As expected, the iPhone 5 led a busy Wednesday 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 U.S. and eight other countries. Pricing remains unchanged from the iPhone 4S: A 16GB iPhone 5 costs $199, a 32GB iPhone 5 costs $299, and the 64GB model costs $399.
That buys you a phone with a taller display than the preceding iPhones. The iPhone 5’s 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 Apple’s 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, AT&T, 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.
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 Apple’s iOS 6 demo on Wednesday 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.
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, Apple’s 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 $149 for a 16GB model.
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 Wednesday, offers support for iOS 6 running on compatible iOS devices.