Apple iPhone 5 release expected as smartphones, tablets unveiled for holidays

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.

Src : Newsday

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