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Apple rolls out iPhone 5, new iPods and EarPods

- September 12th, 2012

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For some it was a long time coming, but earlier today at the Apple event in San Francisco, the company announced, as expected, the new and improved iPhone 5. They also took the opportunity to announce new iPods, updated earbuds (dubbed EarPods), as well as a new iTunes. It seems for the most part, the rumour mill had it right and in some cases surprisingly dead on!

The iPhone 5,  made of aluminum and glass, is larger than its predecessor with a 4-inch Retina display. So you now get 5 rows of icons, capable of displaying 1136 x 640 at 326ppi and allowing you to see a full workweek, 5 days across in the Calendar app. While the screen jumped ½-inch in diagonal, the newest iPhone is 18% thinner, 20% lighter and is subject to less glare.

 

New A6 Chip & Camera

Under the hood it features the new Apple A6 chip expected to perform up to 2 times faster depending on the application. The iSight camera, which truly differentiated the iPhone 4S from the iPhone 4 has once again been upgraded. Internally, it takes up 25% less space, yet the resolution remains at 8 megapixels. It features a 5-element f/2.4 aperture lens with a thin sapphire crystal lens cover for sharper images. It has improved stabilization and the ability to snap stills while recording video. It also has face recognition and its new panorama feature, which supports images of up to 28 megapixels in size. The front facing FaceTime camera, typically not as powerful as the rear, has been upgraded to 720p, does HD video and is backside illuminated.

The audio system now has 3 mics – front, bottom and back for voice recognition and better noise cancelation.

 

Ultrafast Wireless

Downlink wireless connectivity is also faster with the new LTE & DC-HSDPA that run up to 100Mbps and 42Mbps respectively, compared to the current model, which runs HSPA 14.4Mbps and HSPA+ 21Mbps. This faster capability is expected to be available on Rogers, Telus, Bell, Fido, Virgin and Koodo networks.

The new model supports Wi-Fi (802.11n) with support for both 2.4 and 5GHz with capabilities of up to 150 Mbps.

Battery Life is also improved with 8 hours on 3G or LTE, 10 hours on Wi-Fi.

 

Lightning Dock Connector

Another radical change and something we’ll see crossover to other iOS devices is the new docking connector. The almost decade old 30-pin is gone, replaced with a sleeker 9-pin reversible connector. They call it Lightning, a nice match with Thunderbolt. (For Queen fans, I’m sure you get the Thunderbolt & Lightning reference). For those highly invested in 30-pin gadgets a $29 adapter will solve your problems.

The iPhone 5 will ship with iOS 6, as previously announced (with its 200+ new features), that will include Passport where you can store coupons, movie tickets and boarding passes (no mention of credit cards) as well as an update to Siri, the iPhone’s virtual assistant who comes along with a lot more new found wisdom and probably a few more cheeky comeback lines.

iWork, iMovie & GarageBand have also been upgraded to accommodate the new releases.

The new iPhone 5 will still come either with a black front and a black anodized back or a white front with raw aluminum back somewhat reminiscent of the original iPhone.

Pricing

In the US, the iPhone 5 2-year contract pricing remains the same as the current 4S models (16/$199, 32GB/$299,64GB/$399); the 4S (16GB) will drop to $99, the iPhone 4 (8GB) will be free and the 3GS history.

In Canada, contract prices have not been confirmed, but the no contract unlocked phones will be: $699/16GB, $799/32GB & $899/64GB. The iPhone 4S 16GB will be $599 and the iPhone 4, $399.  Preorders start Sep 14th and will be available Friday, September 21st for Canada, US and 7 other countries.  (iOS 6 will be available Sep 19th as a free update)

 

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New iTunes

iTunes has also been redesigned. It features a full window interface that’s a lot simpler and cleaner. It features a new Library view that makes it easy to view all your content and an expandable Album view, which with a click allows you to see all its track listings.  When you’re previewing a song you can still browse and it will continue to play. You can even share directly to Twitter and Facebook.

The Up Next feature allows you to see just that and if you choose to change the order you can do that too.

One nifty item is the creation of a new Mini Player which allows you to control your tunes from within a small toolbar without having to return to your main library.

Search has also been enhanced, now showing results in-line.

The new iTunes also offers seamless integration with iCloud which has the smarts to place your purchases into your computer’s library regardless as to whether you purchase it using your iPhone, iPad or computer. The new version, PC & Mac, will be available as a free download in late October and with 435 million iTunes accounts, their servers will be busy.

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New iPod nano & iPod Touch

Also, as expected, there’s a refresh to the iPod line although many may not have guessed what Apple was going to do with them.

The iPod shuffle appears to remain as is. The iPod nano previously shrunken down from the candy bar size seems to have regained its stature.  The new 7th generation iPod nano is being touted as the thinnest one ever measuring just 5.4mm. It features a 2.5-inch multi-touch display. It has a home button and new home screen as well as cleverly placed controls to do what you need to do without even having to look at the screen.

A nice surprise is the addition of Bluetooth allowing you to listen to your tunes through many of the Bluetooth enabled speakers and headphones now available. Amazing extended battery life is rated at 30 hours. New features incorporate an FM-tuner with DVR capabilities as well as built-in fitness capabilities including a pedometer.

The new nano is available in 7 colors and will be available in one capacity only, 16 GB for $149.

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The iPod touch has also been given an overhaul. Like the iPhone 5, it has a 4 inch Retina display, touted as the thinnest iPod touch ever, measuring a mere 6mm and weighing just 88g. It has a respectable dual-core A5 chip with twice the power and 7 times the graphics as the previous fourth-generation iPod touch.

The 5th generation touch also has a new iSight camera not as high res as the iPhone but respectable nonetheless. Its camera comes in at 5 megapixels and includes autofocus support, high def 1080p video recording and also includes video image stabilization, face detection and an LED flash.

And a nice little surprise for some: the new iPod touch will come in 5 colors and will include a color matched loop wrist strap.

The new touch will run iOS 6 and features Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant.

EARPODS

Both new iPod models will come with the new Lightning connector as well as Apple’s redesigned EarPods reinvented for easier and better fit and better sound quality. (iPhone 5 also gets the new EarPods)

The new iPod touch will ship in 2 capacities: 32 GB ($299) and 64GB ($399). Pre-orders will begin September 14 with delivery sometime in October. The 4th generation models will still be available in 16GB and 32GB for $199 and $249 respectively.

For someone who already has a phone or doesn’t need one, the touch is certainly a great way to access some of the over 700k apps that are available.

Final Note

You’ll note that at today’s Apple event that there were no updates related to the iMac or any hint of an iPad mini. Interestingly, I find it quite curious that the 64GB iPod touch is selling for around $400. This makes me wonder where and at what price point the highly anticipated iPad mini, expected to arrive in time for the holidays, would fit in.  Regardless, after today’s announcements, I’m sure Apple will be adding to the 400 million iOS devices they’ve already sold.

photos courtesy: Apple Inc.

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Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

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2 comments

  1. Sherlock Mandango | September 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

    An overview of the iPhone 5 features, simplified: http://www.cinemabums.com/?p=519

  2. apple iphone 4s review white | October 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

    AT&T’s ETF for smartphones (which went into effect shortly before the introduction with the iPhone 4 last year) is $325 $10/month.

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