generation nano, which was also speaker-less.

 

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9. The new iPod nano Home Button looks different from the ones on iOS devices. Apple’s prior bulging rounded square icon has been replaced with a circle, blending into the front of each new iPod nano save for the black version. On the black version, the circle is apparently white. While this isn’t a huge difference from prior versions, it does hint at the bigger difference between the nano and iOS devices—the nano doesn’t run iOS or support iOS apps. Apple has actually made the app-like icons on the iPod nano screen circles rather than rounded rectangles, seemingly as a differentiator between devices. Notably, the new iPod touch also has a redesigned Home Button, but the tweak is only in color: it now uses what appears to be silver ink rather than gray or white for the prior rounded square shape.

 

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8. The new iPod nano won’t play some of the HD videos you’ve created with or downloaded for other Apple devices. Apple lists the nano’s H.264 compatibility as being limited to 720×576 pixels—closer to the old 480p standard than the 720p supported by the new iPod touch, and the higher-resolution 1080p supported by the latest iPhones and iPad. That means some of the videos recorded by the iSight cameras on these devices won’t play on the nano, nor will HD videos downloaded from the iTunes Store.

 

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7. Apple’s new set of eight iPod shuffle colors seemingly includes only four new choices—black, yellow, red, and purple—but there are more changes than initially meets the eye. Only the silver version appears to be kept exactly the same from before, and the prior orange version has disappeared from the lineup, while blue, pink, and green look to have shifted to slightly different shades. Each shuffle will continue to include Apple’s prior-generation Earphones, rather than the new EarPods.

 

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6. The “iPod touch loop” attaches with a pop-out button. Though the initial images may have looked like Apple’s packed-in wrist strap attached magnetically, the iPod touch actually has a swirled metal button that pops out of the case’s back to provide a place to attach a flexible strap. Apple will also sell iPod touch loops separately; the price has not yet been announced.

 

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5. The iPod touch’s rear iSight camera now juts out of the unit’s back. Apple has repeatedly noted that it’s difficult to slim down cameras without compromising their lens and sensor quality, hinting that’s a reason that the prior iPod touch included weak cameras. On the new model, the camera lens system actually sticks out from the otherwise flat back, sitting on the opposite top corner from a pill-shaped antenna compartment. Apple has also added a flash to the iPod touch, and improved the front FaceTime camera to FaceTime HD.

 

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4. There will be three different versions of the iPhone 5. Instead of two models like the iPhone 4—one for GSM and other for CDMA—the iPhone 5 will come in three variations, one for CDMA, and the other two as GSM variations. Model A1428 is GSM for the US and Canada, while Model A1429 will be GSM networks used in the rest of the of the world. As of right now, Germany, the UK, Australia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore are listed as being supported by the A1429. The CDMA version will support Sprint, Verizon, and KDDI (Japan) networks.

 

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3. Both the iPhone 5 and iPod touch 5G include support for dual-band 802.11n wireless, for the first time adding 5GHz antennas to these pocket-sized devices. If you’ve been operating prior iPhones or iPod touches on your slower, often 802.11g-compatible 2.4GHz network, you’ll be glad to know that these new devices work on faster 802.11n 5GHz networks, too.

 

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2. Lightning is, contrary to some users’ hopes, a USB 2.0 Cable. Apple hasn’t made any promises regarding enhanced USB 3 performance with the new Lightning connector. In fact, Apple’s official Store page describes the cable as being “USB 2.0.” The only claimed advantages it offers over the prior 30-pin Dock Connector are a smaller size, enhanced durability, reversible plug, and all-digital connectivity. And, in addition to the adapters everyone knew about, Apple has also introduced an EU-only Lightning to Micro USB Adapter for around $25.

 

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1. The iPod classic’s still here. Still $249. And still 160GB. Like a zombie that refuses to die, the crusty old iPod classic remains in Apple’s lineup for yet another year, unaddressed during Apple’s media event, and seemingly unchanged in any other way.

There’s obviously a lot more to share. A new version of iTunes (10.7) is out today, with a much larger rewrite coming in October. And Apple is expected to announce the iPad mini at a second special event in October—either before or after the new iPods and iTunes are released. We’ll have much more to say over the next 60 days on all of these developments, and many more.