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Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc, speaks about iPhone 5 pricing during Apple Inc.'s iPhone media event in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012. – Photo by Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc took the wraps off its fastest, thinnest iPhone on Wednesday, packing a much larger screen and 4G capability on the fifth version of the smartphone that helped it become the world's most valuable corporation.

The iPhone 5 will go on sale Friday from $199, sporting a 4-inch “retina” display, ability to surf a high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, and is 20 per cent lighter than the previous iPhone 4S.

CEO Tim Cook, who took over from the company's late co-founder Steve Jobs last year, faces pressure to keep Apple at the forefront of the industry.

The latest iPhone comes as Apple tries to fend off competition that has reached fever-pitch. Google Inc's Android has become the most-used mobile operating system in the world, while key supplier and rival Samsung Electronics has taken the lead in smartphone sales. Rivals have been first to market with phones that have bigger displays or run on faster wireless networks. Apple closed that gap with the unveiling of the newest iPhone.

Now, Microsoft Corp is pushing its Windows Phone 8 operating system as a third alternative to Apple and Google's.

The iPhone 5 will hitch a ride on the three largest US carriers -- Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc, and Sprint , marketing chief Phil Schiller told a packed auditorium at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

One enhancement was improved battery endurance -- the iPhone 5's power core can support eight hours of 4G Web browsing. “It has always been a major drawback on Android phones,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of the wealth management firm Destination Wealth Management. “To have a thinner phone with a bigger screen with more battery life is a pretty impressive technology advancement.”

FASTER PROCESSOR

Cook began Wednesday's event by saying the company's notebooks now rank tops in US sales, leading in market share in the past three months.

But it is the iPhone that carries the weight of Apple's future on its slim frame, especially with the company continuing to play its cards close to the vest about future growth drivers, including an oft-rumored TV device.

Analysts have forecast sales of 10 million to 12 million of the new smartphones this month alone.

The iPhone 5 comes with Apple's newest “A6” processor, which executives claimed runs twice as fast as the previous generation. It will have three microphones and an 8 megapixel camera that can take pictures in higher resolutions.

Apple has sold more than 243 million iPhones since its 2007 arrival, and the device proceeded to upend the industry and helped usher in the current applications ecosystem.

Cook told the audience that its apps store now has more than 700,000 on tap -- the industry's largest library.  Apple also is making a lot of headway in a corporate market that has been dominated by struggling Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion . Cook said almost every Fortune 500 companies was testing or using its iPhones and iPads.

Globally, Samsung leads the smartphone market with a 32.6 per cent share followed by Apple with 17 per cent, according to market research firm IDC. Both saw shipments rise compared to a year ago, with Samsung riding its flagship Galaxy S III phone.

To watch the video click here.

Updated Sep 12, 2012 06:53pm

Comments (7) (Closed)


Ahmed Rehan
Sep 13, 2012 02:07am
Cyrus Howells Being electronic engineer myself , I fully agree with you, you could have some tools to quicker your designs or you could be genius to design a perfect product, but you could not test it so quickly in fact they are testing their products on cusmers / end users and before getting feedback from market about their products they are announcing an other product claiming this product have no bugs and even more powerfull, with more features and previous product is history now so no use of talking about it. This is genius marketing planners tricks not engineers idea they always worried about product performance. Ahmed Rehan
Zaman Khan
Sep 14, 2012 09:08am
what is going to be price of iphone 5 16GB in Pakistan? please anyone share knowledge about this...
Cyrus Howell
Sep 12, 2012 07:23pm
"I've been here 11 years and I have a 10 year old computer. She's been here 10 minutes and you could launch a Russian satellite with the gear she's got." STATE OF PLAY Russell Crowe & Helen Mirren
Cyrus Howell
Sep 12, 2012 07:12pm
I used to work in research and development for a graphic arts manufacturing company, and a laser company. The engineer always has a single question in mind - " Is this product going to work?" New products are not always ready to go, but consumers are always ready to be the guinea pigs (and to own the latest electronic device). "Oh, Wow. You have the new G4 thingamabob." Engineering manager: "OK. Let's give it the smoke test. Plug 'er in."
Haris
Sep 13, 2012 01:08pm
Nokia Lumia 920 will beat Iphone 5S for sure!
AA
Sep 13, 2012 05:15am
QUOTE "...and 4G capability on the fifth version of the smartphone..." UNQUOTE Please correct this, it is the SIXTH generation of iPhone. Original iPhone was launched in 2007, after which the product has gone through following iterations: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and now the sixth generation, iPhone 5.
kHURAM
Sep 14, 2012 06:43am
Its just another way to fool people with launching the same product over and over again. I dont understand the logic of this same shape phone and related exitment to it. Honestly speaking Apple is moving to a dead end where windows OS and Andriod will soon replace the market eaisly, if apple continous to bore people with launching the same thing over and over again...and please dont take slimmness,size & 4G enable feature add up on Iphone as a phone reshape :P, its the same thing!!