World / Asia-Pacific

IPhone 5 hits shelves in Japan

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-21 09:26

IPhone 5 hits shelves in Japan

Kae Shibata, 20, shows off her new Apple Inc's iPhone 5 after waiting for two days outside an Apple Store in Tokyo's Ginza district Sept 21, 2012. Apple Inc's iPhone 5 hit stores around the globe on Friday, with fans snapping up the device that is expected to fuel a huge holiday quarter for the consumer giant. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - The latest version of Apple Inc's landmark iPhone serial hit the Japanese market on Friday, where domestic phone carriers are set to cash in on the widely popular gadget.

The iPhone 5 is being sold in Japan by mobile phone carriers KDDI Corp. and Softbank Mobile Corp., which have been taking advantage of the chic smartphone to boost subscriptions.

The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, faster and has a larger screen and longer battery life than its predecessors, according to Apple.

The "au" mobile phone network operator and Softbank are both offering the 16-gigabyte model effectively for free under specified conditions including a two-year contract, as well as launching a high-speed data communication service using the LTE network.

The two companies are selling the 32-gigabyte model at 10,320 yen (about $132) and the 64-gigabyte model at 20,640 yen under certain conditions.

Though the new iPhone is not equipped with any surprise functions, its enhanced capabilities such as better batteries are likely to continue attracting customers, especially young people who have put in orders to touch on the product as soon as possible.

Industry analysts believe that the iPhone 5 is likely to help Apple strengthen its leading position in the Japanese smartphone market, contested by Samsung Electronics of South Korea and Sony Corporation.

The last time Apple unveiled an upgrade, the iPhone 4S, was last October.

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