“In the past, when we’ve launched a new iPhone, we lowered the cost of the old iPhone, making it more accessible to new people. But this year, we’re not going to do that.” – Tim Cook
Yes, they’re officially official! The iPhone 5S will reign as the new premier handset and the iPhone 5C will replace the iPhone 5 as a mid range offering. The iPhone 4S will remain as a “free on contract” option for frugal buyers.
The iPhone 5C is largely an iPhone 5 in a candy colored polycarb plastic shell. Inspired by phones like the Nokia Lumia, Apple is releasing the iPhone 5C in green, white, blue, pink, and yellow. Pricing will be very reasonable, coming in at $99 for a 16GB version and $199 for the 32GB model. This is a smart play by Apple, as it provides a much needed mid-range which wont be as expensive as the uni-body aluminum iPhone to produce. This should also help open up some Asian and African developing markets where consumers might not be interested in paying the Apple premium for the 5S.
The iPhone 5S will retain the aluminium shell of its predecessor, meaning in the wild it will be difficult to see whether someone is carrying the latest and greatest. In part to address that, the color options for the 5S have changed. Silver remains, but instead of Black, the 5S will come in “Space Grey”. This may also be a response to complaints that the black iPhone was easily scratched. Also, for those wanting a bit more bling, a Gold version will also be available. I would expect this to be the top seller for this generation of iPhone, as even I can be guilty of wanting other people around me to know I have a bleeding edge phone. And yes. I did just say “bling”.
While the 5S wont be visually much different than the iPhone 5, it is packing new equipment under the hood to improve the iOS experience. A new camera is on board, marking the first improvement in two generations of iPhone. The resolution remains the same at 8 megapixels, but the new sensor is larger allowing more light to hit individual photo sites. When paired with a new f2.2 aperture lens, this should improve low light capabilities. The new camera app will also be capable of shooting continuous 10 frame per second stills. A new slow-motion video mode is also included which can shoot at 120 frames per second to catch all those great sports and pet moments in delicious slow motion detail.
A new processor is on board. The Apple claims the A7 is up to twice as powerful as the A6, though details regarding actual performance are thin. Interestingly enough, the new A7 is a 64-bit chip. I can’t really understand why Apple made this jump now, as the move to 64-bit on desktops was to facilitate more than 4GB of RAM (which the iPhone does not have). This could perhaps be a preemptive move towards unifying OSX on the desktop and iOS on mobile devices? We’ll just have to wait and see…
The new chipset does feature improved graphics processing thanks to OpenGL ES 3.0. Apple showed off a preview of Infinity Blade 3 which demonstrated dynamic lighting, improved texture mapping, and larger playable areas.
For those active smartphone users, the 5S packs a new sensor co-processor dubbed the M7. It’s a small mini-brain responsible for driving and collecting all of the data from the various sensors, gyros, accelerometers, and the compass. This is a cool piece of tech, as all that info can be collected and sorted by apps without the new A7 processor turning on. This should help battery life, and open new doors for tracking and location apps with the new M7 API.
Speaking of power, Apple claims 10 hours of LTE browsing, 40 hours of music listening, and 250 hours of standby time. No word yet on whether the battery can sustain real world use through dinner time…
Lastly, for those a bit more security conscious, Touch ID was introduced, which builds a capacitive fingerprint scanner into the Home button on the 5S. Apple demo’ed the feature, which should make unlocking an iPhone near invisible to the person who owns the iPhone, just by tapping the Home Button. This should be of interest to corporate and government IT departments which have to force smartphone users into using alphanumeric passwords which can sometimes be difficult to enter on a touchscreen display.
iPhone 5s will follow in the footsteps of previous iPhones launching at $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for a 64GB version. The iOS7 update goes live September 18, and iPhone pre-orders start September 13. The phones will be available for purchase September 20 in the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and China. That last is very important for Cupertino, as this will be the first time an iPhone will include the Chinese market at launch, and offering that mid-range iPhone 5C could help open up Asian markets which haven’t warmed to Apple’s mobile offerings in the past.
Watch the keynote at Apple.com. Full Press Releases after the jump! Continue reading “Apple Officially unveils iPhone 5S & 5C. Available September 20th.”