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Apple eyes new iPhone era with 5G-enabled iPhone 12 launch

Apple Inc. debuted four new 5G-capable iPhones that come equipped with speedier processors and revamped cameras, along with an updated HomePod smart speaker at its Oct. 13 press event that largely met analysts' expectations.

At its second fall hardware event of the year, Apple introduced the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models that include 5G connectivity and are powered by a new, faster A14 bionic chip.

When fully implemented, 5G promises to offer download speeds several times faster than LTE wireless networks and significantly lower latency, or the amount of time between data leaving a source and arriving at its desired destination.

The iPhone 12, starting at $799, includes Super Retina XDR Display — a more-advanced version of OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, technology — and is also supported with a Ceramic Shield front cover to improve the device's durability. The iPhone 12 features a dual-camera system that includes wide and ultra-wide lenses.

The iPhone 12 mini, meanwhile, starts at $699 and has a 5.4-inch display. Though smaller in size, the device includes the same features as its 6.1-inch iPhone 12 counterpart, Apple said.

The iPhone 12 is available for preorder Oct. 16, with availability beginning Oct. 23. The iPhone 12 mini, meanwhile, is available for preorder starting Nov. 6 and in stores by Nov. 13. The devices include 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage capabilities.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max retail for $999 and $1,099, respectively, and come in two sizes: 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have a triple-camera system, which includes a wide camera and ultrawide camera, as well as a telephoto camera that allows for more advanced zooming capabilities.

The devices also come with a LiDAR scanner designed to create faster, more realistic augmented-experiences. It also improves the quality of low-light photos.

The iPhone 12 Pro will be available for preorder Oct. 16 and available Oct. 23, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for preorder Nov. 6 and in stores beginning Nov. 13. Both devices include 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacities and are available in graphite, silver, gold and pacific blue colors.

In terms of 5G connectivity, the iPhone 12 lineup supports millimeter-wave, or high-frequency spectrum, which can carry massive amounts of data at high speeds, but its shorter wavelengths mean it has trouble traveling long distances and penetrating certain surfaces. By comparison, low-band spectrum can travel long distances and penetrate walls but has limited bandwidth.

"This marks the start of a new era for iPhone," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event.

Apple also brought on Verizon Communications Inc. Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg to announce that Apple's new iPhones will support Verizon's own millimeter-wave spectrum.

Meanwhile, starting at $99, the Siri-powered HomePod mini is powered by Apple's S5 chip, which is designed to support a more immersive audio experience. The product also includes revamped privacy features, including stronger encryption for users' interactions with the device.

HomePod mini is available for order Nov. 6 and starts shipping the week of Nov. 16.

Apple shares closed Oct. 13 trading down 2.65%, at $121.10 a share.

The Apple event comes one month after the company released its latest smartwatch with a new blood oxygen level detection capability and updates to its iPad product line.