Apple unveils iPhone 5
Apple has taken the wraps off its fastest, thinnest iPhone, packing a significant larger screen and 4G capability on the fifth version of the smartphone that helped it become the world's most valuable corporation.
The iPhone 5 introduced this morning at an event in San Francisco, sports a 4-inch "retina" display, ability to surf a high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, and is 20 per cent lighter than the previous iPhone 4S.
It comes with Apple's newest "A6" processor, which executives claimed runs twice as fast as the previous generation.
The new iPhone has three microphones instead of two. They are located on the back, the front and the bottom. It also comes with a noise-cancelling earpiece for better sound.
The phone will have a battery with eight hours of talk time and eight hours of web browsing.
It will have an 8-megapixel camera, with special features to eliminate noise in images and perform better in low light. There's also a feature that lets you stitch multiple images of a landscape for a panoramic view.
One big change: The iPhone is getting a new connector to attach to computers and chargers.
It had been using the same one from the iPod. Senior Apple executive Phil Schiller says the old connector has "served us well for nearly a decade, but so much has changed."
That means the new iPhone won't be compatible with old accessories, though Schiller says accessory makers are already working to update their products. Apple will sell an adapter to work with older accessories.
NEW EMAIL, PASSBOOK, SIRI
The new phone's software - iOS 6 - promises enhancements to email. You can deem certain people "VIPs" and flag emails from them so you can go back to them more easily.
Apple has also demonstrated Passbook, a central place to keep your boarding passes, tickets and gift cards.
It's improving Siri, which is supposed to get better at fielding questions about movies, restaurants and other things. Apple is partnering with OpenTable Inc to make reservations, for instance.
The new software also has a better tie-in with Facebook. You can talk to Siri to post a status update.
And Facetime video calls will work over cellular networks for the first time. It had been limited to Wi-Fi connections.
The new phone will come in black and white.
It will go on sale in selected countries from September 21. Kiwis will be able to buy the iPhone 5 a week later, on September 28.
Older phones will get Apple iOS 6 upgrade for free next Thursday (NZT). Apple has said it will be available for the 3GS, 4 and 4S models, though some new features won't work on them.
It will also be available on last year's and this year's iPad models and newer iPod Touch devices.
SIRI FOR IPAD, IPOD TOUCH, NEW 'EARPODS'
Siri, the virtual assistant launched on the iPhone last year, is coming to the iPod Touch for the first time. Apple already has said Siri will appear on the iPad with the new software update.
Meanwhile, the iconic white earbuds are getting an update. Now called earpods, they sport an earpiece that is more cylinder.
Apple says they were built to meld to the shape of your ear.
The earpods will go on sale as a stand-alone accessory and will be included with new devices out in October.
IPOD TOUCH TWEAKED, NEW NANO
Apple is updating the iPod Touch - essentially an iPhone without the ability to make calls. Like the new iPhone and the new iPod Nano, it will use the new connector, which Apple calls Lightning.
It will have a 5-megapixel camera and the same panorama feature as the new iPhone. It will be possible to edit photos on the Touch for the first time.
Apple is also refreshing its iPod Nano.
The seventh generation of the device is thinner than the previous one, with a bigger display.
It now has a home button similar to that on the iPhone and the iPad. It also will come with Bluetooth wireless capability, allowing you to stream music.
Apple also unveiled a new version of its iTunes software for traditional computers.
There are new ways to create playlists and to decide what to listen to next. It also promises improved search - as you type the name of an album, for instance, those in your music library will be suggested.
The iTunes software comes with a new mini player - a small window from which you can play songs while you are still in your music library.
The new software will come out in late October.
- Reuters, AP