Apple has once again raised the bar on what mobile phones can be, with the Sept 12 launch of its latest iteration, the iPhone 5.

At Apple’s traditional kickoff event for its sterling line of technical toys, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, called the iPhone 5 “the most beautiful product we have ever made.”

Here’s a quick video clip showing some of the features:

All the major tech online publications had equally good things to say about the iPhone 5. Here’s a sampling:

Gizmodo wrote: “The new iPhone 5 is here. It’s thinner and faster than ever, with a new form factor that uses a gorgeous panoramic screen with more resolutions and less consumption. It also surfs the web much faster, thanks to its new LTE capabilities. Overall, it seems they have incrementally improved every single aspect of the iPhone. It’s not a revolutionary phone, but it is a very nice release.”

Mashable wrote: “The iPhone’s camera also got an upgrade. It’s still an 8-megapixel sensor, but it’s 25% smaller and includes more features. Dynamic low light mode is said to give you better pictures without using the flash. Other enhancements, such as spatial noise reduction and a smart filter, will improve image quality as well. Apple says the upgraded camera will snap pics 40% faster. There’s also a built-in panorama mode for capturing massive widescreen pictures.”

GigaOm wrote: “The all aluminum and glass handset brings support for faster LTE mobile broadband and although lighter and thinner than the prior model, has a larger 4-inch screen, adding more room for icons, display space in applications and widescreen movies. To power the new iPhone 5, Apple redesigned a new A6 chip, claiming twice the speed and performance of its A5 silicon.”

Some observers claimed that the shiny aluminum and glass handset is a bonus, because when the phone is in one’s pocket, you’ll feel to know which side is which. Unless of course, you’re one of those users who like to buy cell phone cases online and you’ll keep your iPhone 5 tucked into a cell phone rubber case for protection. Well, at a $199 price tag plus a service agreement, the iPhone 5 is a big investment for some. It makes good sense to protect one’s cell phone investment if it should ever slip from your hands.

iPhone 5 is on sale now in 11 countries, with prices the same as earlier models. $199, $299 and $399 with contract, depending on storage capacity. What do you think of the new iPhone 5? Tell us in the comments.

Author: Allyson Bonavita loves the outdoors almost as much as she loves writing. A New York native, Allyson studied at NYC and now freelances for technology-related clients in her spare time.