Apple has finally unveiled the much anticipated iPhone 5 this morning at an Apple event in San Francisco. The new model features a larger screen, allowing space for an additional row of icons, and is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
The new iPhone is also getting a new connector for attachment to computers and chargers, which means it won't be compatible with old accessories. Not to worry though, Apple’s head of marketing Phil Schiller said accessory makers are already working to update their products and Apple will be selling an adapter to work with the old accessories.
The iPhone 5 release is set to propel Apple back to the head of its game, recapturing the lost attention and revenue that went to Samsung’s smartphones earlier this year.
The new iPhone is made entirely of glass and aluminium and is lighter than Samsung's new Galaxy S III. Schiller announced that the screen is 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter because of new technology that eliminates a separate touch-sensing layer in the screen.
As many expected, the iPhone 5 will also come with the capability to connect to the fastest new wireless data networks, both in the US and overseas.
Still, even with Apple’s bigger screen, Samsung has increased the screen size of its flagship phone line every year, and it's now about 45 per cent larger than the one on the new iPhone 5.
Also as expected, Apple is releasing a new version of its phone software, iOS 6, featuring a new mapping software. The new software will have turn-by-turn voice navigation – a feature Google had limited to Android versions of its mapping app. Apple said the phone's well-known virtual assistant, Siri, will be the voice behind the directions.
Apple also announced a new iPod Touch model incorporating the new iPhone changes, including the bigger screen and smaller connection port. Siri fans will be excited to learn that Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant software will now be available on the iPod as well.
Apple's announcements were largely in line with investor expectations, with Apple shares rising $5.13, or 0.8 per cent, to $665.72 in afternoon trading. Shares have jumped as expectations rose for the iPhone 5, rallying 16 per cent since Apple's latest earnings report in July.
With all the buzz surrounding the lead-up to the new iPhone, Amazon, Nokia and Motorola all tried to get a foot in the door by talking up their products last week, hoping for a head start and subsequently stronger sales.
The new iPhone hits stores in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK September 21, and is due for release in New Zealand and 21 other countries the following week (September 28). Prices for overseas locations have not yet been announced.