Apple today introduced the iPhone 5, a complete redesign of its hit smartphone.
Apple claims the phone is the world’s thinnest smartphone – a mere 7.6mm thick.
The phone has a larger four inch screen, and the aluminium handset is taller and thinner than previous models.
The new phone will be released on September 21, and available to pre-order from Friday. It will be the same price as the current iPhone 4S.
Apple confirmed it will also ditch the 30pin connector used to charge the phone or dock it. The new all-digital connector is called Lightning.
Users will have to buy a special adaptor to connect current accessories such as docks.
The phone was introduced by Apple CEO Tim Cook in a special event in San Francisco.
The iPhone 5 – made entirely of glass and aluminium – is the same width but slightly taller.
It allows an extra row of apps on the Home screen, with other software like Safari web browsing taking advantage of the extra room.
Older apps yet to take advantage of the bigger screen are centred on the screen with black bars at either end to take up the remaining space.
The iPhone 5 also has LTE technology for surfing the web at 4G speeds.
Apple confirmed it will work with the UK’s first 4G network, due to be launched this year by EE.
The iPhone 5 camera remains eight megapixel in quality but Apple has made enhancements to the lens in order to improve the overall appearance of snaps, especially in low light conditions.
The camera also allows for panoramic photos to be created by sweeping the handset from left to right. The iPhone will also tell you if you’re moving it too fast to capture the best image. The iPhone 5′s A6 processor is twice as fast as the previous chip with twice the graphics performance.
Apple also launched a redesigned iTunes store and new iPods. The 7th generation iPod nano now has a bigger screen at 2.5 inches and is just 5.4mm thin – 40% thinner than what’s come before.
The nano also has widescreen video, a pedometer and an FM radio with live pause. There will also be Bluetooth for the first time to allow wireless streaming to headphones and speakers.
The iPod touch is now just 6mm thin and weighs only 88 grams. It will also sport the same four inch Retina display as the iPhone 5. It will have the A5 processor found in the previous iPhone models.
Phone retailers predict that the new iPhone handset will be a smash hit.
Andrew Harrison, Carphone Warehouse CEO said: “We know that huge numbers of customers have held back from upgrading their smartphones in anticipation of Apple’s big reveal. Indeed, we estimate that up to 15% of mobile phone users in the UK will upgrade to a smartphone in the next 3 months and we predict that more consumers than any other handset launched this year will purchase the iPhone 5.”
Phil Schiller said: “The hardware and software engineering that has gone into this product is the most challenging that has ever gone on. What they’ve accomplished is just amazing.”
He added: “The challenge is to make it better and smaller.”
Apple announced tonight it had now sold more than 400 million iOS devices around the world.
The new iOS 6 operating software will be available to download from September 19 for existing devices including the new iPad and the latest iPod touch.
iOS 6 will also ditch Google’s mapping service for Apple’s own version, as rivalry between the two companies heats up.
The new phone will instead use 3D mapping provided by TomTom.
Google makes the Android software which powers iPhone’s most bitter rivals including Samsung’s Galaxy phones.
The company’s YouTube application will also no longer be offered as a built-in app on Apple
The phone runs the new version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 6, which has built Facebook more closely into the operating system, so that users can upload photos directly from the camera app.
New tricks with Apple’s voice-control software Siri include being able to post a Facebook status straight to your wall using your voice.
The launch is a key test for Apple’s smartphone, which is under increasing pressure from rivals such as
Google’s Android operating system is now the world’s most popular, and Samsung is the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer.
In advance of the launch, Apple shares have risen 15% in the past six weeks, hitting an all-time high on Monday.
Analysts J P Morgan believe that the handset will sell eight million units in the fourth quarter of the year – and offer a significant boost to the whole U.S economy.
J.P. Morgan’s chief economist, Michael Feroli wrote in a note to clients that the launch could boost the whole U.S economy by up to half a percentage point.
‘Calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost annualized GDP growth by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate,’ wrote Feroli.
Anticipation has been huge for the new handset, with one in 1000 of all web searches in the past week for ‘iPhone 5’, according to analysts Experian Hitwise.
Analyst Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw claimed last year that the new iPhone ‘was the last project that Steve Jobs was intimately involved with from concept to final design.’
The new handset is actually the sixth iPhone model (iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S).
The cult smartphones have sold 250 million units since Apple introduced the product in 2007, according to analysts Strategy Analytics.