Creating an entirely new design meant inventing entirely new technology.

When we envisioned the new iPhone, we landed on a remarkably thin and light design. But it’s nearly impossible to make a device so thin and so light without sacrificing features or performance.

We could have taken the easy way out and designed something more reasonable and less remarkable. But we didn’t. If the technology didn’t exist, we invented it. If a component wasn’t small enough, we re-imagined it. If convention was standing in the way, we left it behind. The result is iPhone 5: the thinnest, lightest, fastest iPhone ever.

iPhone 5 is just 7.6 millimetres thin. To make that happen, Apple engineers had to think small, component by component. They created a nano-SIM card, which is 44 per cent smaller than a micro-SIM. The intelligent, reversible Lightning connector is 80 per cent smaller than the 30-pin connector. The 8MP iSight camera has even more features — like panorama and dynamic low-light mode — yet it’s 25 per cent smaller. And the new A6 chip is up to 2x faster than the A5 chip but 22 per cent smaller. Even with so much inside, iPhone 5 is 20 per cent lighter and 18 per cent thinner than iPhone 4s.

It’s our thinnest display ever. And it’s the first of its kind.

Making a thinner, lighter iPhone meant even the display had to be thinner. Apple engineers accomplished that by creating the first Retina display with integrated touch technology. Which means instead of a separate layer of touch electrodes between display pixels, the pixels do double duty — acting as touch-sensing electrodes while displaying the image at the same time. With one less layer between you and what you see on iPhone 5, you experience more clarity than ever before. All on a display that’s 30 per cent thinner than before.

iPhone 5 is made with a level of precision you’d expect from a finely crafted watch — not a smartphone.

Never before has this degree of fit and finish been applied to a phone. Take the glass inlays on the back of iPhone 5, for instance. During manufacturing, each iPhone 5 aluminium housing is photographed by two high-powered 29MP cameras. A machine then examines the images and compares them against 725 unique inlays to find the most precise match for every single iPhone.

Look at iPhone 5 and you can’t help but notice the exquisite chamfer surrounding the display. A crystalline diamond cuts this bevelled edge. It’s what gives iPhone 5 its distinctive lines. Fitting for a phone so brilliant.

The thought and consideration we put into our products go well beyond design.

How a product looks and performs matters, but so does its impact on the environment. That’s why nearly every Apple product is made from highly recyclable materials like aluminium, and why we refuse to use harmful toxins in our components.

Every iPhone, starting with iPhone 3Gs, is free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). That includes our newest iPhone — iPhone 5. In fact, Apple has one of the strictest BFR-free and PVC-free standards in the industry. And we expect the same from our suppliers. We go so far as to disassemble our products into individual components and materials in our Cupertino lab. Then we test them using many methods, including X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and ion chromatography. We do this to ensure that every product we release meets our environmental standards.

To learn more about Apple’s dedication to reducing the environmental impact of our products and processes, visit the Apple and the Environment website.