(By Mani) Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), led by CEO Tim Cook, churned out its same old formula of improved specifications at the same price point coupled with best in class user interface and experience when it launched its much-anticipated iPhone 5 yesterday.
Apple delivered as expected with the iPhone 5, a thinner and lighter device with a larger 4" screen, improved battery, enhanced camera, and 4G LTE. In addition, it features a faster A6 processor that delivers up to twice the CPU and graphics performance of iPhone 4S and features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for a wireless experience up to 150 Mbps.
Meanwhile, the 8 megapixel iSight camera has a new panorama feature which captures panoramic images of up to 28 megapixels by simply moving the camera across a scene in one smooth motion.
New video features include improved stabilization, video face detection for up to 10 faces and the ability to take still photos while recording the video. A new FaceTime HD front facing camera makes FaceTime calls incredibly clearly and can also be used for self portraits and recording 720p HD video.
"The hardware is good, but there wasn't anything particularly surprising or out of line with competition or expectations," Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron wrote in a note to clients.
However, Apple not only improves its phone but also the ecosystem, which is key to the success of its devices as customers get sticky to the Apple mania.
The iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6, the world's most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new user features including an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view; Facebook integration; Passbook organization; and even more Siri features and languages.
As expected, FaceTime's enabled over cellular and apps (iWorks, iMovie...) have been updated to use the improved camera/screen. Apple's already best-in-class and the improvements should keep users engaged.
Apple also announced the new iTunes for Mac and PC that would come in October and will feature a simpler and cleaner interface. With iCloud, all of the iTunes purchases are in the cloud and can be accessed from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC or Apple TV.
The iTunes Store is the world's most popular online music, app, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 26 million songs, over 700,000 apps, over 190,000 TV episodes and over 45,000 films.
"The software/eco-system improvements are strong and should keep iPhones as the go-to smartphones for consumers," Kidron said.
iPhone 5 comes in either white & silver or black & slate and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199/$299/399 for the 16/32/64GB models under the networks of AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S)
"Pre-orders start on Sept. 14th with availability Sept. 21st, which we believe leaves room for 6M-7M iPhone 5's to ship in Sept. We're comfortable with our estimates (25M/47M iPhones in Sept./Dec.) and see some room for upside in December," the analyst added.