Sixth-Generation iPhone Unveiled During Apple Special Event
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
For the second year in a row the iPhone rumors leading up to an announcement were nearly all correct. Apple announced its sixth-generation iPhone today — the 5S — along with a few new features of its latest mobile operating system — iOS 7.
Much of what Apple announced today may have been expected, but it was still brand new to a company who has only released one new phone every year since 2007. The iPhone 5S, which is nearly identical to the existing iPhone 5, will be available to customers in four colors: Silver, Gold, champagne and New Space Gray.
The colors don’t stop there, of course. Following literal years of rumors, Apple finally announced the iPhone 5C, the cheap plastic iPhone meant to capture emerging markets. The 5C is almost certainly bound for the world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile and, at $99 on contract, the 5C is poised to compete with the Android handsets that have already made a move on this market. As expected, the 5C is also available in a multitude of colors, including blue and red.
Apple also added a few features to iOS 7, including improved ringtones and a better, more professional Siri. The intelligent digital assistant can now search Tweets and Photos stored on the device. One surprise from the Apple Keynote; all five iWork apps for iOS will be preloaded from now on.
Though similar to the iPhone 5, the 5S separates itself like other “S” models over the years. Like the 3GS and 4S ahead of it, the 5S packs a faster, 64-bit A7 system on a chip (SoC) and a vastly improved camera with some clever new software tweaks. Apple’s Phil Schiller promises this chip is 56 times faster than previous models, the A6 and A5. The A7 is now paired with a new part, the M7 motion microprocessor, which measures the accelerometer, compass and gyroscope. One way in which the 5S differs from the 5 both in design and functionality is a little ring around the home button.
As expected, the iPhone 5S ships with a biometric sensor — Touch ID — which can read an owner’s fingerprint. With this new technology, a fingerprint becomes the only password a user needs.
Users can also use Touch ID to authenticate App Store or iTunes purchases. This fingerprint is only stored on the A7 to protect privacy and is not stored in iCloud, hopefully assuaging customers who are concerned about their privacy.
While iOS 7 brings several camera improvements, the iPhone 5S camera will supplement this with larger pixels. The 5S also packs in a dual tone LED flash that can create the best flash for any lighting situation. Looking to keep a hold on accessories, Apple will give customers an option to buy a leather case for their new phone.
As a cheaper version of the iPhone proper, the iPhone 5C is essentially an iPhone 5 with a better camera, better battery and vibrant colors.
In the promo video, Jony Ive described the new colorful model: “iPhone 5C is beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”
This means the 5C also receives the 5’s four-inch Retina display and A6 chip. This new colored phone will be available in Blue, White, Pink, Yellow, and Green. The 5C is expected to be a huge hit around the world in countries without the same phone subsidies common in the United States and will work on more LTE bands. Market analysts, however, believe the 5C could also be a huge hit Stateside as a budget-friendly option. This, combined with T-Mobile’s cheap plans, could lure away some AT&T and Verizon customers, said some analysts.
Apple will also be releasing its own customized cases for the new iPhone 5C in a wide variety of shapes and colors.
The iPhone 5S will be available in the United States (and other countries) on September 20. Apple will begin taking pre-orders on Friday the 13th. The 5S starts at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32 GB, $399 for 64 GB and $499 for 128 GB. The iPhone 5C will be available September 20 at $99 for 16GB and $199 for 32 GB. So far there is no word on off-contract prices.