Apple confirmed its dominant position in its post-Jobs era Wednesday when it unveiled new versions of iPhone, iTunes, iPod Nano and iPod Touch. The new products it unveiled suggests Apple has a commitment to maintain its leadership in digital music and will stay two steps ahead of its smartphone and tablet competitors.
Music has always been central to Apple's product offerings, so it was not a surprise when the company debuted a revamped iTunes that will launch in October. The new version of iTunes integrates Apples cloud-based storage service, iCloud. Apple has aimed to make iTunes more enjoyable, too, making it easier to change playlists and adding a drop-down list that shows what songs will be played next. There was no mention of the Internet radio service Apple is reported to be building.
The big news of the day was the new iPhone 5. The device is 7.6mm thick and 18% thinner than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, yet twice as fast because of its new A6 processor. The iPhone 5 weights 112 grams, 20% less than the iPhone 4S. It has a 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and is made entirely of glass and aluminum. The prices will be $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.
Other iPhone 5 tidbits:
-- Apple claims it will get 8 hours of battery life with 3G talk, 3G browsing and LTE browsing (let's wait for Walt Mossberg's hands-on review before believing that claim…).
-- The 8 megapixel camera includes new modes for low lighting and panoramic shots.
-- The iPhone 5 has a new dock connector called "Lightening" that is 80% smaller and all-digital.
- It will have LTE support at Verizon, Sprint and AT&T in the U.S. and other carriers in other countries.
-- Apple is targeting the low end of the market, too. According to the Verge, Apple has dropped the iPhone 4S price to $99 and the iPhone 4 is now free. The iPhone 3GS has been discontinued.
In addition, Apple debuted new versions of its iPod Nano (pitctured above) and iPod Touch. The seventh-generation iPod Nano (350 million have been sold to date) is 5.4mm thick and has a 2.5-inch touchscreen, an FM tuner and widescreen video. The iPod Touch is 6.1mm thick, weights 88 grams and has been upgraded to an AG processor.
The iPod Nano will be available in seven colors and will be priced at $149 for 16GB. The iPod Touch will start shipping in October and will be priced at $199 for 16GB and $249 for 32GB.
Finally, Apple introduced new headphones, called Earpods, that will sell as standalone products and will come included with the iPhone 5, new iPod Touch and new iPod Nano.
As expected, the iPhone 5 drove investors' reactions Wednesday. Here's the timeline:
-- Apple's stock price was down less than 1% early in the day and was roughtly flat when the presentation started.
-- The price fell to a low - on high trading volume - of $657.39 at 1:20pm ET just after CEO Tim Cook started talking about carrier support for the new iPad.
-- The iPhone 5 sparked a 1.66% rebound to $668.29 at 1:44pm ET when senior vice president of iPhone Software Scott Forstall was showing off the iPhone 5's new satellite imagery.
-- Shares were at $662.61 - up 0.35% for the day but down from the post-iPhone 5 high - when Foo Fighters took the stage at the close of the press event.
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