By Darren Franich
September 12, 2012 at 07:05 PM EDT
Eric Risberg/AP

The history of the human race is filled with brilliant thinkers who dared to dream and small-minded naysayers who said their dream could never come true. They said that Galileo was a godless madman when he proclaimed that the earth circled the sun. They called the Wright Brothers fools for believing that a man could fly. But the great minds of our species will always triumph over adversity. We invented the steam engine. We put a man on the moon. And this morning, in a moment guaranteed to alter the course of human history forever after, Apple announced the creation of the iPhone 5, a landmark new technological device which is slightly taller and slightly skinnier than the last iPhone.

You can almost hear the cries of the Doubting Thomases across our great country: “Taller and skinnier? Ha, that’ll be the day!” But it’s true. The iPhone 5 is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S, but the screen has been expanded into a 4-inch display. This allows you to look at five rows of apps instead of just four — a leap forward in technology which is unparalleled in human history, save perhaps for that warm spring day in 1865 when Herman Tricycle put an extra wheel on his velocipede and announced to his wife Edeltraut, “Edie, Ich habe das Tricycle erfunden! [Edie, I have invented the Tricycle!].” The larger screen will also enhance your widescreen movie experience, allowing you to finally watch Titanic exactly the way James Cameron intended: In half-hour increments, on the subway home from work, while avoiding eye contact with the homeless person playing a broken saxophone in the seat across from you.

The new iPhone also features a new photo function called “Panorama,” which allows you to take several pictures of an image — say, of a sweeping desert vista or of all 17 members in the Chess Club — and then knits those photos together into one huge Cinerama image. The device also comes with a new-model connector called “Lightning,” which everyone is complaining about, largely because they do not recognize that the future of the world will depend on high-powered connectors which can upload your family photos to your computer at the speed of — wait for it — Lightning. There’s a new service called “Shared Photo Stream,” which will be familiar to anyone who has used the somewhat popular function on Facebook which is colloquially known as “sharing photos.”

The iPhone 5 has a much better battery life than the iPhone 4S, and is considerably faster, too. It can launch pages and load music almost twice as fast, thus leaving you with roughly twenty million more nanoseconds per day to stare blankly into the wall and ponder the mysteries of life. FaceTime will now work over cellular networks, and the maps application has been improved, and a lot of other stuff is slightly better than you remember it, although it is still not quite good enough to fill the void in your soul. Apple’s design guru Jonathan Ive said that, in order to create the iPhone 5, the Apple engineers went “way beyond what we knew to be possible.” Because really, who could have ever dreamed that it was possible to make stuff go faster? Truly, a golden age.

The iPhone 5 will ship on September 21. It costs $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB. So don’t be a pansy and just buy the big one, because what’s the point of living in a digital utopia if you can’t fit every single episode of Gossip Girl onto your iPhone?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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