UPDATE: Apple has now announced the UK pricing for the iPhone 5.
ORIGINAL STORY: As expected, Apple used its press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to unveil the iPhone 5 and iOS 6. While the announcement may not have been a surprise, the revisions to the hardware still managed to raise eyebrows.
Introduced by Apple's Phil Schiller as "the most beautiful product we've ever made", the iPhone 5 somehow manages to outstrip the 4S in every area, while still being smaller (7.6mm) and lighter (112g) than its predecessor.
The 4" screen is considerably larger, which has to be good news for gamers, while its 326 PPI retina display and 1136 x 640 screen resolution means everything should look the business. The 16:9 aspect ratio should also please visual purists.
The larger display means the home screen can now fit a fifth row of icons, while apps that haven't been updated for the new screen will automatically be centred with black borders to either side.
The screen also improves on touch sensitivity, with one less layer and sharper response. Schiller proclaims it "the most accurate display in the industry".
Wireless speeds, too, have been cranked up as the iPhone 5 supports the latest high speed mobile protocols such as HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and LTE. The WiFi connection offers 2.4ghz and 5ghz on 802.11n, meaning that speeds of over 100Mbps are possible, theoretically at least.
Inside that slim shell, the stats just keep coming. The new A6 processor is 22% smaller than the A5 yet runs twice as fast, while offering better battery life than the iPhone 4S.
So what are the implications for gamers? Rob Murray from EA took the stage to ram that message home, showing off Real Racing 3, which boasts highly impressive visuals bordering on photo realistic. "Full console quality", Murray claims and he doesn't seem to be far wrong. Even the rear view mirrors are showing real-time reflections. He also gives a quick multiplayer demo, showing how a new Game Center feature allows for time-shifted head-to-head racing.
In terms of other technical improvements, the iSight camera is packing 8Mp of visual muscle, taking photos up to 3264 x 2448 resolution, and comes with a built-in panorama mode. Video can be shot in 1080p HD, you can take photos while filming while the audio components offer three discrete microphones and wideband spectrum.
The iPhone 5 also sees Apple abandoning the chunky 30 pin adaptor that has remained since the iPod days, replacing it with the Lightning connector - 80 per cent smaller, all digital, reversible and with an adaptive interface. You'll be able to get an adaptor so the iPhone 5 will still work with your existing car charger or speaker dock.
Outside the gaming realm, iOS 6 looks set to offer lots of fun new features as well. Improved maps with a 3D flyover view. Full screen Safari browser with iCloud tabs, Photostream sharing and the Passbook, which stores e-tickets, boarding passes and the like, and can be accessed from the lockscreen.
And for the final bombshell? Pre-orders go live this Friday, September 14th, with the iPhone 5 shipping in the UK from September 21st. Prices in the US are the same as they were for the 4S - $199 for the 16Gb model, $299 for 32Gb and $399 for Mr Moneybags with his 64Gb model.
We'll update with UK prices and official images as they become available.