SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 13 – Apple introduced a new iPhone 5 with a bigger screen and slimmer body that analysts quickly branded a sure hit for the culture-changing tech giant.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Wednesday called the launch “the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone.”
The California company called the iPhone 5 “the thinnest smartphone in the world,” with a glass and aluminum body that is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than iPhone 4S.
The new iPhone has a rich four-inch (10-centimeter) display prime for the red-hot smartphone market, in which screen size is one of the key factors important to buyers, according to Nielsen senior vice president Jeff Wender.
At a packed launch event in San Francisco, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller praised the new iPhone as “an absolute jewel.”
Apple will start taking orders for the phone Friday and begin shipments on September 21 in the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, and the phone will be available in 100 countries by the end of the year.
Pricing for US customers will start at $199 with a two-year telecom service contract.
Schiller said the taller iPhone nestles in one’s palm to naturally align with thumbs and works on the faster mobile Internet networks known as LTE.
“When you carry your phone it should fit beautifully in your hand, that is just how we designed iPhone 5,” he said. “Everything you do looks gorgeous on this beautiful widescreen display.”
The new device features Apple’s own new A6 processor, which according to Schiller doubles the speed for loading Web graphics.
“The primary purchase drivers for smartphones are price, features, operating system, apps and screen size,” Wender said during an iPhone 5 hands-on session during the event. “Apple addressed all those key drivers today in spades.”
Battery life, a key complaint of smartphone users, is extended to eight hours with mobile phone and browsing and 10 hours if Wi-Fi connections are used.