In a special media event from its Cupertino campus that contained few surprises, Apple unveiled two models of the new version of the iPhone last night – the flagship iPhone 5s and the, it has to be said, only marginally cheaper iPhone 5c. Here’s a rundown of what was announced…
The entire back and sides of the new iPhone 5c is made from a single part of coloured hard polycarbonate plastic incorporating an internal steel structure, while the front is a single flat, multitouch 4-inch Retina display glass surface.
Inside, the 5c has an Apple A6 processor with a slightly larger and more efficient battery than the iPhone 5 that precedes it. It has an 8 megapixel iSight camera with backside illumination and a five-element lens, that uses iOS7’s new Camera app with its live photo filters and 3X video zoom capability. On the front, there’s a new FaceTime HD camera.
The 5c comes in five standard colours – blue, white, pink, yellow and green – and there’s a range of six complementary-coloured silicone rubber cases available to accessorize with for $29 USD each.
iPhone 5c prices (on a typical US 2-year contract) are:
16GB: $99 USD
32GB: $199 USD
The iPhone 5c will be available to pre-order in 9 countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, & Singapore) from 13th September, and to purchase from 20th September.
In the UK, the iPhone 5c will cost £469 for the 16GB model and £549 for the 32GB model (non-contract).
Made from high-grade aluminium with diamond-cut, chamfered edges, the iPhone 5s difinitely looks the part of a flagship product. It comes in three metallic finishes: silver, gold, and a new ‘space grey’.
The 5s runs on Apple’s new proprietary A7 64-bit processor, making it the first ever 64-bit smartphone. This takes advantage of the fact that iOS7 and all its native apps have been completely re-engineered and optimised for 64-bit processing, while maintaining compatibilty with existing 32-bit apps, so the performance gains over the previous model should be significant. The A7 chip is apparently twice as fast as previous generations, with an impressive 40X increase in CPU performance over the first generation iPhone.
It runs OpenGL 3.0, enabling the iPhone 5s to run desktop level, 64-bit graphics.
The iPhone 5s contains an additional motion co-processor called M7 that handles all of the movement-based processing such as motion sensing, accelerometer, compass and gyroscope, continuously measuring the data coming from the phone’s numerous sensors without troubling the main processor, paving the way for a new generation of health and fitness apps.
So how does this impact battery life? Standby time is up to 250 hours, with 10 hours of WiFi browsing or 3G talk time. 40 hours of music and 10 hours of video claimed.
The iPhone 5s has a newly-designed, 8 megapixel camera system centering around a five-piece lens with a larger, f/2.2 aperture and a 15% larger active sensor area. White balance and exposure are set automatically, and a new ‘true tone’ flash aims to capture better skin tones when using flash. Auto image stabilization cuts down on blur when shooting with a longer exposure, and a 10 frames-per-second burst mode automatically selects and presents the best shot for you. A new 120fps HD slo-mo video camera is also now available for action shots, and panorama shots now benefit from automatic exposure adjustment as you pan the shot.
The iPhone 5s pioneers a new security technology that Apple are calling Touch ID, which centres around a fingerprint sensor on the home button that’s used in preference to the conventional four-digit passcode traditionally used to gain access to the device. A metal sensor ring around the button means you can just touch, not even fully press, the button to unlock your phone. You can teach it more than one print, so that if you sometimes use your thumb, rather than your index finger, to wake your phone, you shouldn’t run into difficulties through using the wrong finger. Under iOS7, you can also use the fingerprint sensor to authorize iTunes purchases.
You can accessorize the iPhone 5s with leather cases that are available in five colours – yellow, brown, pink, blue and black – at $39 USD each.
iPhone 5s prices (on a typical US 2-year contract) are:
16GB: $199 USD
32GB: $299 USD
64GB: $399 USD
In the UK, the iPhone 5s will cost £549 for the 16GB model, £629 for the 32GB model and £709 for the 64GB model (non-contract).
All the major UK carriers – EE (Orange and T-Mobile), Vodafone, O2 and Three – have confirmed that they will be offering the phones on a contract basis, but contract prices have not yet been announced. The 8GB version of the iPhone 4s will also continue to be available free on contract.
The iPhone 5s will be available to purchase in 9 countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, & Singapore) from 20th September.
Both the 5s and 5c will be available through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse.
The new phones will, of course, ship with the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system already installed, but iOS7 will also be available as a free download to users of existing iOS devices from September 18th. iOS7 is compatible with the iPhone 4 and upwards, iPad 2 and upwards, iPad Mini and 5th-generation iPod Touch.
From today, the iOS versions of Keynote, Pages and Numbers, Apple’s mobile presentation, word-processing and spreadsheet apps, will be free to new iOS device purchasers, along with iPhoto and iMovie for iOS, instantly turning your new device into a pretty powerful creative and productive tool for zero outlay. Nice touch!