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Thursday September 13, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple Inc. on Wednesday unveiled the iPhone 5, saying it’s thinner and lighter than the previous model, even though it has a bigger screen. The new phone hits stores in the U.S. and several other countries Sept. 21.

Apple marketing head Phil Schiller unveiled the year’s most eagerly awaited phone at an Apple event in San Francisco.

The release is expected to help Apple recapture attention and revenue after it lost the lead in smartphones to Sam sung this year.

Apple’s announcements were largely in line with investor expectations, and their response was tepid. Apple shares rose $9.13, or 1.4 percent, to close at $669.72. Shares have jumped as expectations rose for the iPhone 5, rallying 16 percent since Apple’s July earnings report.

The first launch countries are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. A week later, the phone will be available in 22 more countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain. Prices for overseas locations were not announced.

There was little in Wednes day’s announcement that surprised Apple watchers. "There was nothing unexpected in terms of the new features of the iPhone," said Tavis McCourt, an analyst with Raymond James.

Apple watchers expect the company will introduce a smaller version of its iPad next month.

As expected, the iPhone 5 screen is taller than on the iPhone 4S, making room for another row of icons.


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The bigger screen moves Apple closer to competing smartphones, but the iPhone is still small compared to its main rivals. Samsung has increased the screen size of its flagship phone line every year, and it’s now about 45 percent larger than the one on the new iPhone.

The new iPhone is lighter than Samsung’s new Galaxy S III. Schiller said the screen is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter because of new technology that eliminates a separate touch-sensing layer in the screen. The new phone is made entirely of glass and aluminium.

The iPhone 5 will also come with the capability to connect to the fastest new wireless data networks, both in the U.S. and overseas. That’s another feature that was widely expected.

One big change: The new iPhone is getting a new connector to attach to computers and chargers. It had been using the same one as the iPod. Schiller said the old connector has "served us well for nearly a decade, but so much has changed."