September 12, 2012 - 21:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Apple has unveiled the iPhone 5 at an event in San Francisco, BBC News reported.
The device features a taller screen than its predecessor allowing it to display an extra row of app icons on its home screen.
The firm said it was 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. The screen measures 4in (10.2cm) which is still smaller than rival devices from Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and HTC.
The latest iPhone's performance will prove critical to Apple's fortunes. According to the firm's most recent earnings report the iPhone and related services and accessories accounted for 52% of $120bn (£74bn) total net sales over the nine months running up to July. 98 million handsets were sold over the period.
That has helped boost its share price to new heights. At the end of last week the firm was worth $637.85bn based on its share price. That was the highest such valuation to date if you do not adjust Microsoft's 1998 figure for inflation.
However, competition is intensifying. While Apple's margins may be wider, Samsung's handset sales are growing at a faster pace.
According to data from IDC the South Korean firm accounted for 43.6% of the Western European smartphone market between April and June compared to Apple's 19%.
The figures will have been skewed by the fact that Samsung offers more models and the Galaxy S3 was a newer device than the equivalent iPhone, but one industry watcher said the rivalry could intensify over coming months.
"Samsung has been very efficient pushing and promoting their devices offering the biggest commissions to sales people," Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC, told the BBC.
"The momentum they are gaining with consumers is very high and people see it as a very innovative brand - and customers are clearly looking for innovation rather than just refinements. Samsung will also be likely to make further gains by making price cuts before Christmas."