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The device’s battery life is rated for up to eight hours of talk time over 3G networks or browsing the Web. Over LTE, it is rated for up to eight hours of Web surfing, and over Wi-Fi it should get up to 10 hours of time on the Web.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the hardware and software engineering that has gone into this product is the most challenging our team has ever taken on,” Schiller said.

The device will also come loaded with iOS 6, which includes Apple’s own Maps app, rather than Google’s, which had been built in previously (see “Apple Charts a New Course on Mobile Maps”). It also sports updates to Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, enabling users to make restaurant reservations and post to Facebook, and a gift-card- and coupon-storing app called Passbook.

During a short test run, the device felt sleek and not much larger than the iPhone 4S. It seemed to stream video and load websites quickly over Verizon’s LTE network. It was also fun to navigate around San Francisco with the Maps app, which includes the ability to see 3-D “flyover” views of several landmarks.

A number of smaller improvements to the device include an additional microphone on the iPhone’s backside, and improved built-in speakers. Apple also changed the dock connector, which was first rolled out with the iPod in 2003, making it smaller, reversible, and sturdier.

The event, which featured a performance by the rock band Foo Fighters, was a platform to introduce changes to Apple’s iPod lineup, too. This includes a redesigned iPod Nano that looks kind of like a small iPhone, and an updated iPod Touch. These devices, along with the iPhone, will come with a pair of Apple’s rejiggered earbuds, which are meant to fit more comfortably.

If the company’s performance so far is any indication, the changes—though clearly incremental—will help keep Apple’s juggernaut moving swiftly along into this holiday season. As is the norm with Apple events, Cook also offered a variety of Apple statistics, one of which was that last quarter the company sold its 400 millionth iOS device, which includes the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

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Credit: AP | Eric Risberg

Tagged: Communications, Web, iPhone, iPhone 5

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