In Apple’s most recent edition of its never-ending series of keynote addresses, Tim Cook presented the company’s new products in its mobile phone line, leaving us with three alternatives now out: The already well-known iPhone 4S; the revised iPhone 5 in a variant called 5S with some big improvements to its architecture; and the much-anticipated iPhone 5C. The latter had been mistakenly dubbed “the low-cost iPhone” by many—in fact, it’s an exact replica of the base model that’s been out since last year, but with a plastic casing that comes in various colors. On top of all this, we learned the release date for the iOS 7 operating system, as well as a few other juicy tidbits for Apple fans.
The new iPhone 5S: The state-of-the-art model
This phone sets the bar at the high end of the range—although you could legitimately call any model in Apple’s ecosystem “high-end.” Beyond its alluring aesthetic, coming in silver, gold, and grey, the list of the device’s flashy internal characteristics is headed up by the new 64-bit A7 processor, the first of its kind on the market. Although initially apps will run in a mode that emulates the 32-bit arquitecture, it’s expected that from now on developers will likely embrace the ARMv8 64-bit architecture as standard.
To put this into attention-grabbing marketing-speak: the capacity of the phone’s CPU will be 56 times that of the original iPhone released in 2007, and its graphic performance 40 times better. Even aside from this historic improvement, the autonomy of its architecture will be enhanced compared to the model that immediately preceded it: it will be able to handle up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 250 standby hours.
The camera is the other big attraction thanks to a new lens and substantial improvements to the focus when taking snapshots, meaning that with 8 megapixels you’ll get much better results than with a higher-resolution cam, since the iPhone itself will control the color balance, the level of exposure, and even the contrast thanks to a flash with various tonality options. The camera also is a step up with regards to video, capturing 120 frames per second at 720p.
But the truly groundbreaking feature is the new security sensor integrated into the phone’s home button, which can identify the user by his or her fingerprint. By standardizing this feature, you can use it both for automatically unlocking your device as well as autheticating all sorts of virtual purchases.
The market price in the United States will be $649 for the 16GB model, $100 more for 32GB, and up to $849 for 64GB. In Europe the price will still vary by country, although the grapevine indicates that a basic model will start at around 700 euros.
The iPhone 5C: The new version with very little reason to exist
The constant leaks led many in the media to dub this model Apple’s “low-end” phone, which is a far cry from the device that in fact was released. The new iPhone 5C, at the level of architecture, is exactly the same as the iPhone 5 that hit markets last year, with the only difference being its external appearance: instead of the finished metal exterior the new model sports a plastic shell that you can get in five different colors. Is this a move to make this the “kid-friendly” alternative of the iPhone family?
On the downside, this entails a slight increase in its size as well as its weight, coming in at 20 grams heavier than the iPhone 5. So what’s the appeal, then? Theoretically, the price. In Europe, the device itself will cost 600 euros, 100 less than its sibling. In the States you can get a basic model for $549 dollars, with each step up the ladder in terms of storage space costing an extra 100 bucks. With a two-year contract the 16GB will be available for $99, and the 32GB for $199.
iOS 7 about to land
We already knew almost everything about the new iOS device operating system, with the only detail still up in the air being its date of launch. This has now been set for the 18th of September. It will be compatible with all models starting with iPhone 4, iPad 2, and iPod Touch 5G onwards, although the availability of some of its features will depend on each device’s architecture.
The other bit of good news at the level of hardware is that iWork, Apple’s office IT and creative suite, will be free from now on and will come installed on all devices sold in the future. It can now be activated on all devices bought from September 1, 2013.