Special: Apple Introduces iPhone 5, New iPods, New iTunes

Posted on September 12, 2012

Apple introduced the iPhone 5, along with new iPods, a new version of iTunes, and EarPods, the company’s new earbuds. Additionally, the Dock Connector has been retired, in favor of a smaller, 8-contact connector, called Lightning. The new iPhone is much like the leaked parts we had been seeing for months, but it’s nice to actually see things come together.

iPhone 5

iPhone 5

The new iPhone 5 looks a lot like the iPhone 4 and 4S, only taller and thinner. Available in black or white, the phone now features an aluminum body and back. The biggest feature is the inclusion of LTE and the larger display. While still 640 pixels wide, it’s now 1136 pixels tall, making the display 4″ diagonally, and a 16×9 resolution. Apps can be updated to take advantage of the extra height, but if they aren’t, they simply have black borders and the top and bottom.

Additional changes mentioned in Apple’s press release:

iPhone 5 supports ultrafast wireless standards including LTE and DC-HSDPA, so you can browse, download and stream content even faster. To support the latest LTE technology, Apple has pioneered a unique single-radio LTE solution that provides blazing fast speeds while fitting perfectly into the new remarkably thin design. iPhone 5 features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for a wireless experience up to 150 Mbps.
The all-new A6 chip was designed by Apple to maximize performance and power efficiency to support all the incredible new features in iPhone 5, including the stunning new 4-inch Retina display—all while delivering even better battery life. With up to twice the CPU and graphics performance, almost everything you do on iPhone 5 is blazing fast for launching apps, loading web pages and downloading email attachments.

The 8 megapixel iSight camera is the most popular camera in the world and with iPhone 5, it’s even better. The new camera is completely redesigned with incredible optical performance, yet amazingly it’s 25 percent smaller than the camera in iPhone 4S. The new iSight camera in iPhone 5 features a sapphire crystal lens cover that is thinner and more durable than standard glass with the ability to provide crystal clear images. The new panorama feature lets you capture jaw-dropping panorama images of up to 28 megapixels by simply moving the camera across a scene in one smooth motion. New video features include improved stabilization, video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos as you record. A new FaceTime HD front facing camera makes FaceTime calls incredibly clear and can also be used for self portraits and recording 720p HD video. iPhone 5 also allows you to share photos with friends and family using iCloud’s Shared Photo Streams.

…iPhone 5 introduces new enhanced audio features including a new beam-forming, directional microphone system for higher quality sound, while background noise fades away with new noise canceling technology. iPhone 5 now includes support for cellular wideband audio for crisper word clarity and more natural sounding speech. Wideband audio will be supported by over 20 carriers worldwide at launch…

The iPhone 5 will be available for preorder in the United States on Friday, September 14 and will be priced at $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), $399 (64GB) and begin shipping on Friday, September 21.

As a result, the iPhone 4 (8GB) is now free on contract, and the iPhone 4S (16GB) is now $99 on contract.

It was also announced that iOS 6 will be available September 19.

iTunes

iTunes

iTunes received a major update, both to the desktop application, and the various stores. The desktop application now looks and works very much like the iOS 5+ iPad application (simpler, iCloud built-in, better mini player, queuing of songs) and will be available in October. The stores are simpler and cleaner, much like we saw at WWDC. From Apple’s press release:

The redesigned iTunes features a full-window interface on your Mac or PC that’s simpler and cleaner, always keeping your favorite content in front of you. The new library view makes it easier to view your music, TV shows and movies, allowing you to click on the category of content you want to browse and that’s all you will see. The expandable album view allows you to see track listings for an individual album, while letting you continue to browse your music library. The new search feature searches across your entire iTunes library, including music, movies and TV shows. The re-imagined MiniPlayer makes it easy to control your music with a small tool bar, you can skip to the next song or search for something new to play—all without having to open your library. Up Next is a fun new way to see what songs are coming up and queue songs or albums you want to hear next.

iTunes 10.7 is available now, and adds iOS 6 compatibility. It is the first version of iTunes to require a Mac with an Intel processor.

iPod nano

iPod nano

The iPod nano received a huge makeover, making it look like a tiny iPhone/iPod touch. Not only does it have a 2.5″ multitouch display, but it also has side controls for changing songs. Apple also brought back video playback and added Bluetooth, and it’s available in seven colors.

The iPod nano will be $149 (16GB) and available in October.

iPod touch

iPod touch

The iPod touch was updated to include a 4″ screen like the iPhone 5, and is thinner and lighter. Apple replaced the rather old A4 chip with an A5, like the iPhone 4S or third-generation iPad. The back of it is now made out of aluminum, rather than stainless steel (hoping for fewer scratches?) Also improved is battery life (40 hours of music), a pretty nice 5MP iSight camera with flash (probably like the third-generation iPad, but with a flash), a FaceTime HD camera, 802.11a/b/g/n (dual-band N), AirPlay mirroring. There’s also a button on the back of the iPod for attaching a “loop” wrist strap (for extra security with gaming and photos). The iPod touch is now available in five colors (silver, black, blue, green, and pink).

The fourth-generation iPod touch will be $199 (16GB), while the new one will be $299 (32GB) and available in October.

EarPods

Also introduced are improved earbuds, which have been under development for three years, and direct sound into the ear and fit more people. These will be a standalone accessory and are available today for $29. They will also be included with all new devices.

Lightning

Lightning

Apple also updated the connector on the iPhone 5 and new iPods, signaling the end of the Dock Connector’s nearly ten year reign. The new connector is smaller, all digital, and works in either orientation. Apple will be offering an adapter to use older accessories with the Lightning connector (both in a $29 small adapter and as a $39 cable).

iPod classic

No, the iPod classic did not get an update, but Apple is still selling it in either silver or black for $249 (160GB).

This post has been filed in News and Special Coverage