After weeks of speculation about its size, feel and capabilities, the iPhone 5 has finally arrived. Apple introduced its latest smart phone at a special event in San Francisco Wednesday, almost a year after the death of founder and CEO Steve Jobs.
The new phone is taller, thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S. It has a four-inch display, enhanced picture resolution and a longer battery life. Its processor and graphics are twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, uses iOS 6 and can run on LTE networks.
Pre-orders start this Friday, Sept. 14, for shipping on Sept. 21.
Its price: $199 for 16GB on contract. The phone will be available through Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint. As part of today's iPhone 5 introduction, Apple slashed the price of the iPhone 4 8GB to zero and the 16GB iPhone 4S to $99.
"iPhone 5 and iOS 6 are the the biggest things to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone," Apple CEO Tim Cook told his audience today.
But does the new smartphone live up to the hype?
Becky Worley, host of "Upgrade Your Life" on Yahoo! News and technology contributor for ABC's Good Morning America, says the new iPhone 5 introduction "lived up to expectations, which were very clearly articulated before the event."
She expects many consumers will start placing their orders today.
"This is really about that upgrade cycle," for consumers who didn't take the plunge for the iPhone 4S with Siri," says Worley. The faster processor, bigger screen and better camera will be the big draw for those consumers, she adds.
Today's iPhone 5 debut represents much more than a new smartphone design. The iPhone is the hottest product for the company with the biggest market cap in the world. iPhones accounted for 43% of Apple's total sales last year and, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., 70% of Apple's profits. And iPhone sales could have implications for the broader U.S. economy. JPMorgan Chase analysts said this week that iPhone sales could add as much as 0.5% to U.S. GDP in the fourth quarter.
Worley says the iPhone 5 is a " big leap" that puts Apple ahead of many of its competitors including makers of Android phones.
"A lot of the android phones have it wrong making it like a big fat screen," says Worley.
She prefers the thinner screen for the new iPhone but the big factor that draws her to the new device: the battery life.
"Apple has worked hard on this battery and that may be the thing for the user that puts them slightly ahead of the Android phone."
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