Apple expected to unveil new iPhone

iPhoneTechnology giant Apple (NAS: AAPL) is expected to unveil the latest version of its best-selling iPhone.

The secretive company is hosting a "special event" which typically involves Apple (NAS: AAPL) executives unveiling new products to a specially invited audience at their California base.
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Invites have also been sent out to UK journalists to watch the launch by videolink live at a central London location.

The message included the line "it's almost here" and also featured a figure 12 with a shadow that appears to be the number 5 - seemingly confirming the company will announce the arrival of the iPhone 5.
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It comes a day after the UK's largest mobile network operator unveiled plans to launch the country's first superfast 4G products and services in time for Christmas. Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere, which was renamed as EE, will make the state-of-the-art technology available to some 20 million people in 16 cities across the UK.

The 4G network - which offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G - will be available on HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Huawei devices, as well as "one more to come", widely expected to be the Apple product. The 4G services 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 battle for domination of the mobile 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.

It is around a year since Apple (NAS: AAPL) unveiled the iPhone 4S complete with voice recognition software and an A5 chip allowing it to use much faster graphics for gameplay and to download data twice as fast.

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Apple expected to unveil new iPhone

Apple I (1976): Apple's first product was a computer for hobbyists and engineers, made in small numbers. Wozniak, left, designed it and Jobs dealt with the funding and marketing. The computer went on sale priced at $666.66

Apple II (1977): One of the first successful personal computers, the Apple II was designed as a mass-market product, retailing at $1,298, and was the first personal computer to feature colour graphics. Several upgrades for the model followed, and the product line continued until 1993. It was so popular that Jobs' fortune exceeded $100 million by the time he turned 25.

Lisa (1983): Following a visit to Xerox's research centre in Palo Alto, California, Jobs was inspired to build the first commercial computer with a graphical user interface, with icons, windows and a cursor controlled by a mouse. It was the foundation for today's computer interfaces, but the Lisa, which cost a whopping $9,995, was too expensive to be a commercial success.

Macintosh (1984): The Macintosh was heralded by an epic advert shown during the Super Bowl, directed by Ridley Scott, which referenced George Orwell's 1984. Like the Lisa, the Mac had a graphical user interface, but it was faster and at $2,495, a quarter of the price. People soon realised its potential for desktop publishing.

iMac G3 (1998): In 1985, Jobs and Apple's CEO, John Sculley clashed, leading to his and Wozniak's resignation from the company. When Jobs returned to Apple 11 years later, Apple was struggling. The radical iMac was the first step towards healing the ailing company. It was strikingly designed as a bubble of blue plastic that enclosed the monitor and computer. It went on sale priced at $1,299.

iPod (2001): In 2001, the game well and truly changed when the first iPods went on sale. The first generation of iPod cost $499 (£400), but as Apple updated and modified the winning formula, prices came down. Of course, it wasn't the first digital music player with a hard drive, but it was the first successful one. The iPod's success prepared the way for the iTunes music store and the iPhone.

iTunes (2001): Apple also introduced iTunes in 2001 - a media-playing computer programme, useful for playing and organising music and videos. The music store was added in 2003, with 200,000 songs at 99 cents, or 79p, each, giving people a convenient way to buy music legally online. iTunes is now an integral part of Apple software: the iPhone cannot be used without first 'synching' with the owner's personal iTunes.

iPhone (2007): If the iPod laid the foundations, then the touch-screen iPhone is Apple's towering glory. The world was introduced to 'apps', which made the phone a device not just for making calls but for managing money, storing photos, playing games and browsing the web. Apple is now the world's most profitable maker of phones, and the influence of the iPhone is evident in all smartphones. The current model, the iPhone 4, sells for $749 (£612), and the arrival of the iPhone 5 is eagerly anticipated.

iPad (2010): Dozens of companies, including Apple, had created tablet computers before the iPad, but none caught on. The iPad finally cracked the code, creating a whole new category of computer practically by itself. In the case of the iPad, Jobs, famed for identifying and creating the next big thing, seems to have created a market where none existed. The highest spec iPad currently retails at $699 (£659).

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