Apple Unveils iPhone 5

iPhones, iPods, Siri and More Get Facelifts, Overhauls

Apple unveiled the latest model of its flagship iPhone line on Wednesday, the iPhone 5, calling it the world's thinnest smartphone.

Apple also announced updates and upgrades to iPods, iTunes, Siri, iOS 6 and even new headphones -- called EarPods.

As expected, the iPhone 5 includes many new features. It's just 7.6 millimeters thick (that's 18 percent thinner than the 4S). It's got a bigger screen, a faster processer and access to super-fast LTE 4G cellular networks. It's also 20 percent lighter than the present model. The cost remains the same as the old 4S model -- $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model.

Pre-orders start Sept. 14, and it officially lands on Sept. 21.

[So what's left for next year's iPhone 6? Scott McGrew has a wish list here.]

Consumers nostalgic for the iPhone 4 can get one for free if they sign a two-year contract. An iPhone 4S will run $99 with the same contract.

The iPhone 5 camera is crystal-covered in the 5, with better low-light performance and quicker photo capture. There's also a panorama mode on the new model. They're 28 megapixels, which means the higher-end models with greater memory may be more appealing to image-happy consumers.

Shared Photo Streams have also been added to the upgraded lens and looks. Users can select images and push them to friends who can then comment and share.

The iPhone 5 uses an A6 chip, which is 22 percent smaller but still faster for better graphics performance.

As expected, there is a new connector for the new models. It's called Lightning and the hope is it's lightning fast. (After-market vendors? You're welcome.)

Apple's internet browser, Safari, can now be taken full-screen, without navigation bars and buttons. With mobile web views through the roof, this will only increase ease and volume of consumption.

Siri has been upgraded, as well, for voice-recognition delivery of sports scores as well as 3D, turn-by-turn directions in the new iOS6 maps.

Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned some sales success stories before unveilings the goods.

  • iPads have extended their market share from 62 to 68 percent -- despite increased competition
  • MacBooks have captured 27 percent of the market, and that's helping kill off desktops
  • Cook also got to introduce Foo Fighters toward the end of the presentation, upping his cool cred tremendously

The iPod lineup is being updated, too. The Nano is getting a larger screen, for starters, and a more rectangular, retro look. The 2.5-inch screen is the largest ever in the Nano line, according to the Mercury News' Troy Wolverton. A 16GB Nano will cost $150.

It also will include an FM tuner that can pause live radio, more like a DVR. There is more battery life, too, 30 hour, as well as video playback.

The new iPod Touch is the first update in two years. It runs on the A5 chip, not the new A6 that's in the iPhone 5. There's a 5-megapixel camera, too. Siri is being added (its fourth device) and the Touch will now come in five different colors for the first time.

A 32GB Touch will cost $300 and the 64GB is $400.

[View the story "The launch of Apple's iPhone5" on Storify]
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