Apple launches iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S – smartphones for very different people

by Doug Drinkwater

September 10 2013

In an action-packed press conference today, Apple unleashed two new iPhones – the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S – which are likely to appeal to very different audiences.

In a fast-paced event which saw demos and speeches from CEO Tim Cook, designer Jonny Ive, head of software Craig Federighi and marketing chief Phil Schiller, Apple started by announcing that iOS 7 would go live on September 18 and also detailed a new deal which sees the iWork apps, as well as iMovie, go free to all new iPhones and iPads.

But that just served to whet the appetite, with Apple quickly going onto announce the first new iPhone, the colourful and affordable iPhone 5C.

iPhone 5C: Colorful, powerful & cheap

Schiller was the one to take the wraps off the iPhone 5C and detailed that the phone will be available in five colors – green, white, blue, coral and yellow.

Apple has matched the color of the chassis with the buttons and controls on the side, while the polycarbonate wrap-around rear encompasses the whole device, all except the glass display. Even the wallpaper color can be matched to that of the phone, Apple said.

Schiller playfully detailed how the phone was both toxin and “Android-free” and broke out pricing as $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model, both when bought with a data contract. Colorful cases can be purchased with the phone for $29.

However, if the exterior has it down as a pretty device which prioritizes style over substance, Apple was quick to dispel that myth with a detailed drill-down into the specs.

As before with the original iPhone 5, the iPhone 5C has a 4-inch Retina Display (1136 x 640 resolution) and an A6 chip for “blazing-fast” performance, while the battery is slightly larger than its predecessor. There is also an improved 8MP iSight camera.

iPhone 5S: Bigger processor, camera & that fingerprint sensor

Apple quickly moved onto the iPhone 5S while Schiller confirming – as expected – that the phone will come in colors of champagne gold, black and silver.

The phone is made of “high-grade aluminium” and is more than a little bit similar to the original iPhone 5.

Looks apart though and Apple boldly claimed that the iPhone 5S is the “most forward-thinking phone anyone’s ever made" and detailed some frankly very high-end specifications.

Most notably, the smartphone offers an A7 64-bit processor – marking the first time a 64-bit processor has featured on a mobile phone.

“The PC world made the transition from 32 bit to 64 bit and it took years. Today you're going to see that Apple is going to do it on one day,” said Schiller, who was quick to point out to developers that iOS 7 and developer tools have been retooled to support the change.

There were other jaw-dropping specs. Officials confirmed that the iPhone 5S supports the Open GL/ES 3.0 standard – a boon for gamers – and comes with a M7 “motion coprocessor” chip which can delve into data to the point where developers know when you’re walking or driving.

The phone also sees the introduction of an improved camera with a 15% larger sensor, bigger aperture (f2/2) and even more pixels, while there new on-board features that automatically set white tone, exposure, adjust flash, reduce blur and even offer 120fps slow-motion footage.

The good news is that this won’t result in a fall in battery life; Schiller said that the iPhone 5S will offer 10 hours of LTE browsing, 40 hours of music and 250 hours in standby.

Saving the best for last when it came to detailing the iPhone 5S, Apple mentioned the ‘Touch ID’, the new fingerprint sensor that sits in the now-circular home screen button. Apple said that the sensor works at all 360 degree angles, scans sub-epidermal skin layers and added that it will even be able to be used for making iTunes purchases.

The iPhone 5S will be priced at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB edition and at $399 for those buying the 64GB iPhone.

Both new iPhones hit the US, Canada and Australia on September 20, with international availability to follow. iPhone 5C buyers will be able to pre-order a week earlier, on September 13.

(For iPad news, trends, apps and reviews, sign up for the free TabTimes for iPad newsletter)

Doug Drinkwater is the International Editor of TabTimes and is based in London, England.

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