Apple iPhone mania is about to hit the shops again after the techno giant’s new 4G-enabled mobile was unveiled on Wednesday ready to go on sale from Friday.
The iPhone 5 has a taller screen and is slimmer than its predecessors and will no doubt wow the gadget geeks with its 4-inch “retina” display and ability to surf a high-speed 4G LTE wireless network. It is also 20 percent lighter than the previous iPhone 4S.
But where does it stand in the current competitive market?
“The two things I think that matter is having 4G LTE; some people just really wanted 4G phones and Apple is a year behind some of the competition out there and having the larger screen size also helps. They are still not the largest screen size, but it definitely closes the gap between Apple and the competition,” said analyst Scott Sutherland
Apple has sold more than 243 million iPhones since 2007, but Samsung now leads the smartphone market with a 32 percent share compared with Apple’s 17 percent.
However analysts predict the rivalry will intensify, particularly in the light of their ongoing patent disputes.
The experts say Apple’s big advantage is the way its software and hardware work in tandem.
“Where they are pushing the envelope, and where they remain the one to beat, is on the experience those features bring to the consumer,” said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner Research analyst.
“While other vendors continue to focus just on the hardware – delivering the speeds and feeds and bigger batteries – Apple focuses on pulling the operating system, the hardware and what you can consume on the hardware.”
Available for pre-order on Friday in the US starting from $199 with a data plan, the iPhone 5 comes with Apple’s newest “A6” processor, which executives said runs twice as fast as the previous generation. It will pack three microphones – enhancing built-in voice assistant Siri – and an 8 megapixel camera that can take panoramic views.
No smaller iPad
There is much speculation about what else may be in Apple’s product pipeline ahead of the crucial year-end holiday season, especially since the company said nothing about an oft-rumoured TV device or a smaller iPad.
The consumer electronics giant that in 2010 popularised tablet computing with the iPad has given no hints on whether it plans a smaller version to match cheaper tablets from the likes of Google or Amazon.com.
“We would really like to see the iPad Mini in the product offering for the all-important holiday quarter. They still have time,” said Channing Smith, co-manager of the Capital Advisors Growth Fund.