updated - March 31, 2015 Tuesday EDT
iPhone 5 has dropped and Apple is calling the device its thinnest, lightest smartphone ever and will hit stores next week Friday, Sept. 21.
Speaking at the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook and vice president of marketing Phil Schiller revealed the new iPhone 5 which is made entirely out of glass an aluminum. It's 7.6 millimeters (0.3 inch) thick and weighing 122 grams (4.3 ounces), making it the world thinnest smartphone, he said. It's 20 percent lighter and 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S.
Schiller says the starting price of the iPhone 5 will be same as previous phones, $199 with a two-year contract and 16 gigabytes. The iPhone 4S will go to $99. The iPhone 4 will be free with contract. The phone goes on sale Sept. 21. Apple will start taking orders for the new phone on Friday, and hopes to have it in 100 countries by the end of the year.
Apple said the iPhone 5's processor speed is twice as fast as the previous version, an advance made possible by the company's new "A6" chip.
"It's an absolute jewel," Schiller told the crowd of fans.
"It's an amazing time at Apple," Cook said to begin the show, noting that 83 million visitors popped by their local Apple stores and over 7 million people downloaded the latest operating system update, Mountain Lion. The company sold 17 million iPads last quarter, Cook said.
The iPhone 5 will run on higher speed LTE networks, has a larger, 4-inch screen, showing five rows of icons and comes complete with a retina display. The previous iPhone 4s has only a 3.5 inch screen. Schiller says the new phone will have a battery with eight hours of talk time and eight hours of Web browsing.
Apple also said it has updated its software, including iLife, iWork, and the native apps, among others, to accommodate for the larger display. It will also allow developers to adjust their apps for the larger screen.
In terms of web usability, as expected, the iPhone 5 will come with support for 4G LTE service, which Cook calls "Ultrafast Wireless." The device's LTE service will be available in the U.S. on Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T networks.
The new iPhone 5 has an 8-megapixel camera, similar to earlier models, however it has better low-light performance and faster image captures. Schiller showed off a photograph captured by the new phone that he said was 28 megapixels. The camera has special features to eliminate noise in images and perform better in low light. There's also a feature that lets you stitch multiple images of a landscape for a panoramic view.
Apple also announced plans to update its phone software and will ditch Google Inc.'s mapping service for its own. The two have become rivals as Google promotes phones running its Android operating system.
Cook also noted that the company now has 380 stores in 12 countries, with one opening in Sweden on Friday to make 13.
TOP 10 FRANCHISE FOR 2015