Sunday, September 16, 2012

iPhone 5 Announecment

On Wednesday the 14th Apple held a press conference to roll out some new products that users have been eagerly for some time. First of course they had to start with the stats of the new Apple Stores like the new one that just opened in Barcelona Spain in a building restored using local limestone. Now being the total stores to 380 in 12 countries along with the announcement of one coming soon to Sweden making it the 13th country to get Apple Stores.

Mountain Lion the 9th Major Release of the Mac OS and the first with iCloud built right in. PC Mag rated it as the Best Consumer OS ever. With over 7 million copies installed since the launch at the end of July.

Apple has been #1 in notebook market share for the last three months. As of July they had a 27% market share in portables. That is a year over year growth of 15% where PC’s only grew at about 2% annually making this the 6th year in a row that Apple has grown faster than the rest of the industry.

The new iPad has also been a hit with 17 Million iPads sold in the April - June timeframe. With a total of 84 million iPads sold through June. Last year Apple had a tablet market share of 62%. With all the new tablets being introduced they have grown to a 68% market share. iPad also accounts for 91% of all tablet web traffic with 94% of Fortune 500 companies now testing or deploying iPads. Enterprise’s have also started investing in building custom apps for their businesses.

The app store now hosts over 700,000 apps and 250,000 of them designed for the iPad. 90% of those apps are downloaded every month and the average customer is using over 100 applications. I have over 400 apps installed on my phone and use probably two dozen of them daily, another couple dozen weekly and a handful when I travel.

To date Apple has sold more than 400 million iOS devices and now they have unveiled there next iPhone.

The first iPhone was released in 2007. It was hailed as a breakthrough that changed the mobile phone industry. Time magazine called it the Innovation of the year “The phone that has changed phones forever.” The first iPhone was a huge shift in smart phones. Since I got my first iPhone 3G I couldn’t imagine doing my job, traveling or living without my smart phone now. It has truly made me more accessible and allows me to do my job from anywhere.

Apple announced iPhone was the number 1 selling smart phone. It is undoubtedly the hottest selling phone around selling more than any other single Android handset. But Apple battles back and forth holding about half of the smartphone market against Android and Windows phone.

Beautiful Display

The iPhone 5 is all glass and aluminum and looks amazing. It is the thinnest and lightest phone Apple has made weighing in 112 grams and being on 7.6 mm thick. The Retina Display is still 326 pip with a 1136x640 with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This will be great for watching movies and looking and in portrait mode reading longer documents. The phone is no wider than the original iPhone allowing it to still be usable while being held in one hand. It adds an extra row of icons great for those who use lots of apps and in landscape mode the calendar shows a five day view of your appointments.

All Apple apps have been updated to take advantage of the new display. If you have an app you like that isn’t optimized for the new display not to worry. Apps are now letter boxedd and centered nicely on the screen so they still look great. I would imagine the effect is much more subtle on the black phone than on the white model due to the blending of the black bezel with the black letter boxing on the screen. As far as color goes with the touch sensors integrated into the screen not only is the device thinner but the color saturation is 44% better making it compliant with the SRGB color spec and making the screen sharper and reducing glare.

Ultrafast Wireless

With this phone for the first time any company has integrated GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HDSPA, and LTE into a single chip, single radio, and created a dynamic antenna system. This is huge for a phone and I am sure other manufactures will start copying this as fast as they can. Not only does it make for a smaller phone but it allows one phone to work anywhere in the world on any carrier. So when might we see iPhone officially on T-Mobile? I am guessing end of the year.

In addition to the wireless tech the iPhone 5 is also getting 802.11 a/b/g/n running at both 2.54 Ghz and 5 Ghz. Moving our phones out of the very crowded 2.4 Ghz band and into the 5Ghz is sure to bring some performance improvements.

Performance

Apple’s new A6 System on a Chip sports:

2x CPU
2x Graphics
22% smaller and reduced power usage

All this means that apps load twice as fast on average and brings enough power to the iPhone to compete with console gaming systems. interactive.

Battery LIfe

All this extra power and connectivity should cost battery but according to Apple it doesn’t. The new iPhone battery allows for 8 hours of talk time, 8 hours of 3G or LTE browsing, 10 hours of Wifi, or 40 hours of music play back. We won’t know for sure until we get them in the real world but Apple is usually pretty close on the estimates for battery life. I wonder how much the newer GPS apps will drain the battery. You may want to order a new Mophie Juicepak when they are released.

iSight Camera

8 megapixel camera with a 3264 x 2448 resolution, backside illuminated sensor, IR filter, five element precision aligned lens and a sapphire crystal lens cover. This combined with a next generation image signal processor, spatial noise reduction and smart filter that can determine what should have texture like a wall and what shouldn’t have texture like the sky will take amazing photos. The iPhone could replace many people’s point and shoot cameras. Of course as all photographers tell me the best camera in the world is the one you have with you and who ever leaves home without their iPhone? The camera also shoots 1080p HD video, with improved stabilization, face detection, and you can now take pictures while recording video. The front camera has been upgraded to 720p and a backside illuminated sensor. The camera app has been upgraded to take faster pictures and includes a panorama mode to take 28 megapixel images automatically stitched together and automatically removes echo artifacts from the image.

Apple has also announced FaceTime will now work over cellular.

Enhanced Audio

The iPhone 5 has three microphones one on front, one on back, and one on the bottom. This allows the phone to use beam forming to enhance noise cancelation and improve speech recognition performance. The speakers have been upgraded with a five magnet transducer to enhance sound reproduction and a new noise canceling ear-piece. Apple is also including a new technology called wide-band audio to make calls sound more natural. Think of it has high definition for your ears. The wide-band audio does require carrier support and so far it hasn’t been announced which carriers are rolling it out.

Connector

In 2003 Apple introduced the 30 pin dock connector. Nine years was a good run for the connector but for the phone to evolve the connector had to change. Today the iPhone has bluetooth, wifi, airplay, wifi syncing and the iCloud to get data in and out of the phone. Apple has changed the old 30 pin analog dock connector a to a new digital 8 pin, durable, reversible, and 80% smaller connector called lightning. As many of you undoubtedly have many devices that use the dock connector don’t worry Apple is also selling an adapter that will convert lightning to a 30 pin dock connector to allow you to continue to use your legacy dock devices.

This adapter isn’t cheap at $29.99 but it does include electronics built in that convert the digital lightning signals into the analog 30 pin dock signals required by older devices.

iOS 6

Next up was another look at iOS 6. Maps have been built from ground up to use vectors for smooth transitions with new info cards that include Yelp reviews and photos. The new maps app also has free turn by turn directions. The Maps app includes 3D turn by turn directions with cinematic camera angles. The foot prints of buildings are correct making it easier to identify where you are heading.

What’s missing from maps? Well there are no mass transit directions in the new maps app. Which is a huge omission for regular travelers to other cities who like to use mass transit or for city dwellers who like to use Google Maps to get bus and train schedules.

The updated Notification Center now includes rapt to tweet or post to Facebook widgets.

Safari has a full screen mode to fill the display and allows you to open your tabs on other computers from your iOS device with iCloud Tabs. Left a browser open at work and need to access a tab? Just grab your iOS device and pick up where you left off.

Mail now includes a VIP feature to collect messages from those who are important to you in one location and to allow your device to let you know when an important message arrives and not when the lower priority emails come in. You can now also flag emails easily in iOS.

Passbook allows a user to collect all their passes in once place. keep your movie tickets, board passes, coupons store cards, baseball tickets, and concert tickets in one place. Passbook also integrates with the lock screen so the appropriate pass is loaded when you arrive at the airport. This sounds like a great feature but looking at it over the last two days it has not been obvious how to use it just yet. We may have to wait for app developers to update apps for this feature to become more useful.

Siri is getting smarter learning more about sports, movies, and now being able to launch apps for you. She can now find movies at nearby theaters and sort them by review ratings. Siri can find restaurants and make reservations using Open Table. Siri can even post on Facebook on your behalf.

The iPhone 5 comes in black/slate and white/aluminum finishes. Apple has also changed pricing on the iPhones slightly. Bumping the top end phone to 64GB of storage and keeping the 4s and 4 in the lineup.

free with contract        iPhone 4 8GB
$99                                iPhone 4s 16GB
$199                        iPhone 5 16 GB
$299                         iPhone 5 32 GB
$399                         iPhone 5 64 GB

iPhone 5 will launch in 100 countries with 240 carriers by the end of the year. Making this the fastest iPhone launch ever.

Preorders started last friday. Within 1 hour before ship dates slipped to 1 to 2 weeks. As of this writing it was at 2-3 weeks.
In Store pickup starts on Friday 21st at 8:00 AM.

Music

Apple has also made significant upgrades in the land of music. The music store now has 26 million songs in the catalog and customers have bought over 20 billion songs. iTunes is available in 23 countries and as of now is available in 64 countries. Currently there are more than 400 million iTunes accounts with cards on file enabling one click purchasing. More than 2/3rd of downloads are now coming from iOS devices.

Apple is also introducing a new design for app, music, movie, and book stores to make it easier to use the stores on iOS. Apple is also adding Facebook like features and Tweet features. You can now also continue to browse while listening to previews.

Apple claims that iTunes is the number one media player. Many people have complained that it has become old and clunky and Apple has announced that iTunes 11 will be available in October. Since iCloud was launched over 200 million subscribers have signed up and have downloaded 15 billion songs. The new iTunes has a much simpler interface. Clicking the album expands it in place and analyzes the album art to theme the expanded section. Artists can share photos right in the music library.

Up Next shows you what songs are coming up next. You can rearrange or jump to a song. Users can also add a song to up next from the album view by clicking a song and choosing up next. The all new mini player includes roll over for controls, search built in, see song and artist with album art, and Up Next is still built into the mini player. iCloud is built right in to the new iTunes. Now you can pick up where you left off on your iOS devices.

The iTunes store artist page allows playing of previews while you view concert dates and artist information.

iPod

Since the introduction of iPod more than 350 million have been sold. Apple has announced the iPod Nano and in old swift move Sherlocked an entire industry of watch band makers. But the new Nano is thin, light, has a large screen, big easy to use buttons, and a lightning connector. They have even color matched the wall paper to the color of the Nano. With a 2.5” multi-touch display you can watch movies in 16:9 aspect and use every pixel on the screen. When listening to music you can see the artist, title, track, and album art all at the same time. The built in FM tuner now has pause and record options. Bluetooth is built right into the Nano now for wireless headphones.

iPod Touch

The new iPod Touch is great for gaming. With over 150 million Game Center users it is easy to find people to play games with and discover the games your friends are playing. The 5th Gen touch is just 6.1 mm thick and weighs just 88 grams making it the thinnest touch and almost the thinnest iPod. LIke it’s iPhone counterpart the headphone jack, speaker, and lightning connector are located on the bottom of the device. The new iPod Touch also shares the same display as the iPhone 5. The camera system from the iPhone 4s finds it’s way to the iPod Touch and gets the panorama feature and sapphire crystal lens cover.

That is where the similarities end. The iPod Touch gets the A5 CPU with up-to 7x graphics performance improvement. Airplay now comes to the Touch along with Siri thanks to the updated CPU. The iPod Touch also gets a hidden button to attach the loop wrist strap to keep your iPod touch secure in your hand while carrying it around.

Shuffle

The iPod Shuffle is also getting a color refresh to match the 7 new colors of the iPod Nano.

Headphones

Apple spent 3 years in design for new headphones for the entire line of iPods and iPhones. After doing 3D scans of hundreds of ears and finding the commonalities they designed the EarPods. The EarPods don’t seal in your ear to allow outside sound in so you are not cut off from the rest of the world. Apple has also included multiple ports to optimize the sound. The rear port is optimized for midrange sound, the port in the stem for bass also allows more air flow to allow the speakers to work effectively.

EarPods were available immediately.

Pricing for the new iPods are:

$49                 iPod Shuffle available in 7 colors
$149        iPod 16GB
$199        iPod Touch 16 GB
$249        iPod Touch 32 GB
$299         new iPod Touch 32GB
$399         new iPod Touch 64GB

The new devices will be coming in October.

This was a huge announcement for Apple with only a few surprises. I didn’t see any rumors about iTunes 11, I was surprised that NFC was left off iPhone 5, and after many rumors about an iPad mini none materialized and it even looks like there is no space in pricing of devices for one at this time. Apple is continuing to make products that most people want and most other manufactures wish they could make. Analysts are predicting that opening weekend Apple will sell 7-8 million handsets. Given the number of preorders and the number of people in line in countries around the world that is not an unrealistic estimate.