Manufactured entirely of glass and aluminum, at 7.6mm thin and 112 grams it's the thinnest and lightest iPhone yet.
The "exacting level of standards" in the new device makes it "the most beautiful product we've ever made," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in introducing the iPhone 5, which Apple confirmed as the official name for the latest generation of its mobile phone.
The most visible difference from its iPhone 4S predecessor is the screen, larger at 4 inches tall and featuring 1136 by 640 resolution.
All of Apple's native apps have been updated on the iPhone 5 to take advantage of the larger display, MacWorld reported.
With LTE, the iPhone 5 can achieve a "theoretical maximum downlink of up to 100Mbps," Schiller said, noting LTE partners for the iPhone 5 in the United States would include Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.
Along with a processor said to be twice as fast as the one in the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 will have longer battery life and a faster, smaller camera than the iPhone 4.
Finally, the iPhone 5 has forgone the familiar 30-pin dock connector port of all previous iPhones for a smaller 8-pin port, which means an adapter will be needed to use the new iPhone with aftermarket devices made for use with previous generations of the phone.
Schiller said Apple would offer such an adapter, but did not discuss pricing.