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iPhone 5 launch showcases new features but draws fire

The tech prod­uct tipped to sin­gle­hand­ed­ly boost the U.S. econ­o­my has final­ly been unveiled, as Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the iPhone 5 in San Fran­cis­co on Wednesday.

No “nev­er-before-seen” fea­tures emerged but plen­ty of enhance­ments have been added to the slim­mer, big­ger screened handset.

The eyes and ears of many a busi­ness devel­op­ment offi­cer, chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer and prod­uct man­ag­er will have been keen­ly trained on the launch, as Cook described the updates as the most sig­nif­i­cant since the product’s orig­i­nal debut in 2007.  20 per cent lighter and 18 per cent thin­ner than its pre­de­ces­sor, the iPhone 5 was quick­ly described by one observ­er as “like a piece of fine jewelry.”

Fea­tures to fight competitors

The com­pe­ti­tion, how­ev­er, is fierce.  Phones run­ning Google’s Android OS are set to bag 60.3 per cent of smart­phone sales (up from last year’s 46.5 per cent) while Apple is fore­cast by Gart­ner to claim 22 per cent of the mar­ket (up from 18.9 per cent).  Apple’s response has been to expand the screen size for the first time from 3.5 inch­es to 4 inch­es, allow­ing for a fifth row of home­screen icons and cap­tur­ing more infor­ma­tion from web­sites with­out the need for scrolling.

Oth­er fea­tures include an improved cam­era, 4G con­nec­tiv­i­ty, a revamped proces­sor (“A6”, which, games devel­op­ers will note, is reput­ed to be twice as fast as the old A5), and a new dock con­nec­tor to keep up to speed with devel­op­ments in wire­less con­nec­tiv­i­ty. But per­haps the biggest new devel­op­ment is yet to make its appear­ance – the new oper­at­ing sys­tem, iOS6, due to be rolled out on Sep­tem­ber 19th and wide­ly antic­i­pat­ed to be accom­pa­nied by an avalanche of new updates.


But there was also some rain to damp­en this parade.  In a terse­ly-word­ed state­ment, Taren Stine­brick­n­er-Kauf­mann, who heads the cor­po­rate account­abil­i­ty watch­dog “”, crit­i­cized Cook for fail­ing to address news that unpaid “intern” labor by Chi­nese stu­dents was used by Apple sup­pli­er Fox­conn to pro­duce new USB cables for the phone.

She said, “Apple is hop­ing the buzz around the iPhone 5’s release will drown out crit­i­cism, but as demand for iPhones has increased, so has the demand for faster and cheap­er pro­duc­tion, and fac­to­ries churn­ing out phones are also churn­ing out forced unpaid over­time, wage cuts, and haz­ardous work­ing environments.”


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