Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.
This morning, at 10 am PST, (1 pm EST) here on the East Coast, Apple held a live press conference in San Francisco to mark the launch of the iPhone 5. Since I couldn’t be there in person, I was able to follow the event via live blog on the New York Times Web site. Click here for the full context of the blog.
Unfortunately, Apple did not live stream the event online, so I had to settle for live text updates. The event began promptly at 1 pm, and was kicked off by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, who took over following Steve Jobs passing last year. It was capped off with a live performance by the Foo Fighters, who, from what I could surmise via the New York Times live blog, brought the crowd to their feet.
Cook kicked off the event by discussing the newest Apple store that opened in Barcelona, Spain. He added that “Apple now has 380 stores in 12 countries, with the next one opening on Friday. Apple is opening its first store in Sweden. Cook says 83 million customers visited Apple stores in June.”
The New York Times reporters (two of which were on-site in San Francisco) gave a play-by-play of the briefing, noting Cook’s assessment of how the iPad accounts for 91 percent of tablet Web traffic. “I don’t know what these other tablets are doing,” Cook joked with the crowd. Phil Schiller, Apple’s Marketing Chief, then took the stage to introduce the iPhone 5.
Referring to the phone as “an absolute jewel, Schiller dubbed the iPhone 5 as the most beautiful product we’ve made, bar none.” While I am sure everyone at Apple would agree, I am wondering if there are any techie geeks out there who would dispute this claim. I haven’t seen the actual phone in person, so I can’t make a claim, but I will tell you that the term “bar none” ranks right up there with “it will knock your socks off.” Will it literally?? I doubt it! (Note the sarcasm).
According to a press statement issued by Apple, the device is allegedly “the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, with an all-new 7.6 mm anodized aluminum body that is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than iPhone 4S.” The phone has also been completely redesigned to feature a new 4-inch Retina display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology—all while delivering extended battery life.
To support the latest LTE technology, Apple said it has pioneered a unique single-radio LTE solution that provides fast speeds while fitting perfectly into the new thin design. iPhone 5 features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for a wireless experience up to 150 Mbps.
Other features shown off at the event include the iPhone 5’s 8 megapixel iSight camera, which is 25 percent smaller than the camera in the 4S. Video features also include improved stabilization, video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos as you record. A new FaceTime HD front facing camera makes FaceTime calls incredibly clear and can also be used for self portraits and recording 720p HD video.
Apple also said it has re-engineered the iPhone 5’s traditional ear buds, now known as EarPods. If you are like me, and found your ear buds would often fall out of your ear during the best part of a song, then you will likely appreciate the EarPods, which are designed for a more natural fit and increased durability. I am told the acoustics also resemble higher-end more expensive earphones.
In conjunction with iPhone 5, Apple also introduced iOS 6, its new operating system, with more than 200 user features. This includes a new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and a new Flyover view; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center.
When iPhone 4S was announced last year, I was on my honeymoon in Italy, so I didn’t have the chance to rush out and grab a new one; I had to settle for the 4 version. Sprint (my current smartphone carrier) became a provider of Apple products last fall, and there was a several month back order on the 4S when I got around to shopping for one.
This year, I am surely not interested in camping out at the Sprint and/or Apple stores at my local malls the evening before the phone is available here in the U.S. on Friday, Sept. 21. Instead, since I already have my 4 version iPhone, I will wait until things die down a bit (maybe after the holiday season?).
Since the iPhone 5 is priced at $199 for 16GB model, $299 for 32GGB and $399 for 64GB, I could always show up a year later and get the 4S for 99 bucks…even better, for those of you making the iPhone switch, you can have my current version of the iPhone 4 for free, provided you are willing to sign a two-year contract.
I could also always pre-order my iPhone 5, which Apple will allow beginning this Friday…or I could just update my phone to the iOS 6 operating system for free…we will see…stay tuned, and I will be sure to let you know!