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Apple officially unveils thinner, faster iPhone 5

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By Heather Kelly and John D. Sutter

(CNN) — Apple on Wednesday announced the latest version of the iPhone.

The iPhone 5 looks similar to previous models but has a larger screen and is lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4S. The company says the larger screen will make it easier to check and send e-mails and to view Web pages with the phone in your hand.

“This is unlike anything we or anyone else in our industry has made before,” Apple’s Phil Schiller said, according to a live blog of the event by The Verge.

The iPhone 5 is 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the previous version, the company said. It is made entirely of glass and aluminum.

Other new features include:

  • Panoramic camera
  • Shared Photo Streams
  • Sapphire lens crystal cover — durable and clear
  • Battery life will provide 8 hours of 3G or LTE talk time or browsing
  • Battery life will provide 10 hours on WiFi browsing
  • The audio system will have three microphones; front, bottom, and back
  • IO6 will run on the phone

There will be a different connector system but Apple said they will have adaptors to help with product compatibility. 

An Apple press conference is ongoing in California. Here is one live blog, of many, following the event. 

For many tech fans, the fall Apple press event is the highlight of a season filled with gadget announcements and releases. Last week, Amazon unveiled its latest Kindle Fire tablets, and Nokia and Motorola announced new smartphones. HTC has an announcement scheduled for later in the month.

The companies are rushing to get their products our in time for the holiday season, where they will battle it out for consumer dollars in an increasingly crowded mobile device market.

Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone six years ago on a stage just one block away in the Moscone Center. Since then the iPhone has taken off, selling around 244 million units around the world. According to research firm IDC, the iPhone and it’s iOS operating system makes up 16.9% of the worldwide smartphone market, coming in behind all phones running the Android operating system, which accounts for 68.1% of the world’s smartphones.

This is Apple’s sixth iPhone model, though if Apple follows the same naming conventions it has used so far, this new phone would be called the iPhone 5.

The winning streak has carried over to Apple’s stock price, which hit an all time high of $683.29 a share last Friday.

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