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iPhone 5 launched: 4-inch screen, 18% thinner, 20% lighter [Gadgets Special] [Times of India]
[September 13, 2012]

iPhone 5 launched: 4-inch screen, 18% thinner, 20% lighter [Gadgets Special] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: iPhone 5, the world's most awaited gadget, is here. iPhone has been here since 2007, but Apple gave it a completely new avatar made of glass and aluminium on Wednesday in a bid to take on rising challenge from the Android brigade.

iPhone 5 is everything that a smartphone owner could possibly ever desire for: It is taller, leaner, lighter, shinier and packs in much more punch than ever.

Yet, to call it a completely revamped, revolutionary smartphone that was being expected of Apple in the post-Jobs era would be a hyperbole. While the launch seemed to enthuse Apple watchers, it had little impact on the company's stock price movement on the Wall Street.

However, Apple did well to retain the same price tags as earlier generation iPhone 4S. iPhone 5 will cost the same as its predecessor - $199, $299 and $399 for 16, 32 and 64 GB versions respectively. For now, Apple has announced iPhone only in two colours - slate (black) and silver, with aluminium finish, but no white.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will commence on September 14 and it will hit the shelves in US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore on September 21, followed by 20 other countries on September 28. Apple again did not make any announcement about India launch plans, but iPhone 5 is expected to arrive in India in the first half of November.

As expected, Apple also announced that it is discontinuing the sale of iPhone 3GS whereas iPhone 4 8GB model will now become the entry-level variant which will be bundled free with lock-in plans to the US customers.

Curiously, there was no word whether the iPhone 5 will be available unlocked without contract as Apple failed to announce it, leading to a lot of speculation. Apple is expected to announce the availability and price of the unlocked variants in the coming weeks, but it remains a mystery why the company did not do so at the launch event.

The new iPhone 5 is 7.66mm thick, almost a whopping 18% thinner than its predecessor iPhone 4S, weighs just 112 gram, again 20% lighter than 4S. It packs a phenomenal Retina display with 326 pixels per inch, 1136x640 pixel resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio for full-screen movie playback.

Under the hood, the Apple iPhone runs on a new dual-core Cortex A6 processor based on A-15 chips from ARM, which makes the device twice as fast as its predecessor without being quad-core. In fact, in another first for iPhone, the iPhone 5 uses a common chip for voice as well as data, along with a single radio chip.

Apple, which received a bit of flak on the battery front in the past, seems to have reworked the battery of iPhone 5 with 225 hours of standby time. This includes 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.

There seems to be some disappointment in store for those who were expecting a 12 megapixel camera in iPhone 5. The phone sports an 8MP HD rear camera with panorama mode (at 28MP), backside illumination, hybrid IR filter, five element lens, and f/24 aperture.

Other features of the camera - 25% smaller than the snapper on iPhone 4S - includes dynamic low light mode, sapphire crystal and precision lens alignment, all of which is enough for iPhone 5 to be taken seriously for its camera.

The front camera in 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. For further audio enhancement during FaceTime calls, iPhone 5 features a new beam-forming, directional microphone system, with background noise cancellation technology.

What's more, in the iOS6 users can now share pictures via iCloud's Shared Photo Streams using the iPhone 5.

Significantly, iPhone 5 will have LTE 4G functionality that can transfer data at much faster rate. The phone will be able to switch between antennae in order to support the network.

It will be interesting to see how rivals will react to the LTE-equipped iPhone 5. Arch rival Samsung and HTC had a few days ago threatened Apple with patent lawsuits if it ported iPhone 5 with LTE.

Considering that LTE is already present in the flagship phone of Samsung and the fact that LTE has not been rolled out on a large scale even worldwide, the feature may not excite buyers in many markets, including India. Apple has announced LTE support on Sprint, AT&T and Verizon in the US, but not T-Mobile.

Apple also unveiled the much-rumoured new 9-pin dock connector called Lightning, which is 80% smaller than the 30-pin dock connector so far common to iPods, iPhones and iPads of earlier generation.

The new dock connector has 8-signal design and can be plugged in the device from either side, making it easier for the user. The company will also sell an adapter for older Apple connectors.

Meanwhile, to complete the new eco-system, Bose, JBL and some other companies are already working on speakers and docks meant for iPhone 5.

Confirming another rumour, Apple said the iPhone 5 will not be compatible with existing sim cards. This means iPhone 5 users will have to move to new nano sim cards to be issued by the operators around the world in sync with the phone's launch.

Along with the iPhone 5, Apple also refurbished iPod touch and nano. The seventh generation music player nano has now turned rectangular and has a 2.5-inch touchscreen with multitouch, Bluetooth integration, 30 hours of battery life, FM radio and fitness features like pedometer and support for Nike+.

iPod touch now has a 4-inch Retina display and 5 megapixel iSight camera with 1080p HD background and LED flash. It also features iOS 6, Siri, Shared Photo Streams via iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, Mail and Game Center, with 40 hours of music playback and eight hours of video playback.

Apple also unveiled the iTunes store with a new design. Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services, said that over 200 million users access iTunes over the cloud.

Therefore, iTunes 11 will come in October with iCloud integration and Facebook 'likes' built in each app to boost traffic to Apple's App Store. A neat and uncluttered Tunes 11 interface features a small player with basic controls and album art. Users can now queue songs now with the newly-introduced "Play this song next" feature.

Apple's line of products now also includes the EarPods, a set of earphones that the manufacturer developed over a span of three years. Rather than in-ear headphones, the EarPods' shape and ports ensure optimal sound as well as comfort of the users. These feature sound ports in the rear for mid-tones, along with a port in the stem and an additional port that goes into the ear canal. These will be shipped with all three devices unveiled and will also be retailed as a standalone accessory.

iPhone 5 has the new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and Flyover view. It also boasts of Facebook integration in contacts and calendar apps, with the option to post directly from Notification Center. Apple announced it would go live with iOS 6 on September 19. The new mobile operating system has 200 new features than the previous edition. iOS 6 also brings more control over calls and messages and Passbook, new Siri features, and Facebook and Siri-enabled apps like Photos, Safari and Maps.

iPhone's voice assistant Siri will be able to provide better answers to queries about movies, restaurants, sports scores etc with the iOS 6 update. Not only will it be available in more countries now, but will also speak more languages. Apple's virtual assistant will be able to give restaurant ratings and price lists as the company has tied up with Yelp, while reservations can be made via Siri due to its OpenTable integration.

Even as Cook was still unveiling the iPhone 5 in a launch that has been most awaited ever for any gadget by any company ever, the social media and blogs were keeping the internet bursting at its seams.

The media launch event took place at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco where Cook shocked everyone by suddenly taking the wraps of iPhone 5 without much ado, sending the gushing Apple aficionados into a tizzy.

(c) 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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