Will the iPhone 5 Live Up to the Hype?

Apple released the latest model of its popular smartphone.

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Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5 at a press conference Wednesday in London, announcing no major surprises but several key updates to the previous model. Enhancements include new features for Siri, the intelligent personal assistant built into the phone, as well as a sleeker design.

Siri, first introduced on the iPhone 4S in 2011, has widened her entertainment knowledge with more information on sports scores and movie options. Users will also be able to use Siri to post status updates to Facebook, launch applications on their phone, and find nearby restaurants with open reservations. Response to the initial launch of Siri were mixed, with some users frustrated with the lack of accuracy in the suggestions given by the digital personal assistant.

[See Photos as Apple Premieres the New iPhone 5.]

The iPhone 5 is now the thinnest smartphone in the world, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. It also has a four-inch screen, a half-inch larger than all previous models. The phone also comes with enhanced battery life, enabling eight hours of talking time, 10 hours of video, and 40 hours of music playback. The phone's camera and applications like the Safari Internet browser and Maps have also received updates. The new operating system, iOS 6, has over 200 new features in all.

Available in stores on September 21, Apple fans can pre-order their new iPhone starting September 14. The 16GB model will cost $199 and the most expensive 64GB will cost $399.

Apple, widely known for its innovation in computers, iPod MP3 players, and iPad tablets, revolutionized the cell phone industry with the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007. It popularized the smartphone, and turned the cell phone into a device that not only makes phone calls, but also allows users to send text messages, listen to music, watch video, browse the Internet, play games, and download applications.

[See the Top 10 Smartphone Apps for the 2012 Campaign.]

The company easily dominated the touchscreen smartphone market when the iPhone was first introduced, but the Apple product now faces stiff competition from devices made by other companies. Google's Android operating system is now on Samsung and Motorola devices, and Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion hasn't dropped out of the picture. The iPhone, once the must-have device, now has to justify it's hefty price tag in a more diverse smartphone market.

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