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Apple iPhone 5 launch: today's announcements in brief

iO5 and iTunes Match launch dates, plus new iPod nano and iPod touch

Apple iPod nano Mickey Mouse editionApple held a press event at its US headquarters today to update journalists on its incredible string of commercial successes and to flesh out details of its much anticipated new iOS software. The Apple iPhone 5, which was strongly rumoured to be unveiled at the press conference in Cupertino, California, did not make an appearance. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook did take the wraps off a new model of iPod nano and a new iPod touch. See also iPhone 5 release date, specs and rumour round-up.

Tim Cook announced that more than 16 billion apps have now been downloaded to iOS devices and that from an initial offering of 200,000 tracks when it first launched eight years ago, iTunes now offers in excess of 20 million. Apple has now sold 300 million iPods worldwide and has long had a share of more than 70 percent in the US MP3 player market. The event at Apple's California headquarters was Cook's first product launch since taking over the helm from Steve Jobs. 

On the back of this, Tim Cook announced both a new iPod nano and a new iPod touch. The iPod nano will go onsale from today and come in a choice of seven colours. The new iPod touch will be offered in white or black versions and will go onsale on 12 October – the same day as Apple iOS 5 goes live.

The iPod nano gets a new ‘fitness’ focus, and is intended to be worn as a watch. Cook says there is even a Mickey Mouse version of the nano. The iPod nano may be getting an overhaul, but the Apple iPod Classic is being retired.

The Apple iPhone 5 was not unveiled, but Tim Cook did show off the iPhone 4S. As many industry watchers had predicted, the new iPhone takes a faster A5 processor and acquires dual-core processing capabilities. An 8Mp camera with face detection and a retina display also feature. Voice recognition was demonstrated at the launch event - an update to the Siri feature found on the iPhone 4.

The Apple iPhone 4S will go onsale from 1 4 October, with preorders being taken from the 7th. The iPhone 4S will be a GSM and CDMA device. The Apple iPhone 4 is the fastest selling of all iPhones to date, outselling all previous iPhones combined. 

In addition to the new hardware, Apple announced successes in the PC market. There were 6 million downloads for Mac OS X Lion in the space of two weeks after it launched. This, said Cook, compared with a Windows 7 adoption rate a tenth of this pace. Windows 7’s install base took 20 weeks to reach 6 million.

Apple is also claiming a six-fold Mac market share increase over Windows PCs, leading to 1 in 4 PC retail sales in the US being of Macs and MacBooks.


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