Apple Inc. has started its first major product event in years without Steve Jobs presiding. The company is expected to unveil a new iPhone.
This time, new Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook is leading the show. Jobs, who has been battling health problems, resigned from the CEO post in August and is now executive chairman. Cook has been in charge of day-to-day operations for years, but isn't as recognizable as Jobs.
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Cook, wearing a navy blue button-down shirt and jeans, opened by calling his nearly 14-year tenure at Apple "the privilege of a lifetime." He added, "I'm very excited about this new role."
Those in the audience clapped as he entered, but the reaction seemed more muted than what Jobs had recently received
Cook announced the opening of two new Apple stores last weekend in Hong Kong and Shanghai. That brings the total to 357 stores in 11 countries.
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The event was taking place in Apple's Town Hall room, where the first iPod was launched a decade ago. Cook said Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods worldwide so far, including 45 million in the 12 months through June.
The iPhone came six years later and has gained millions of fans, thanks to its slick looks, high-resolution screen and intuitive software. There were 39 million iPhones sold in the first six months of this year.
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Cook said the latest iPhone, which came out in June 2010, sold more quickly than previous models, but the iPhone remains just 5 percent of the worldwide handset market. Apple is hoping to grow that with a new model that is expected to include the company's latest mobile software, a faster processor, a better camera and improved email and Web-browsing capabilities.
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"Today will remind you of the uniqueness of this company as we announce innovations from our mobile operating system to applications to services to hardware and more importantly, the integration of all of these into a powerful yet simple and integrated experience," Cook said before unveiling details about the new products. (With Agency Inputs)