(Photo : Reuters)
The long-awaited launch of the iPhone 5 finally arrived today during Apple's press conference, which was held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Apple's senior vice president Phil Schiller and CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to talk shop about the next-gen smartphone.
"We're here to talk about the iPhone. We launched the first iPhone in 2007 and what a breakthrough it was for the whole industry," Schiller said. "Each and every year we introduce new versions with new features...each time setting the gold standard...the iPhone 5 is an absolute jewel. It is the most beautiful product we have ever made, bar none."
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The iPhone 5, made entirely of glass and aluminum, is the thinnest, lightest iPhone available. It measures in at 7.6mm thickness and weighs 112 grams - 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4s. The four-inch screen boasts 326ppi retina display with 1136x640 resolution. The device utilizes an A6 processor, offering 2 times faster CUP and 2 times faster Graphics. The display now has five rows of icons to boot.
"We've updated every aspect of the iPhone 5, everything has been enhanced," Schiller said. "Our team has not only matched, but exceeded the battery life of the iPhone 4s."
In terms of the connector, Apple has dubbed it "Lightning" and it is 80 percent smaller than its predecessor. It's thinner and more durable and is also reversible. Bose, JBL, B&W and B&O are already working on new docks and speakers for the new connector, Apple revealed during the press conference.
The iPhone 5's new camera is called iSight. It utilizes an A6 chip, offering many improved specs. Among them: an 8 megapixel sensor, 3264x2448 resolution, backside illumination and five element lens with sapphire lens cover. It also boasts Panorama as well as 40 percent faster image capture. A new feature has been added, called Shared Photo Streams. This allows users to instantly share a series of photos with friends and enables comments on them.
"While the camera is amazing for taking pictures, it's also a lot better for video as well," Schiller said.
Video camera functions include better video stabilization and facial recognition. The front-facing camera is 720p and has backside illumination. The new device allows FaceTime over cell networks as well.
The iPhone 5 has "ultrafast wireless" capabilities with support for GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA and LTE networks. Carrier coverage in the United States will include Spring, AT&T and Verizon, all of which will support LTE.
Color choices for the new iPhone are the traditional black and white. The white version has a raw aluminum back and the black version has black anodized backing.
The pricing will be the same as for the 4s model. It will go for $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB. Apple will start taking pre-orders on September 14th and the phones will start shipping out on September 21st.
"This will be our fastest phone roll-out ever," Cook remarked.
The media event closed with a surprise performance by the Foo Fighters.