Apple unveiled the latest iPhone 5 this morning in San Francisco, although weeks of leaked images and videos meant there were really no surprises in the feature set. According to Apple the iPhone 5 will be available in New Zealand from September 28, and comes in three models; with 16 GB of storage (at $1,049), 32 GB ($1,199), and 64 GB ($1,349).
The latest version of iOS, the operating system running on Apple devices, will roll out from September 19.
The iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display, with a resolution of 1136 x 640 pixels, bringing it closer to flagship devices from Android competitors like the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III.
Two colours will be available on release; white and black, both with an aluminium backing. Just 7.6mm thick, and weighing 112 grams, Apple touts this phone as its lightest and most ergonomic.
Apple says the A6 processor housed in the iPhone 5 is twice as fast as the one in the iPhone 4S. There are no details yet on the processing speed, or the amount of RAM that will be onboard.
It's been almost a decade since the original iPod cable was produced, and for the most part the design hasn't changed in all that time. With today's announcement Apple has signalled an end to that venerable white cable and replaced it with a new cable called Lightning.
Lightning is designed to be reversible which will allow it to work no matter which way it is inserted into the device. The cable standard is also featured on the latest iPod Touch and iPod Nano, also announced today.
The iPhone 5 will be the first Apple device with an LTE-capable antennae and chipset, allowing it to connect to the 4G networks being deployed around the world. Unfortunately there are no LTE carriers in New Zealand, and roll out of an LTE network is unlikely to happen for at least a year.
Apple says the phone has HSPA+ and dual-carrier HSDPA built in.
The 8 MP camera found in the iPhone 4S is back, but with a few handy updates. Image stabilisation and panorama modes will please the shutter bugs, while a sapphire lens protector will help protect the camera from collecting scratches when it's in your pocket.
Apple claims the battery life on the latest iPhone isn't negatively affected by the larger screen and more powerful processor. The company says it has a 10 hour battery life when browsing on wi-fi, and 8 hours on 3G and LTE.
Rumours of near field communication (NFC) technology like that available in many flagship Android devices were quashed this morning when Apple failed to make any announcements concerning this technology.
Much of what Apple demoed this morning for its upcoming iOS 6 update was already shown to developers at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in July. While nothing was remarkably new, Apple did show some of the fine touches such as what the final graphical user interface would look like.
Facebook has been integrated into iOS 6 like Twitter was in iOS 5. Users will be able to post status updates directly from inside of native apps such as Photos, Camera, and Safari.
Improvements to Siri, Apple's voice recognition-powered personal assistant, mean it is able to tackle more tasks. Updates to Facebook is one new capability, and now Siri can understand requests to do with sports teams, and recommend movies through the Rotten Tomatoes film scoring website.
Apple's Map app, built completely from the ground up by the company, helps it cut down its reliance on competitor Google whose map system Apple was previously using.
The new app uses TomTom turn by turn technology and is capable of 3D views of some cities.
Integration with third-party social media services gives the app contextual information about the area you're looking at. Information cards for businesses are delivered from Yelp, and traffic information is collected from Waze.
At the demo this morning Apple showed off the 3D fly-through feature by zooming through London, and around Big Ben.
Passbook, which was also first revealed at WWDC, was demoed this morning. This app lets companies such as airlines offer their tickets and loyalty cards digitally.
iPod and iTunes
In the third part of its slew of announcements this morning Apple confirmed updates to its line of music products which has helped it dominate the consumer music industry for the last decade.
The iPod Touch and iPod Nano have had design upgrades. The Touch has the same 4-inch Retina display as the iPhone 5 and is 6mm thick, with a dual core A5 processor. The Nano no longer looks like a watch face, but has widescreen video capability, bluetooth, and uses the Lightning connector dock.
Apple's clunky music and device management software iTunes is also receiving an update, which will see a cleaner user interface and better integration with the cloud, says Apple.
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