Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable company, introduced the iPhone 5, the successor to the best-selling iPhone 4S, on all three major U.S. carriers; AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the Verizon Wireless unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S).
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, introduced its iPhone 5, the successor to the best-selling iPhone 4S, on all three major U.S. carriers, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the Verizon Wireless unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S).
The new phone goes on sale on Friday, Sept. 21. Prices range from $199 for the 16 GB version, to $299 for the 32 GB version and $399 for the 64 GB version, the same as for the iPhone 4S. That phone's price will be slashed to $99 for a 16 GB model with a two-year contract, the company said.
The iPhone 5 will be rolled out first in the U.S., aking with Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK next Friday, the company said. On Sept. 28, it will go on sale in 22 more countries in Europe, including Lithuania, Austria and Belgium. Dates for a China release weren't disclosed.
Shares of Apple rose $9.13 to close at $669.72 after the introduction of the new phone at an invitation-only event in San Francisco. They set an all-time high of $683.29 on Monday.
Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., introduced the iPhone 4S last Oct. 4, a day before the death of founding Chairman Steven P. Jobs.
The iPhone 5 is smaller, thinner and more versatile than its predecessor, as had been expected by industry analysts, engineers and devotees of the company. Weight: 112 grams (3.95 ounces), 20 percent less than the old iPhone.
The new model will use the A6 microprocessor from ARM Holdings (NASDAQ: ARMH) of the UK as well as a modem chip from Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), the No. 1 supplier of mobile phone chips, which should make overall performance and graphics perform twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, company executives said. It will be able to switch among antenna connections to find the strongest connection, they added.
Qualcomm shares rose 59 cents to $62.44, close to the 52-week high for the San Diego-based company.
"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say the hardware and software that has gone into this product is absolutely amazing," said Apple CEO Timothy Cook, who claimed, "It is the world's thinnest smartphone."
The new phone's display has a 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, which makes it a better match for users' thumbs, said Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief. New built-in apps include Safari, e-mail and a calendar, and the phone has a fifth row of icons.
In time, Apple will update iWork, iLife and other apps to work with the new screen, Schiller told the audience.
"There's no big surprise here," said analyst Peter Misek, of Jefferies, who has a $900 price target on Apple. "I think it's going to be a huge hit." Misek also predicted Apple may announce a new iPad next month as well as a version such as an iPad Mini.
Apple's international carriers will include Deutsche Telekom (Pink: DTEGY) as well as phone companies in Canada, South Korea, Australia and Singapore.
Schiller said the iPhone 5's battery life should be at least 8 hours of 3G talk time, web browsing and LTE (long-term evolution). The phone will have three microphones, back, front and bottom, for better fidelity as well as a new connector, dubbed Lightning.
As expected, the iPhone doesn't offer a product from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the No. 1 search engine. That's Google Maps, which has been replaced by a new Apple product, Turn-by-turn directions. Apple, which introduced the iOS 6, battles Google's rival Android OS, which now dominates the smartphone sector.
But the new smartphone comes with satellite images that merge with Safari, which appear to enable a 3D experience, said Scott Forstall, the senior VP for iOs software. Other new offerings include the ability to show an airline boarding pass.
As well, the iPhone 5 will be fully integrated with Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), the No. 1 social networking site, under terms of a deal recently announced with the Menlo Park, Calif., website. In an appearance Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company was fully committed to mobile platforms and looked forward to working with Apple and other companies.
Forstall said iOS 6 will be launched on Wed., Sept. 19, on a global basis.
Apple's popular iTunes and iPod services will be tweaked as well, said Eddy Cue, senior VP for software and services. Cue said iTunes has 425 million accounts. Apple has made changes to the iTunes store so that it works better with the iPhone 5, as well as the iPad tablet, he said. It will let a user browse previews that keep playing while shopping and enable sharing to Twitter accounts.
The new iTunes offerings will come sometime in October, Cue said.
Meanwhile, iOS marketing head Greg Joswiak promised some changes for the iPod, including the seventh-generation Nano, thinner and taller than the current iPod Nano. It features a 2.5-inch touchscreen, integrated FM radio with live pause, video, pedometer as well as integration with Bluetooth for headphones.
The new iPod Nano will come in pink, yellow, green, blue, purple, silver and slate colors.
There'll also be a fifth-generation iPod Touch, Joswiak added, with a 4-inch retina display, five rows of icons, and it will measure 6.1 millimeters and weigh 88 grams (3.1 ounces). It's getting the A5 processor, replacing the older A4, so that graphics performance speeds up.
The new iPod Touch will also include Siri, the voice-recognition personal assistant first ported into the iPhone 4S last year, support 1080-pixel video and sport a better camera for 720-pixel video, Joskwiak said.
The little IPod Shuffle will ship in seven colors and feature new headphones, dubbed Earpods, which go on sale immediately. They'll come with the iPod Touch, iPhone 5 and iPod Nano.
The new iPod Nano will sell for $149 for the 16 GB edition; the iPod Touch, will retail for $299 next month for the 32GB edition, executive said.
The iPhone already faces major competition from the Galaxy S3 from Apple supplier Samsung Electronics (Seoul: 005930), whose memory chips are in the iPhone 5, as well as a host of Android phones from competitors including Google, HTC, HuaWei Technologies and others. Some analysts have suggested Apple could sell as many as 10 million in as little as two weeks.
Apple's fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 expires Sept. 29, which suggests the major earnings impact will come starting with the first quarter of fiscal 2013.
Apple's shares have risen 76 percent in the past year.
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