iPhone goes for bigger, better, bolder
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 18:09
On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the latest smartphone in its five-year-old line of iPhones. The new iPhone 5 has a taller screen, a faster processor and LTE connectivity.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, introduced the new device at a press conference on Sept. 12 in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The press conference also featured the release of an updated line of iPods and a recap of the yet-to-be-release iOS 6.
The device still has front and rear facing cameras, home and volume buttons and a “retina” screen. Retina screens, which debuted on the iPhone 4, are screens that have no discernable pixels when held at normal distances.
The new design of the iPhone 5 allows for many new features, the most obvious being the screen. The new screen measures 4 inches diagonally, with a nearly 16:9 aspect ratio. Applications will be able to use this space to display more information. However, all apps need to be updated to take use of the space; those that are not updated will be “letterboxed,” which means that there will be extra black bars on each side of the app, according to Schiller.
The screen also has a 44 percent increase in color saturation, bringing it up to sRGB specifications.
“This is the most accurate display in the [smartphone] industry,” Schiller said.
A processor upgrade allows the new screen to function at its best. The A6 processor is up to twice as fast as the A5, according to the Apple website. This allows for better graphics and battery life.
LTE also makes its iPhone premiere with the iPhone 5. LTE is a faster cellular-based wireless technology than 3G or HSPA, the previous wireless technology available in iPhones. LTE is provided by carriers like AT&T and Verizon.
A new port has been created for the iPhone 5. The Lighting connector, with 8 pins, is smaller than the previous 30-pin connector. The connector is also reversible, making it easier to plug the iPhone 5 into a dock or charging cable.
Along with the new port, a more ergonomic earbud will be shipped with the iPhone 5. EarPods are the result of over 600 tests of peoples ears and how they hear. Apple claims the new earbuds are more comfortable and better-sounding than the iconic earbuds that came before.
During the press conference, Apple went over iOS 6, the new mobile operating system for many of its iDevices. iOS 6 was introduced on June 11. The new operating system features updates to the phone app, Siri and Notification Center. Apple also introduced a few new apps, including Passbook and Maps.
Passbook is a manager for reward cards and airline boarding passes. The app will use quick-response codes (that matrix of black and white squares seen on some ads) that are scannable by cashiers and ticket-takers.
Maps is a new app, although there was a previous Maps app that came preloaded on older iOS versions. The new app will not rely on Google Maps data, instead using data that Apple has collected from a variety of sources. Maps will also offer turn-by-turn directions and voice control via Siri.
iOS has a few other new features, such as the ability to post to Facebook and Twitter from the Notification Center, a Do Not Disturb mode and the ability to make FaceTime calls over cellular wireless.
The iPhone 5 is available for pre-order now and will be shipping on Sept. 21. It will initially be available from Sprint, AT&T and Verizon starting at $199 on contract.
Other updated devices include the iPod touch and the iPod nano, both available in a variety of colors.
The new iPod touch features a 4 inch screen, a new camera and a loop to keep the iPod attached to the user’s wrist.
The iPod nano got a complete makeover, again, switching from a small and square screen to a tall rectangular screen. While it might look like a smaller iPod touch, it does have the ability to run downloaded apps. It does have a few built in though.
The credit-card sized media player has an app for video playback, unlike its watch-like predecessor. The iPod nano also has a pedometer to track workout activities and a companion Nike+ app to organize the data.
The new iPod lineup will be available for purchase in October, but no exact release date has been provided by Apple.
Pre-orders started on Friday. The iPod touch will start at $299 and the iPod nano will be $149.
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