The iPhone 5 was released with much fanfare on Wednesday, creating a buzz on Internet forums and coffee shops alike.  The most interesting new features of the iPhone 5 are the Lightning dock connector, the Widescreen aspect ratio 4″ screen, and the thinner, lighter design.  Normally I would have talked a bit about the processing power, but as usual, Apple upgraded the processor enough to handle iOS 6 well.  Time will tell how long the iPhone 5 will support the upcoming releases, but if history is any indication, expect the iPhone 5 to be cutting edge for at least 2 years.

The Lightning dock connector is probably the most significant and controversial feature on the iPhone 5.  The dock connector has been a part of our Apple gadget lives for almost a decade.  It’s in our cars, on our sound docks, and we’ve got dozens of cables with that clumsy unidirectional interface.  But now they have the Lightning dock, which is smaller, more durable, and does everything the old connector used to do except take up as much space doesn’t do everything the old connector used to do, lacking an ‘iPod’ output and video output support.  Of course, this makes all the connectors in the sound/charging/car stereo docks rather useless unless the forthcoming dock connector is durable enough to hold the 4oz. iPhone 5 steady.  Until we can test the adapter, we don’t know whether or not it will work with existing car inputs, sound docks, etc.

Apple added 1/2″ to the screen, taking it from 3.5 inches to 4, and increasing the resolution in the process.  This is an interesting change to the normally standard screen sizes found on Apple devices.  Rather than eliminate the iPhone 4 and 4S, they chose to keep the older models and cheaper alternatives to the taller resolution iPhone 5.  The taller screen will add a row of icons for applications and improve the camera/camcorder view.

Thinner and lighter is a design infatuation that has plagued artistic engineers for decades.  The iPhone 5 certainly does not fall short in the thinner and lighter department.  Perhaps it could be more ergonomic rather than so thin, but Apple is banking on you buying a case for the device to suit your needs.

What we didn’t get with the iPhone 5 is an actual flash for the camera, an increase in the camera resolution, or an Apple-designed power add-on option.  By this point, I’d like to use the device as an every day camera, beyond the simple LED flash.  Also, many of us use these devices throughout the day, running the battery down before nightfall.  We would like a solution from Apple to address the lack of a replaceable or add-on battery.  Even an inductive charging system would be a welcome addition to the iPhone/iPod/iPad line.

Overall, Apple did well with the iPhone 5, considering the price has not changed.  You can buy the iPhone 5 on September 21st from Apple stores nationwide, or pre-order on Apple’s web store.