Yup, it’s official. Apple has released two variants of the iPhone 5: the 5C and the 5S.
“In the past, when we introduced a new iPhone, we lowered the price of the old iPhone. This year, we’re not going to do that. This year, we’re going to replace the iPhone 5. With not one, but two new designs,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook today.
First up the iPhone 5C. It may be budget in price, but it certainly doesn’t seem budget in looks.
If you’ve seen what Nokia’s been doing with its Lumia range over the last little while, the 5C will seem, in part at least, pretty familiar to you.
That’s because, like the Lumia range, it’s built with a polycarbonate material, although it also features slip on rubber cases — great if you’re clumsy or prone to throwing your phone at your colleagues whenever you’re in a fit of rage.
In terms of features, there’s a 4-inch retina display, a layer of integrated touch. It has an A6 CPU, a “higher-capacity” battery, 8MP camera, hybrid IR filter, with a Facetime HD camera on the front.
“It’s made with all the incredible technology of the iPhone 5. A few of you might have seen some shots on the web. And that’s cool, because everyone is really excited about this,” said Phil Schiller.
Apple chief designer Jony Ive meanwhile says that iOS 7, set for release on 18 September, “is designed to match the iPhone 5C.”
The 5C is set retail at US$99 for a 16GB and US$199 for a 32GB model — both on two-year contracts. Cases will sell for US$29 each.
To lend further credence to the fact that Apple’s manufacturing plants are leakier than a rusty sieve these days, the iPhone 5S was unveiled in the three colours we expected: Champagne, black/grey (sorry Apple, “space grey”) and white.
There’s more to this fella than just colours though. The new A7 CPU has a system on a chip, along with a new part that “works along with the A7″, called M7. Apparently it’s Motion co-processor that apps such as Nike+ will be able to take advantage of.
Apple also says it’s built the first 64-bit smartphone in the shape of the 5S.
That means the apps built specifically for it will all be 64-bit, although it will also be capable of running older 32-bit apps.
And if those numbers aren’t big enough for your taste, here’s one that should be: one-million. That’s how many transistors the 5S has.
Oddly, none of this was what all the buzz was about in the lead up to the launch.
`It’s also unlikely the average user will know what any of that means. They’re more likely to be excited about the fact that the 5S will give you a claimed 10 hours 3G talk time and 250 hours of standby. That means you might actually stand a chance of getting through a work day without having to plug your iPhone in.
When it comes to the camera, Apple hasn’t opted to go for an insanely megapixeled lens. Rather, it’s taken a leaf out of the book of HTC and others, by making the pixels bigger. This means it’s a lot easier to take good pictures.
It’s also made some effort to avoid making people look like zombies in photos taken with its phones. It’s done so by including two LED flashes: an amber one, and a white one. Combining the two apparently ensures that you always get the right skin tone.
And in news that will make professional photographers sigh into their coffee mugs, the phone has another handy camera trick. When a photo is taken, multiple photos are taken at once to ensure the best picture. The phone picks the best. Photos are analysed in real-time, and burst mode picks the best shots and displays them for you.
Video meanwhile is recorded at 720p HD.
The most persistent rumour leading up to the phone’s release however has been that it would include fingerprint security.
And, like many of the other more viable rumours, it delivered.
Apple reckons its “Touch ID” system will be popular because some people find pass codes “too cumbersome.”
The sensor is built into the sapphire “non-scratching” home button on the phone and also replaces your iTunes password. And if you’re one of those people who shares their phone, it looks like Apple’s got your back: the 5S can detect multiple fingerprints.
Alas, if you were thinking that it could be replacement to all those passwords you have to remember, Apple says it will never allow any other piece of software to use your fingerprint information.
The 5S will sell at the following prices (all on two-year contracts)
- 16GB: US$199
- 32GB: US$299
- 64GB: US$399