New iPhone unveiled, latest in holiday lineup
NEW YORK (AP) — Apple's new iPhone joins a slew of smartphones, tablet computers and other gadgets coming out for the holiday season.
Announced Wednesday, the iPhone 5 will come with a taller screen and will work on faster data networks. The unveiling comes after weeks of speculation, anticipation and a dose of hype.
The new model will go on sale next Friday, Sept. 21, in the U.S. and eight other countries.
As previously announced, Apple Inc. is also updating its phone software and will ditch Google Inc.'s mapping service for its own, as a rivalry between the two companies intensifies.
Besides appearing on the new phone, the new iOS 6 software will be a free upgrade for iPhones released since 2009 — the 3GS, 4 and 4S models. It will also be available on the 2011 and 2012 iPad models and newer iPod Touch devices.
The update for older devices will be available starting next Wednesday.
In a related development, Google said Tuesday that it is releasing a new YouTube app for the iPhone and the iPad. The changes come amid the expiration of a five-year licensing agreement that had established YouTube as one of the built-in applications in Apple's mobile devices.
Apple did not announce a smaller version of its iPad, something many people expect this fall.
Apple dominates the market for tablet computers, shipping seven out of every 10 tablets worldwide in the second quarter, according to research firm IHS iSuppli. Rivals have been trying to compete by producing smaller, cheaper models —such as Amazon's Kindle Fire. A mini iPad would challenge those relative newcomers.
Sales of Apple's iPhones are still strong, though the company lost the lead in smartphones to Samsung this year. Samsung Electronics Co. benefited from having its Galaxy S III out in the U.S. in June, while Apple was still selling an iPhone model it released last October. A new iPhone will allow Apple to recapture the attention and the revenue.
Amid expectations of a new iPhone, Amazon, Nokia and Motorola all tried to generate interest in their products last week, hoping that a head start on the buzz will translate into stronger sales. Makers of consumer electronics are refreshing their products for the holiday shopping season.
Amazon announced four new Kindle Fire models and a new line of stand-alone e-readers, while Nokia and Motorola unveiled five new smartphones between them.
Nokia and Microsoft, in particular, are trying to generate interest in a new Windows operating system out next month. The two phones announced by Nokia are among the first to run Windows Phone 8.
Besides the Apple products, these are the gadgets to expect in the coming months:
— REKINDLING THE FIRE
Amazon.com Inc.'s 7-inch Kindle Fire is one of the smaller tablets with decent sales. On Friday, it will sell an updated version with a faster processor, more memory and longer battery life. It will also cut the price to $159, from $199, making it far cheaper than the iPad, which starts at $399 for the 2011 version still on sale. (The most recent ones start at $499.)
Amazon is also releasing higher-end models under the Kindle Fire HD line. A 7-inch one will go for $199, while an 8.9-inch one will go for $299. There's also a $499 model that can use the 4G cellular networks that phone companies have been building. A data plan will cost an extra $50 a year. The smaller HD model will start shipping Friday, while the larger ones will be available Nov. 20.
Amazon also refreshed its line of stand-alone e-readers, offering the Paperwhite, with its own light source. Tablets such as the iPad and the Fire don't work as well in bright light because they are lit from the back. Amazon says the light on the Paperwhite is directed down at the display.
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