I have had the iPhone 5 for couple of weeks now. I am looking to confirm whether or not the iPhone 5's new 8-pin lighting connector when used in conjunction with the 5W USB power adapter that comes with the iPhone 5 charges the phone faster then previous iterations of the iPhone and their legacy 30-pin connector. I can go from a 12% remaning charge to a 53% charge in less than 60 minutes. This seems substantially faster than my previous iPhone's (4, 4s) with the legacy 30-pin connector. I understand that Lighting actually cable itself is obviously architecturally different but does the iPhone 5 itself have a different type of battery charging mechanism, the Lighting cable, or some combination therein?
The charger supplies the power that is demanded from it (up to it's rated output), not the other way around. So it's entirely possible that the same unit will charge different devices at different speeds. It's entirely possible that a newer battery will charge faster than an identical but older battery, and also possible that the new phone is allowed to pull more charge because it runs a little cooler (charging generates heat, and one of the metrics for deciding how fast to charge is the heat generated as well as the batteries capacity to drink it up).
Basically, it's really hard to measure, without you do a from flat to full charge with the same unit to different devices with batteries of the same age and condition. Even then, be aware that the phone doesn't stop charing when it says 100%, that's an artificial figure and your phone will continue to charge a little (the equivalent of a little over 5% more logically speaking), then run from battery a little, then charge a little, then run from battery etc - this is to keep your battery in good condition (the same is true for 0%, it will go lower in order to perform a clean shutdown - the battery figures are only an indication, not an accurate gauge) - the actual methods for each device may also vary as to how they handle this.
The speed of the charge cycle depends upon the charger, not the cable. Either you are mistaken in your observations, or Apple put in a superior battery that charges faster.
Here’s an experiment:
Try charging your iPhone using an iPad charger. And try charging an iPad with an iPhone charger. You’ll see what I mean. Not that it is necessary.