Apple on Tuesday unveiled two new iPhones: the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5C. Both iPhones will be available in the United States, Japan and China and other countries on Sept. 20.
“iPhone 5 was instantly the most-loved iPhone ever, and it had the most successful first year of any iPhone we’ve ever done,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
“The business has become so large that this year we’re going to replace the iPhone 5…and we’re gonna replace it with not one, but two new designs.” These include the powerful iPhone 5s and the colorful iPhone 5c.
Details of the two models, the 5S and the 5C, had been telegraphed ahead of time in several media reports, leaving the launch devoid of major surprises.
The 5C will be available in five colors – white, pink, yellow, blue and green – and boasts many of the same features as the iPhone 5.
It includes Apple’s older, however powerful, A6 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, 4-inch Retina display, and a higher battery capacity than prior iPhones.
The iPhone 5c is made of a hard-coated polycarbonate, with a steel-reinforced structure for incredible rigidity—doing double duty as an antenna.
The new iPhone features a front-facing FaceTime HD camera capable of taking sharper pictures, and will sell for less than the iPhone 5 originally did: $99 (16 GB) or $199 (32 GB) with a two-year contract.
Apple’s listing the unlocked pricing for the iPhone 5C on its website as $550 (16 GB) and $650 (32 GB). Colorized custom cases will sell for $29, and the cases have holes in the back, allowing you to create a two-tone look if you prefer.
The higher-end iPhone 5S will come in gold, silver and grey and has a 64-bit A7 chip the company claims will make it work twice as fast as the iPhone 5.
Virtually it has the same shape as the iPhone 5, at 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches, and it weighs 3.95 ounces.
The iPhone 5S also includes something Apple calls an M7 motion co-processor, which keeps tabs on the device’s accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. Apple says this will enable new types of health and fitness apps, like a new Nike+ Move app that keeps track of how active you are.
The iPhone 5s also features an improved camera, with a smart “True Tone” flash that can sense the coloring of your subject and choose a flash color to match it, as well as slow motion and burst photography modes.
The iPhone 5s also comes with a nifty new security feature: a fingerprint scanner built right into the Home button.
The phone’s main button is made of a sapphire crystal on the outside, with a steel detection ring and the fingerprint sensor underneath. An iPhone owner can simply touch the button to bypass the phone’s lock screen. The fingerprint scanner can also be used to buy apps.
“We have so much of our personal data on these devices, and they are with us almost every place we go, so we have to protect them,” said Apple vice-president Phil Schiller.
The iPhone 5S will go on sale Sept. 20 in nine countries: the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. It will be priced in line with prior models: $199 for 16 GB, $299 for 32 GB or $399 for 64 GB — all with two-year cellular contracts.
Both the iPhone 5S and 5C will ship with iOS 7, which has a flatter, more modern look than previous versions, and adds major new features.
The digital assistant Siri is “massively improved” and now draws information from Twitter and Wikipedia, among other things, and comes in new male and female voices.
In addition now users can swipe up to reveal a quick-settings menu called Command Center, and send photos directly to other iOS devices and Macs using a feature called AirDrop.
“iOS 7 is completely redesigned with an entirely new user interface and over 200 new features, so it’s like getting a brand new device, but one that will still be instantly familiar to our users,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering.
Apple said iOS 7 would be available for free starting Sept. 18 for existing iPhone 4 (and up), iPad 2 (and up), iPad Mini and fifth-generation iPod Touch users.