Juhuuuu…The iPhone 5 is here!
Apple took the wraps off its flagship pro-duct, the iPhone 5, at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco a few hours ago. The event began with CEO Tim Cook announcing, “We have got some really cool stuff to show you.” In the process, the company unveiled not just the iPhone 5, but also showcased the updated version of iPod and iPod Touch. Here’s a roundup of everything the company showed at the event.
Hardware and software – The new iPhone sports a four inch retina display, it is 7.66mm thick, which is 18% thinner than its predecessor iPhone 4S and weighs 112 grams, about 20% lighter than 4S. It packs in an 1136×640 resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio. The iPhone is made entirely of glass and aluminium. It is capable of handling 4G LTE networks.
Under the hood, the Apple iPhone runs on a dual-core Cortex A6 processor, which makes the device twice as fast as its predecessor. In fact, in another first for iPhone, the iPhone 5 uses a common chip for voice as well as data, as well as a single radio chip. It will run on the new iOS 6 that packs in a host of new features such as Passbook, better Siri functionality and quicker Facebook integration among others. The iTunes store will also get a significant upgrade in the coming days.
The new iPhone is getting a new connector to attach to computers and chargers. It had been using the same one from the iPod. That means the new iPhone won’t be compatible with old accessories, though accessory makers are already working to update their products. Apple will sell an adapter to work with older accessories.
Camera and Battery – Apple, whose reputation with battery life has been formidable, seems to have reworked the battery of iPhone 5. On paper, the company seems to have worked on the battery to an extent although there was no word on the battery upgrade front from Apple. The new phone promises 225 hours of standby time, 8 hours of 3G and 4G LTE browsing, 8 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video playback and 40 hours of music play.
However, there seems to be some disappointment in store also for those who were expecting a 12 megapixel camera in iPhone 5. It sports an eight mega-pixel rear camera with panorama mode, backside illumination, hybrid IR filter, five element lens and an impressive f/24 aperture.
Other features of the camera include dynamic low light mode, sapphire crystal and precision lens alignment, all of which is enough for iPhone 5 to be taken seriously by photography enthusiasts as well. The front camera in the iPhone 5 for FaceTime will now support HD videos at 720p. It has an aluminium rear sensor and features three microphones – one each at the bottom, top and rear.
Pricing and Availability – The best part of the launch event lies in the price tag of the new devices. Apple iPhone 5 will cost the same as its predecessor – $199, $299 and $399 for 16, 32 and 64 GB versions respectively. These prices are applicable to the operator-locked handsets in the US market. Apple did not give out the prices of unlocked variants.
Ostensibly, the prices have been kept in mind because of the runaway success of high-powered Android devices such as HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy SIII. Apple lost the smartphone race to Samsung this year because of the delay in launching the iPhone 5 but the aggressive price point is aimed at regaining lost market share. Consumers were also fearful that with Apple winning a lawsuit against Samsung a few weeks ago, the pricing of the new iPhone would be significantly higher.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will commence on September 14 and it will hit shelves in US and UK on September 21 followed by a rollout in 20 more countries, including Canada, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, by October.
Expectedly, Apple did not make any announcement about its India launch plans for the iPhone 5, but it is expected to arrive in India in the next 30 to 40 days. However, according to sources in the grey market, the new iPhone will be available in the next 10 days at a price point of around Rs 50,000.
Another significant development announced was the discontinuation of the sale of iPhone 3GS with the iPhone 4 8 GB model will now become the entry-level variant which will be bundled free with lock-in plans for the US customers.
EarPods – With the launch of iPhone 5, Apple also unveiled a new product for its fans called EarPods, which the company said are, ‘headphones with a breakthrough design’. This basically means that the ubiquitous white ear buds that ship with all of Apple’s portable devices are getting an update. The new EarPods have a different design and are tube-shaped, which Apple said will help fit the shape of the ear. The Apple EarPods will be included with the new 5th generation iPod, 7th generation Nano and the iPhone 5. It can also be bought standalone.
New iPod and iTouch – Apple also announced a new iPod Touch model that brings over the changes applied to the iPhone 5, including the bigger screen and smaller connection port. As expected, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant software, Siri, will be available on the iPod.
Apple also claimed that the new device is the lightest iPod Touch that the company has created till date. With an increased battery life of up to 30 hours, the new iPod Touch is only 6.1 mm thin. It is based on the A5 chip and is therefore faster than its predecessor and is made of high quality anodized aluminium. The new iPod Touch has the same display as the iPhone 5, making it larger than the previous versions. The company has also built iSight camera into the iPod touch. It will also have autofocus and a flash, making it a prosumer camera device along with a music and gaming device as well. Apple will offer the new iPod Touch in seven different colours.
On the other hand, the size of the new iPod Nano that was unveiled is 5.4 mm and is 38% thinner compared to previous models with Apple claiming it to be the thinnest but the biggest diplay ever created for the iPod. The iPod Nano has FM tuner integrated that features Live Pause, so you can pause or go back and listen to something again. The iPod Nano has the longest battery life compared to its predecessors and has also been equipped with a new lighting connector. The iPod Nano will also be shipped in seven different colours.
In terms of disappointments, the new iPhone does not feature NFC and wireless charging, two features that were widely expected to make the grade. Existing users will also be miffed at the changes they will have to make because of the new connector. Still, when it does launch in India, iPhone 5 can expect a big bang welcome.