September 12th, 2012 was a day that had been anticipated by many for a long time. Ever since Apple released the invitations with the mysterious caption “It’s almost here”, along with a number 5 in the shadow, almost every tech blog has been speculating what will be announced. Maybe the long awaited iPhone 5? A refresh of the iMac line? A whiff of iTunes 11?
Today, those rumours have been debunked and at 10 AM local time, Tim Cook took to the stage of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The world was watching and so were we. Here’s what Apple announced.
A brand new iPhone with a 4-inch, 16:9 ratio display, 4G/LTE support and new A6 processor
Apple has finally revealed the much anticipated iPhone 5 after months of speculation and rumours. The new version features a re-worked design that is completely manufactured out of glass and aluminium and it is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever made, weighing in at a mere 112g and measuring 7.6mm thick. Form-wise, it retains the shape of the previous iPhone 4 and 4S but the big new draw to this model is the beefed-up display, which is now 4 inches wide and has a resolution of 1,136 x 640 pixels, or a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The display is still retina with a resolution of 326 pixels per inch (just the same as on the iPhone 4 and 4S) however the one on the iPhone 5 boasts more clarity due to the thiner design of it, meaning that there is less “stuff” between you and the display. All of Apple’s stock apps have been updated to take advantage of the new, larger screen and older third-party apps will have black letter boxing on the top and bottom until they are optimised, however Apple state that this process is extremely easy. The homescreen in iOS now displays 5 rows of apps plus shortcuts instead of the standard 4.
The new iPhone also sports ultra-fast wireless technology with support for the latest HSPA+, DC-HSDPA and LTE (4G) support, allowing for theoretical download speeds of up to 100 Mbps on supported networks and there’s also support for the latest wireless internet standard 802.11 a/b/g/n. Apple have also upped the processor in this model to its new A6 model, which promises a CPU that’s twice as fast (so apps loads up quicker) and beefed-up graphics, which offer near console-quality gaming on a device that you can shove into your pocket.
There’s also a better camera with improved image processing (thanks to that A6 chip) and a new Panorama mode which can take images up to 28 megapixels (despite the fact the camera still remains at 8 megapixels) and the battery life has also seen a boost as well. And finally, the iPhone 5 comes with a new 8-pin Lightning connector (Thunderbolt and Lightning anyone?) that is 80% smaller than the previous 30-pin Dock connector. Apple also sell an adapter (for $29) that allows you to connect up any older equipment.
The iPhone 5 prices are identical to those of the 4S at launch: the 16 GB model on a standard 2-year contract will set you back $199, with the 32 GB model coming in at $299 and 64 GB at $399. Not wanting to be outdone, the iPhone 4S has had its price slashed to $99 for a 16 GB model (again on a 2-year contract) and the iPhone 4 is now free. The 3GS has, unfortunately, died a timely and inevitable death.
Pre-orders for the new iPhone 5 start from this Friday via the Apple Store with shipping from September 21st.
iOS 6 will be available from September 19th
If you were expecting some last minutes features in iOS 6, then you may be extremely disappointed. Apple seemed keen on showcasing the features we have already seen back in June at their annual WWDC conference, such as a new Apple maps, turn-by-turn navigation, Facebook integration and a beefed-up Siri offering, whereby you can now tweet, update your status and launch apps from Siri, along with much more.
iOS 6 will, however, be hitting our devices via the in-built Software Update on September 19th (and as far as we know, it’s free).
iTunes 11 announced with a redesigned interface, iCloud and Facebook integration and more
Cue Eddy Cue (sorry, bad joke…) up on stage now to talk about the music side of Apple – and by the looks of it they sure have been busy. The first item on the agenda was iTunes 11 which brought a simpler new interface on both Mac and Windows to Apple’s slightly tired default music player (in terms of looks, anyway). The new design is now edge to edge and focuses on cover art (so get tidying up your libraries!) in a new grid style. There’s also built-in iCloud, tying in with the deeper integration we saw in Mountain Lion and Facebook is now woven into iTunes, effectively killing Ping in the process, Apple’s failed attempt at social networking.
The iTunes Store has also been redesigned on the Mac and Windows version (to tie in with the new design in iOS 6) making it a much easier experience to find what you’re looking for and the mini player has also received a revamp, with new roll-over controls, a search box and dynamic results. It’s not available yet though; according to Eddy, iTunes 11 will be released in “late October”.
New iPod Nano and iPod Touch announced, with new “Ear Pods” headphones to match
Apple certainly didn’t dedicate a whole “Music” section to their keynote just to talk about a new version of iTunes which could only mean one thing: new iPods! The iPod Nano has now reached its seventh generation and this version is a mere 5.4mm thick and 38% thinner than the previous model with that new Lightning connector seen on the iPhone 5, a bigger screen and improved controls.
There’s also an FM tuner built-in with a groovy new live pause function and widescreen video is now supported for the first time on the iPod Nano. The seventh generation version also comes with Nike+ and a pedometer built-in and Bluetooth for wireless music streaming. And yet all this fancy stuff will only set you back $149 for the 16 GB model.
The trusty old iPod Touch, a device very dear to my heart, also received a nice refresh today and, surprise surprise, it looks like an iPhone 5, only thinner (6.1 mm) and lighter (88 grams). There’s a retina display and that new Lightning connector and the fifth generation iPod Touch also has an A5 chip, just like the 4S and new iPad which promises 7x faster graphics than previous models.
There’s also a beefed-up battery offering which now offers 40 hours of continuous music playback and 8 hours of video. You’ve also got a 5 megapixel iSight camera with autofocus and LED flash and yes, there’s that new Panorama feature as well. The new iPod Touch also comes with a “loop”, whereby you can attach a wrist strap or lanyard, presumably to stop you catapulting it into space if you’re at the gym or running along with it. Gone are also the boring old black and white colours: this model now comes in silver, blue, yellow and red (no white, oddly enough) and yes, you’ve also got a matching wrist strap.
The fifth generation iPod Touch ships with iOS 6 and Siri, so you can natter away to it until the cows come home and starts shipping in October (however pre-orders start from this Friday). Price-wise, you’re looking at $299 for the 32 GB model and $399 for the 64 GB model.
The final music-related product was a new set of Apple headphones that replaced those, let’s be frank here, crappy ones that you got burdened with previously. Apple call them Ear Pods (yes, I groaned too when I heard the name) and they’ve apparently been working away on them for three years. They are designed to inject your music right into your ear canals (meaning less leakage) and come with the fifth generation iPod Touch, seventh generation iPod Nano and iPhone 5 as default. Otherwise, they are available as a separate accessory and you can grab a pair straight away from the Apple Store for $29.
Over To You!
As always with these big Apple announcements, we’d like to turn the floor over to you – our readers. OK, so there wasn’t anything Mac-related (apart from iTunes 11) but it’s likely that we’ll see some brand shiny new Macs coming our way in October, along with a possible iPad Mini as well. Were you impressed or disappointed with Apple’s offering today? Will you be pre-ordering anything that was announced? Were all the new products just like you expected, or did a certain feature surprise you?
Please share all your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!