Someday, a new iPhone may just be another product release -- but that day is not yet on the horizon. On Wednesday, at the much anticipated Apple press event, CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPhone 5 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller called the new product the "most beautiful device we've ever made." It's taller than earlier incarnations, but 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S. The new height provides four inches for the Retina display, allowing another row of icons on the home screen.
The new iPhone goes on sale Sept. 21, with pre-orders starting this Friday, Sept. 14.
In addition to a new row of buttons, Schiller also demonstrated that Calendar can now show a full five-day workweek, and that the iWork suite of applications has similarly been revised to take advantage of the additional screen size.
Connectivity includes 4G LTE, HSPA+ and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and the A6 chip doubles the processing speed while being 22 percent smaller. Schiller said the new speed allows, for instance, Pages to be launched twice as fast as on the iPhone 4S and iPhoto to save an image 1.7 times as fast.
The front camera records 720p HD video, the rear camera does 1080p HD with improved stabilization, and there's a new, smaller dock connector with a new connector cord, called Lightning.
Apple said the faster CPU and 4G will not adversely affect battery life, but that, in fact, battery life will exceed that of the 4S. Image capture is 40 percent faster, and a camera app built into the new iOS6 supports panoramic photos.
Revised Siri, New Mapping Service
Apple has sold nearly a quarter-billion units of the iPhone since its launch in 2007, and the smartphone now accounts for about two-thirds of the company's profit. Analysts are estimating the company will sell 10 million units of this new model by the end of this month, and about 50 million by the end of this year. The larger screen will help Apple stay ahead of models released by Samsung, HTC and other companies.
On the software side, there's tighter integration with Facebook, letting users more easily post pictures and updates to that popular social network. Siri is getting some revisions, such as the ability for users to search for sports scores, make dinner reservations, or post updates to Facebook by voice commands. Google's mapping service is being replaced by Apple's own, and FaceTime calls can now be made over cellular networks.
The iPhone's success can largely be attributed to its success as an app platform. Al Hilwa, program director for Application Development Software Research at IDC, said this model's new features, such as the expanded screen, faster processor and additional capabilities like better cameras, are giving developers "a lot more candy to keep them engaged."
Ross Rubin, principal analyst for Reticle Research, noted that the "rumor mill seemed to have nailed" most of the features in the new phone. He pointed to key enhancements, such as the taller display with a new aspect ratio, camera improvements, and what he called "a huge win for real world use," the extended battery life. The new device, he said, "should be very appealing to consumers."
Posted: 2012-09-13 @ 1:35am PT
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