GIZMO DOWNLOAD: APPLE JACKS UP SPEED, SCREEN WITH IPHONE 5

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The Hype: Thinner, lighter, faster: In the Gadget Olympics, Apple is a perennial champ. Promising the “biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone,” the company last week launched the fifth generation of the popular device. Its 7.6-millimeter aluminum body is 18% thinner and 20% lighter than iPhone 4S, yet includes a larger display (4- vs. 3.5-inch diagonally) that can handle widescreen HD video. Also featured: built-in support for 4G Long Term Evolution wireless networks and improved batt ery life.

What It Means: Apple — which has sold 240 million smartphones to date — hopes to stay ahead of Android-based rivals with the sleek, more powerful iPhone 5. The tech giant also announced a redesigned version of iTunes for Macs and PCs. To be released next month, the soft ware is integrated with Apple’s iCloud service to sync music, movie and TV purchases across iOS devices, including the Apple TV set-top, as well as computers.

Pricing and Availability: The iPhone 5 will go on sale Sept. 21 starting at $199 for the 16-Gigabyte model (with a two-year wireless contract).

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