With the rumour crescendo waning, it’s time to reflect on what Apple announced in San Francisco today. The iPhone 5, new headphones dubbed “EarPods”, as well as updates to iTunes, the iPod touch and nano were revealed. If you’re wondering how long you’ll have to wait to get your hands on iOS 6, wonder no more, Apple also announced an official launch date today.
Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about today’s event, Gearburn style.
The new iPhone 5 looks similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S at first glance. It’s made entirely out of glass and aluminium and is thinner as well as lighter than its predecessors — 18% thinner than the 4S at 7.6mm and 20% lighter, weighing 122 grams. According to Apple it’s officially the world’s thinnest smartphone.
It packs the same amount of pixels as its siblings at 326PPI, but is larger with a 4-inch display and 1136 x 640 resolution. That’s a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. The display has 44% more colour saturation, and since the sensors have been integrated into the display, it’s more sensitive and accurate to touch.
Apps will have to be resized for the new resolution, but Apple is already working on new versions of its iLife and iWork suites. Current apps that are not optimised for the new display will be centered, surrounded by black borders.
iPhone 5 is capable of HSPA+ and LTE transfer speeds. 802.11n Wi-Fi is also onboard.
There’s a new Apple A6 CPU under the hood, which according to Apple, packs twice the CPU speed and graphics power of the A5 chip in the 4S. Despite the additional power, battery life is said to be better than the 4S.
The iPhone 5 has an 8MP camera. It’s 25% smaller than the 4S and has dynamic low light mode, precision lens alignment and a sapphire lens cover for better image quality. Photo capturing is said to be 40% improved over the 4S and the iPhone 5 fares better in low light situations. The camera records 1080p video and has improved video stability, face detection — you can take photos while shooting video — and can do 720p FaceTime.
The iPhone 5 supports wideband audio which allows Apple to fill up more frequency spectrum to make phone calls sound better. It requires carrier support though, but 20 carriers is said to have signed up so far.
As rumoured the new iPhone 5 works with a small 8 pin connector, instead of the old 30 pin connector — yup, converters will be rolling out soon. It’s 80% smaller and it’s called “Lightning.”
If you’re wondering about colour options, they remain as always, binary: black and white. Pricing remains the same as for the 4S. 16GB at US$199, 32GB at US$299 and 64GB at US$399.
Pre-orders start 14 September and starts rolling out on 21 September with a wider rollout on the 28th.
The new nano has been dramatically redesigned with a larger display and the new 8-pin Lightning connector featured on the iPhone 5. It is 38% thinner than the previous generation nano at 5.4mm and has a 2.5-inch multitouch display, with physical volume controls on the sides and a home button — just like the iPhone — and comes in 7 different colours.
It has an FM tuner with live pause — so you can rewind broadcasts — and can play back widescreen video. It’s big on fitness with a built-in pedometer and now also features Bluetooth. The nano is said to have the best battery life on a nano yet — and that’s saying a lot.
Made from anodized aluminum, the new touch is 6.1mm thick and weighs 88 grams. Most importantly however, it features the same larger 4-inch display as on the iPhone 5. An A5 chip, the same as on the iPhone 4S with dual-core CPU and graphics, is built into the new touch.
Battery life is also said to be improved.
The iPod touch now features a 5MP iSight camera with autofocus and LED flash, 1080p video recording and 720p FaceTime.
Also included is Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11n and for the first time on the iPod touch, AirPlay mirroring and Siri.
Breaking with tradition, Apple will sell the touch in 5 different colours, with matching carrying bracelet accessories that attach to the nano.
It also uses the new 8-pin Lightning connector.
As rumoured, Apple announced new redesigned headphones called EarPods, that look to be quite a great deal improved over its traditional standard offering. EarPods will be included with the new iPhone 5, iPod touch and nano, but can be purchased as a standalone accessory.
iTunes has been re-designed with a new “edge-to-edge” look on iOS and the desktop version, with strong Facebook and Twitter integration. Unlike before, you can also preview songs while continuing to browse the store. Search results and performance overall is also said to be improved.
A neat feature is the ability for artists to share photos with fans directly in the new iTunes. iCloud is also deeply integrated into the new version.
The new version of iTunes drops in October.
Features on iOS 6 that were demoed include Maps with its new GPS turn-by-turn directions and points-of-interest — over 100 million of them are available, posting to Twitter or Facebook from Notification Center, fullscreen Safari with tabs that sync with your desktop version, the digital ticket organiser Passbook, Photo Stream picture sharing and enhancements to Siri which include knowledge about movies and sports and the ability to post updates to Facebook.
iOS 6 rolls out 19 September.
Bits and pieces
There were 83 million visitors to Apple retail stores last year.
7 million copies of OS X Mountain Lion has been downloaded since its release. That’s up from 3 million in July.
Apple now owns 27% of US laptop market share, making it the number one laptop manufacturer in the country.
17 million iPads were sold in Apple’s last fiscal quarter (April to June), with 84 million units sold to date.
The iPad has 68% market share.
There are now more than 700 000 apps in the App Store, with more than 250 000 specifically designed for the iPad.
400 million iOS devices have been sold to date.
iTunes now has over 26 million songs.
There are a staggering 435 million iTunes accounts.
350 million iPods have been sold to date.
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