Amidst much anticipation, Apple took the wraps off the much awaited iPhone 5 at its September 12 event on Wednesday. In a surprise move, Apple announced that the iPhone 5 will come with the same price tags as iPhone 4S, that is $199 $299 and $399. The new iPhone line-up will now include iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Apple has phased out the smartphone's older model iPhone 3GS.
Apple will begin taking orders for the iPhone 5 on September 14.
Shipments begin on September 21, and the smartphone will be sold in 100 countries by the end of the year.
The new iPhone will be made entirely of glass and aluminum, said Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller. iPhone 5 will be 18% thinner than its previous model Apple iPhone 4S.
"iPhone 5 is the world's thinnest smartphone," Schiller said. It is also 20% lighter than iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 sports a larger 4-inch "retina" display, ability to surf a high-speed 4G LTE network. Apple iPhone 5 features a retina display and the screen will have a 1136 x 640 screen resolution, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
According to Schiller, the iPhone 5 has a better battery life than 4S.
While like iPhone 4S, it features an 8 MP camera, it is 25 per cent smaller. iPhone 5 will run on a quad-core Cortex A6 processor. Apple claims that the processor makes the device twice as fast as its predecessor.
iPhone 5 will run on Apple's new operating software iOS 6. The audio system has also been updated to include three microphones.
The first launch countries are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. A week later, the phone will be available in 22 more countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain.
Prices for overseas locations were not announced.
The iPhone 5 will also come with the capability to connect to the fastest new wireless data networks, both in the US and overseas.
That's another feature that was widely expected.
Apple unveils new EarPods
With the launch of iPhone 5, Apple on Wednesday also unveiled headphones with a 'breakthrough design'. The white earbuds that ship with all of Apple's portable devices are getting an update. Now called "EarPods," they're tube-shaped, which Apple said will help fit the shape of the ear.
They'll go on sale Wednesday as a stand-alone accessory but will be included free with new devices out in October.
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.
Apple said the company has spent three years in designing new headphones. Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Apple is one of the biggest providers of speakers in the world. We put them in just about everything we sell."
Apple's announcements were largely in line with investor expectations, and their response was tepid.
Apple is also updating its iTunes software for the Mac and PC, with what is says is a "dramatically simpler and cleaner interface." It will be available as a free download in October.