If you’re a sports and tech fan, Wednesday is one of your nerd holidays. I was lucky enough to be on the inside in San Francisco for the unveiling of the iPhone 5, which will be available in stores Sept. 21. Prepare for Cameron Crazies-level camping out and lines outside Apple stores everywhere.
Here are the newly announced specs and what they mean for sports fans:
• Taller, 4-inch screen. While it’s not a huge design change for the iPhone, it is the first time the iPhone screen size has ever changed. It now gives a true 16:9 HD aspect ratio. A larger screen will make it that much easier to find "Kevin Ogletree" under Free Agents in your fantasy league.
• Svelte design. The latest incarnation is 18 percent thinner, 20 percent lighter and much faster (with 4G LTE). Think Miguel Cabrera showing up to spring training this year.
• New headphone design. You may now actually want to use the buds that come with the iPhone to listen to vids and music. And, of course, Bill Simmons and Matthew Berry podcasts. Cheap plug.
• Smaller dock connector. If you’re like me and you rely on your Mophie to keep a phone charge throughout a game (the tweeting, status-updating and fantasy-checking is a real drain), it’s time to purchase an external battery case with your new iPhone 5 -- the old one will no longer fit.
• Camera nerding. Leave extra gadgets at home. The iPhone 5 is the perfect switch-hitting camera for both pictures and video. Here are the stats: 40 percent faster picture-taking and built-in panorama mode perfect for taking full stadium and arena shots (giving you shots up to 28MP in size). Also, the 5 has 1080p HD video with improved stabilization, face detection and the ability to take photos while taking video. And don't forget the FaceTime HD camera for 720p video-chatting for when you want to talk trash across the country or have your friends live-draft when they can’t make it in person.
Meanwhile, iOS 6, the latest operating system, gives you lots of new features (more than 200 to be exact). Here’s the rundown on the ones most relevant to the sports lover:
• “Passbook,” the new electronic ticket platform. Forget will-call and lost tickets -- just don't forget your phone.
• "Lost mode" and updated Find My Friends. Lost your phone and your friends somewhere between the bathroom and the beer guy? Now it’s easier to find all of the above. Plus, you can immediately lock your missing device and it will show your contact number on the display screen. Find My Friends has been around for a while, but now can send alerts based on location.
• Enhancements to Siri. Now you can check sports scores and a massive database of sports trivia. “Siri, is Kwame Brown still in the NBA?” (Answer: This summer he signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.) Thanks Siri! These sports features were shown off in the conference.
• Game-day peace. This may be the best feature yet. Superstitious about taking phone calls during the game? Or out running errands and can’t watch the game live? Now you can block your cousin who always ruins the game and protect your stadium Zen from non-sports fans with a “Do Not Disturb” mode that fends off people you don’t want to speak to. Plus, you can set automatic text alerts for anyone calling. I already plan on blocking all my friends who are Patriots fans on Sundays.
• Photo stream-ability. Taking tailgate pictures or want to show off shots of your seats during a game? Now you can share select photos via Photo Stream. Anyone using iCloud or an iOS 6 device will receive your pics instantly in iPhoto.
• Improved maps. Finally, turn-by-turn navigation (via Apple's own GPS app, not Google) comes to iPhone. Get to that game on time! Also feel free to use the new flyover feature to get your best view of any stadium.
Keep checking back in over the coming days, and I’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the top ESPN apps and how they were made.