SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — After weeks of speculation, anticipation and a dose of hype, Apple, Inc. unveiled the newest version of its wildly popular smartphone at an event in San Francisco Wednesday.
Apple marketing head Phil Schiller, who introduced the new iPhone 5 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, said the new phone is made entirely of glass and aluminum. Schiller called it the thinnest and lightest iPhone yet, at 7.6 millimeters (0.3 inch) thick and weighing 122 grams (4.3 ounces). It’s 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S and 20 percent lighter. It also has a bigger screen, measuring 4 inches diagonally.
The device is capable of working with fourth-generation, or 4G, cellular networks, something Samsung’s Galaxy S III and many other iPhone rivals already do.
AT&T announced Wednesday it would begin selling the iPhone 5 on September 21. Customers would be able to pre-order beginning September 14.
Apple also 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
In anticipation, several gadget makers refreshed their lineups last week, hoping to beat Apple on the buzz. Nokia Corp. and Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility division announced five new smartphones between them, while Amazon.com Inc. updated its Kindle Fire tablet computer and announced new stand-alone e-reader models.
KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid on iPhone 5 Features:
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.
KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:
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.
In China, the company that manufactures Apple’s iPhones responded to an accusation that vocational students are forced to work in its Chinese factories by saying its agreement with their schools allows them to leave.
China Labor Watch, a Hong Kong group, this week said some students wanted to leave Foxconn factories but were compelled by their schools to stay. Its report cited employees of Foxconn Technology Group.
Foxconn said Wednesday it accepts vocational students as interns and its agreement with their schools says they are free to leave at any time.
It said an auditor hired by Apple that examined Foxconn early this year “confirmed that there was no evidence to indicate that any of the interns were pressured to participate in or to continue to participate in any internship program.”
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