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Apple unveils iPhone 5, new iPods, and revamped iTunes

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 5 at an event in San Francisco, showcasing a number of improvements and additions, but largely failing to offer any surprises.

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 5 at an event in San Francisco, showcasing a number of improvements and additions, but largely failing to offer any surprises.

As expected, the new iPhone (and that is not its name, unlike “the new iPad” earlier this year) touts a larger 4-inch screen (measuring diagonally), which is bigger than the 3.5-inches of all previous models. However, this is smaller than the 4.8-inches of the Samsung Galaxy S III, possibly to avoid plagiarism allegations.
Despite the bigger size screen, Apple says the phone weighs just 122 grams and is 7.6mm thick, making it the lightest and thinnest iPhone to date, 20 percent thinner and 18 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S. A large part of this is due to it being made completely of aluminium and glass, but a smaller dock connector helps out too.
Speaking of the dock connector, called “Lightning,” this is one of Apple's biggest changes in a long time. It has stuck with its long proprietory dock connector on all its devices for over a decade, but now it is opting for a smaller version, which saves a lot of space and helps with the overall design. The downside is that Apple is still making it unique to its devices, so no microUSB like everyone else uses. An even bigger drawback is that no older iPhone accessories will work with the new device unless users buy an ugly adaptor. That might please accessory makers, but it certainly won't please consumers or their pockets.
A new smartphone would not be much without a new chip, so Apple is adding the A6 chip, which promises up to twice the processor and graphics performance of the iPhone 4S.
Another major feature, though equally not a shock, is 4G functionality via Long-term Evolution (LTE). Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T will all offer the faster network in the US, but many other countries, such as the UK, are still lagging behind with 4G coverage. The inclusion of 4G gives Samsung ammunition for its planned lawsuit on patent infringement allegations.
There will be an 8megapixel iSight camera, 25 percent smaller than the camera in the iPhone 4S, but touting improved optical performance. Audio is getting a boost too, with a new beam-forming, directional microphone system for better quality sound and noise cancellation. There will also be new "EarPods," Apple's latest earplugs, which it claims are as good as the high-end ones on the market. Battery life is around eight hours.
The iPhone 5 will come with iOS 6, which will offer a number of new features and improvements. Passbook, unveiled at WWDC 2012, is the big one, but there will be some tweaks to Siri to help it recognise more and give better feedback. Apple is also ditching Google Maps and introducing its own Maps app, thanks to a partnership with TomTom. A deal with Facebook means full integration of the social network into the operating system.
The iPhone 5 will sell for the same price as the previous model, starting at $199 and going up to $399 for the 64GB model. It will go on sale from 21 September in the US, UK, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and several European countries, and it will be available in many other countries throughout the world from 28 September.
Apple also unveiled a new version of iTunes and a new iPod Touch and iPod Nano. The new iTunes, for Mac and PC, features a redesigned user interface and integration with iCloud, and will be available in October. The new iPod touch comes with a 4-inch display, A5 chip, 5 megapixel camera, and iOS 6. The iPod Nano features a 2.5-inch display, Bluetooth, and will be available in a variety of colours. Both are also thinner than previous models.

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