Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage after the introduction of the iPhone 5 during Apple's iPhone media event

Apple unveils iPhone 5

Apple's new iPhone has been unveiled, with a bigger screen and 4G wireless technology.

The iPhone 5 met the expectations laid out by gadget geeks and tech analysts ahead of the unveiling this week, but offered few surprises to give Apple shares – already trading near record highs – another major kick.

"There is not a wow factor because everything you saw today is evolutionary. I do think they did enough to satisfy," said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of the wealth management company Destination Wealth Management.

Other industry analysts turned quickly to speculating about what else was in Apple's product pipeline ahead of the crucial end-year holiday season, especially as the company stayed mum about an oft-rumored TV device or a smaller iPad.

"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.

"As soon as we see that, we will have more conviction about the stock heading into the final quarter."

The iPhone 5 goes on sale in the US at the end of the week, and will be available in the UK from 21 September.

The new model will run on the new superfast 4G network, which was announced yesterday by Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere – now known as EE.

The 4G network – which offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G – will allow uninterrupted access to the Web on the go, high-definition movies to be downloaded in minutes and TV to be streamed without buffering.

The announcement is likely to enrage EE's competitors, including Vodafone, 3 and O2, who have threatened legal action over telecoms regulator Ofcom's decision last month to allow EE to launch 4G on its existing network.

The latest iPhone comes as Apple faces new competition from Microsoft, which is pushing its Windows Phone 8 operating system as a third alternative to Apple and Google's Android, the most-used mobile operating system in the world.

Analysts have forecast sales of 10 million to 12 million of the new iPhones in this month alone.

Apple has sold more than 243 million iPhones since 2007, and the device ushered in the current applications ecosystem.

But Samsung now leads the smartphone market with a 32.6 per cent share followed by Apple with 17 per cent, according to market research firm IDC.

Both saw shipments rise compared to a year ago, with Samsung riding its flagship Galaxy S III phone.

The iPhone 5 will have a 4in "retina" display, ability to surf a high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, and is 20 per cent lighter than the previous iPhone 4S.

It comes with Apple's newest "A6" processor, which executives said runs twice as fast as the previous generation.

It will have three microphones and an 8 megapixel camera that can take pictures in higher resolutions.

It will hitch a ride on the three largest US carriers – Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc, and Sprint.

One popular enhancement was improved battery endurance – the iPhone 5's power core can support eight hours of 4G Web browsing.

"It has always been a major drawback on Android phones," said Yoshikami. "To have a thinner phone with a bigger screen with more battery life is a pretty impressive technology advancement."

Apple's annual events usually adhere to a set framework, but chief executive Tim Cook and his management team diverged from that script somewhat.

Cook began the event by saying the company's notebooks now rank tops in US sales, leading in market share in the past three months.

Then executives quickly introduced the iPhone 5 and its features, before moving on to a new line-up of iPods.

The audience was shown updates to the iTunes store and a new smaller model of the iPod Nano music player.

The new version is 5.4mm thick and has a bigger 2.5in display.

It also has bluetooth so music can be streamed wirelessly to speakers and has 30 hours of battery life.

A new iPod Touch was also shown off which is 6.1mm thick, weighs 88g and has a 4in display screen.

It has a 5 megapixel camera, which also uses the panorama feature, shared photo streams and gives users the ability to edit pictures.

It will also have the voice-activated software – Siri – which was first introduced on the iPhone 4S and new earpod headphones.

Apple telegraphed many of the software changes to expect in iPhone 5 when it debuted iOS 6, its latest mobile operating system, in June.

The new iPhone will improve on the search capabilities of its Siri voice assistant and will use Apple's own mobile-mapping service instead of Google's software.

Other additions include turn-by-turn voice directions for navigation, and a new in-house app called "Passbook" that organises a user's electronic airline tickets, movie tickets and restaurant loyalty cards.

Earlier, Cook told the audience that its apps store now has more than 700,000 on tap – the industry's largest library.

Apple also is making headway in a corporate market that has been dominated by struggling Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion.

Cook said almost every Fortune 500 company was testing or using its iPhones and iPads.

The battle for domination of the mobile and tablet market has become increasingly heated recently with Apple's competitors taking it on with a series of new products.

Nokia and Microsoft recently joined forces to launch two new phones which will run on the Windows operating system.

The Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 are the Finnish company's attempt to claw back lost ground since it lost its position as the world's biggest phonemaker to Samsung.

Online retailer Amazon recently unveiled new models of its Kindle Fire tablets, which were previously not for sale in the UK, and are seen as rivals to Apple's best-selling iPad.

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