SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple is holding an
event in San Francisco during which it announced a new iPhone, capable
of faster data speeds and sporting a taller screen. It also unveiled new
iTunes software and a smaller iPod Nano.
The iPhone 5 will go on
sale next week. It will work with fourth-generation, or 4G, cellular
networks, something Samsung's Galaxy S III and many other iPhone rivals
Apple Inc. is also updating
its phone software and will ditch Google Inc.'s mapping service for its
own. The two have become rivals as Google promotes phones running its
Android operating system.
In anticipation, several
gadget makers refreshed their lineups last week, hoping to beat Apple on
the buzz. Nokia Corp. and Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility division
announced five new smartphones between them, while Amazon.com Inc.
updated its Kindle Fire tablet computer and announced new stand-alone
Sales of Apple's iPhones are still strong, though the company lost the lead in smartphones to Samsung this year.
Samsung Electronics Co.
benefited from having its S III out in the U.S. in June, while Apple was
still selling an iPhone model it released last October. A new iPhone
will allow Apple to recapture the attention and the revenue. Analysts
are already estimating that Apple will sell 8 million to 10 million
iPhone 5s before the company's quarter ends Sept. 30.
That said, the iPhone has
been trailing Android phones in sales. On Tuesday, Google executive Hugo
Barra declared on his Google Plus social networking page that 1.3
million Android phones are added each day, with 500 million devices
activated globally. As of June, Apple has sold 244 million iPhones since
the first one came out in 2007.
Apple's event Wednesday is taking place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, where Apple has held many product launches.
Here's a running account of
the event, presented in reverse chronological order. All times are PDT.
Appearances are made by CEO Tim Cook; Philip Schiller, the senior vice
president for worldwide marketing; Scott Forstall, senior vice president
for mobile software; Eddy Cue, senior vice president for Internet
software and services; and others.
Although the new iPhone was
the big announcement, Apple also unveiled a new version of its iTunes
software for traditional computers.
There are new ways to
create playlists and to decide what to listen to next. It also promises
improved search - as you type the name of an album, for instance, those
in your music library will be suggested.
The iTunes software comes
with a new mini player - a small window from which you can play songs
while you are still in your music library.
The new software will come out in late October.
Apple is also refreshing
its iPod Nano. The seventh generation of the device is thinner than the
previous one, with a bigger display. It now has a home button similar to
that on the iPhone and the iPad. It also will come with Bluetooth
wireless capability, allowing you to stream music.
Prices will be the same as
older models, starting at $199 with a two-year service contract. The
iPhone 4S will now go for $99. The 2010 model, the iPhone 4, will now be
free, though a service agreement is required.
Advance orders will start
this Friday. It will start shipping on Sept. 21 in the U.S. and other
countries, plus additional markets a week after that.
Older phones will get the
iOS 6 upgrade for free next Wednesday. Apple has said it will be
available for the 3GS, 4 and 4S models, though some new features won't
work on them. It will also be available on last year's and this year's
iPad models and newer iPod Touch devices.
Apple's stock is up $1.97, less than a third of 1 percent, to $662.56.
Apple reminds the audience that the new phone is thinner and lighter than previous models.
Compared with the closest
competitor, Samsung's Galaxy S III, the iPhone's screen is still smaller
(the S III is 4.8 inches, compared with the iPhone 5's 4 inches). The
iPhone 5 is lighter than the S III - 122 grams (4.3 ounces) compared
with 133 grams (4.7 ounces).
The new phone software
promises enhancement to email. You can deem certain people "VIPs" and
flag emails from them so you can go back to them more easily.
Apple also demonstrated Passbook, a central place to keep your boarding passes, tickets and gift cards.
It's improving Siri, which
is supposed to get better at fielding questions about movies,
restaurants and other things. Apple is partnering with OpenTable Inc. to
make reservations, for instance.
The new software also has a better tie-in with Facebook. You can talk to Siri to post a status update, for instance.
And Facetime video calls will work over cellular networks for the first time. It had been limited to Wi-Fi connections.
The new phone will come in black and white.
As previously announced,
Apple is releasing a new version of its phone software, iOS 6. It will
have a new mapping software, as Apple ditches the one from Google it had
been using. The new software will have turn-by-turn voice navigation - a
feature Google had limited to Android versions of its mapping app.
Apple says the phone's virtual assistant, Siri, will be giving the directions.
The new iPhone has three
microphones instead of two. They are located on the back, the front and
the bottom. It also comes with a noise-cancelling earpiece for better
One big change: The iPhone
is getting a new connector to attach to computers and chargers. It had
been using the same one from the iPod. Schiller says the old connector
has "served us well for nearly a decade, but so much has changed."
That means the new iPhone
won't be compatible with old accessories, though Schiller says accessory
makers are already working to update their products. Apple will sell an
adapter to work with older accessories.
Schiller says the new phone
will have a battery with eight hours of talk time and eight hours of
Web browsing. It will have an 8-megapixel camera, with special features
to eliminate noise in images and perform better in low light. There's
also a feature that lets you stitch multiple images of a landscape for a
As expected, the new phone
will be capable of using the faster 4G cellular networks known as LTE.
Sprint, Verizon and AT&T will support it in the U.S. Apple says the
iPhone 5 will have faster Wi-Fi, along with a faster processing chip.
The new phone is made
entirely of glass and aluminum. Apple calls it its thinnest and lightest
yet, at 7.6 millimeters (0.3 inch) thick and weighing 122 grams (4.3
ounces). It's 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S and 20 percent
lighter. It also has a bigger screen, measuring 4 inches diagonally.
Schiller introduces the iPhone 5.
Cook gives an audience of journalists, analysts, bloggers and other guests a review of Apple's achievements.
He says the company now has 380 stores in 12 countries, with one opening in Sweden on Friday to make 13.
Cook recalls the summer
launch of a new operating system for Mac computers, known as Mountain
Lion. He says 7 million copies have been downloaded so far. He says Mac
computers are selling well, as are Apple's iPad tablet computers - 84
million so far.
He pokes fun at tablets
from rival companies: "I don't know what these other tablets are doing,"
he says, suggesting they are probably being kept in drawers somewhere.
That remark drew laughter.
Cook is on stage and showing an Apple store in Barcelona.
2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
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