Summary: iPhone 5 highlights Apple product unveilings

As expected, the iPhone 5 led a busy day of product announcements for Apple

As expected, the iPhone 5 led a busy day of product announcements for Apple. But it wasn't the only unveiling at the company's San Francisco press event, which also featured new iPod models for the holiday season, a revamped version of iTunes, and a shipping date for iOS 6.

But the latest iPhone was clearly the star of the show during the two-hour long press briefing hosted by CEO Tim Cook and featuring a multitude of Apple executives. The new iPhone features a taller screen, new dock connector port, LTE support, and camera improvements.

You'll be able to pre-order the iPhone 5 on September 14, with the phone arriving in stores a week later in the US. and eight other countries. Pricing remains unchanged from the iPhone 4S: A 16GB iPhone 5 costs $US199, a 32GB iPhone 5 costs $US299, and the 64GB model costs $US399.

That buys you a phone with a taller display than the preceding iPhones. The iPhone 5s Retina display measures 4 inches diagonally, with 1136 by 640 resolution. That extra space allows Apple to squeeze in an extra row of icons on the home screen; native apps are also being updated to take advantage of the larger display.

The iPhone 5 does away with the 30-pin dock connector port, swapping in a smaller port that Apple has dubbed Lightning (a play off the Thunderbolt interface used in Apples Mac lineup).

The iPhone 5 adds support for LTE, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA on top of the GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, and HSPA networking capabilities of the last iPhone. LTE partners in the U.S. include Sprint, ATT, and Verizon.

The built-in camera features an 8-megapixel sensor and features a lens cover for the first time. The new A6 processor that powers the iPhone 5 includes an image signal processor for improved photographs. The Camera app also includes a Panorama feature for stitching together wide shots.

Read more about the features in the new iPhone 5

When it ships, the iPhone 5 will run iOS 6, the next version of Apple's mobile operating system. Other iOS devices will get to install the new iOS a few days before the iPhone arrives, however: Apple announced a September 19 ship date for iOS 6. iOS 6 is a free update available to the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, fourth-generation iPod touch and later, and the second- and third-generation iPads.

Much of Apples iOS 6 demo mirrored a preview of the iOS update offered in June. However, Apple did show off its new mobile stores for iOS 6. The iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore now have a unified matte black design, and Apple promises improved performance.

Read more about iOS 6

The aging iPod line also got some attention Wednesday as Apple unveiled updated versions of both the iPod touch and the iPod nano.

The fifth-generation touch now comes in multiple colors and features a loop that can attach to a wrist strap. More significantly, it has the same spruced-spruced up screen introduced with the iPhone 5. (The touch is powered by a dual-core A5 processor, similar to the chip that runs the latest iPad.) Other changes to the iPod touch include camera improvements and iOS 6 compatibility. It will also support Siri, Apples voice-activated personal assistant.

The fifth-generation iPod touch costs $299 for a 32GB model and $399 for a 64GB model; it goes on sale in October. 16GB and 32GB versions of the fourth-generation touch remain on sale for $199 and $249.

A new iPod nano is also set for an October release. When it arrives, the seventh-generation nano will feature a multitouch display and support video playback. It also include Bluetooth, giving the nano the ability to wirelessly stream music.

The nano is available in seven colors and costs $US149 for a 16GB model.

Read more about Apples iPod lineup

In addition to the hardware, Apple also announced a overhaul to iTunes that will arrive in October. The new version will offer a simplified interface, the ability to play media directly from iCloud, a new MiniPlayer, a redesigned iTunes Store, and more.

But that new iTunes isn't arriving for another month. Until then, iTunes 10.7, released on Wednesday, offers support for iOS 6 running on compatible iOS devices.

Read more about Apples planned iTunes update

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Philip Michaels

Macworld.com

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