Apple has taken the wraps off the poorly covered iPhone 5s and 5c at a launch event at its headquarters in Cupertino, revealing much that we knew and a few little bits and pieces we didn’t. EFTM has all the details for you.
As widely expected, the 2013 iPhone will be known as the iPhone 5s and will be joined by a new lower cost sibling the iPhone 5c. Both will launch with the latest operating system from Apple – iOS 7.
The iPhone 5s and 5c completely replace the iPhone 5 in the Apple iPhone lineup. This is a break from the usual story of pushing last year’s phone down in price and keeping it in stock. At the same time, and equally puzzling, the iPhone 4S also remains on sale as part of the iPhone options list for prospective buyers.
So – what’s new and what’s to look forward to for fans and users of the iPhone?
The iPhone 5c comes in five colours – Blue, White, Green, Pink and Yellow and packs the same processor power as the current iPhone 5 – it is basically an iPhone 5 with a plastic back.
The entire back and sides of the 5c are a single seamless piece of polycarbonate plastic which according to Apple’s own hype feels great in the hand – potentially a stab and the rather cheap feeling competitor products in the market.
In Australia the iPhone 5c is available for pre-order online from September 13 and will ship to buyers and be available in Apple stores on September 20.
The flagship iPhone is a step up once again in technology and also in design. Where the iPhone 5 was available in two colours (Black/Slate and White/Silver), the new iPhone 5s comes in three colours, Black, White and Gold – or Silver, Gold and Space Grey according to Apple. Kinda glad Apple didn’t go for the rumoured “champagne” name, and with both the 5c and 5s has made the names pretty clear and simple.
Apple’s top-notch camera hardware and software has been improved in the iPhone 5s, with the megapixel count staying at 8 but improved by adding a larger f/2.2 aperture and increasing the actual size of the pixels – we’ll take their word for it and wait to see some photos side by side in comparison.
You’ll also get the advantage of a new burst-shot mode which will give you a “best shot” pic, something we’ve seen in the successful HTC One and Samsung Galaxy phones. Apple have also added better image stabilisation capabilities and the ability to record slow-motion video in 720p. Can’t wait to see those slow-motion Instagram videos.
Under the hood Apple has a new processor, the A7 which is some 40 times faster than the original iPhone and is a fair leap ahead of the A6 from the iPhone 5 (which remains in the iPhone 5c). Sitting alongside the A7 is a new chip – the M7 motion “coprocessor” – this is a new single chip that is constantly checking and monitoring your movement with the range of sensors available. This M7 will feed a whole new range of health and fitness apps which we’ve seen as the latest trend in gadgetry – the impact on battery life from tracking your steps all day is yet to be seen.
Perhaps the biggest feature of the iPhone 5s and certainly the one that will get the most attention in the coming weeks is the “Touch ID” or fingerprint scanner. Using a laser-cut sapphire crystal home button with a bunch of technology underneath it, the iPhone 5s can read and recognise your signature to make passwords a thing of the past.
First and foremost unlocking the phone will be as simple as the “touch of a button” – with no more pass-code tapping required – if you choose. Recognising your fingerprint to validate your identity, you’ll get fast access to the device, but also to app and music purchasing. Given we’ve also seen details about biometrics in the iOS 7 developer leaks in recent months, it’s likely the fingerprint ID can also be used in new apps and existing apps once updated.
Importantly, Apple have made it clear your fingerprint data is never kept in the cloud or by Apple and is encrypted on the device.
Outright here in Australia the prices aren’t exactly cheap. The iPhone 5c will start at $739 for the 16GB model, and $869 for the 32GB.
iPhone 5s starts at $869 for the 16GB model, $999 for the 32GB and $1,129 for the 64GB.
On the top of the line phones that’s an extra bit of coin over last year’s prices which were $799, $899 and $999. There’s some blame to be passed on to the Aussie dollar for that, letting us all down a bit of late but it’s sure to upset some people. The 5c’s availability means there is as ever an iPhone at a lower range price, it’s possibly disappointing that it’s not dramatically cheaper and therefore likely to open up a wide new market. Don’t kid yourself, China is the target for that device, it’s been a market Apple is keen to crack in great numbers.
The iPhone 4S remains on sale at a price of $529.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.