Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New iPhone 5s, 5c, and iOS 7 coming in days! AND MORE!

iPhone 5c

The new iPhone 5c is finally official. After months of rumor and speculation, Apple has opted to introduce its latest smartphone today at a special event in Cupertino. CEO Tim Cook detailed the latest updates in iOS7, noting that Apple has been "hard at work completing iOS7" in time for its September 18th release, before inviting Phll Shiller on stage to unveiled the new iPhone 5c. It looks identical to the leaks and case parts we've seen recently, with a plastic back and a variety of colors.


The back and sides of the device are made from a single part, with options for green, white, blue, pink, and yellow colors. Shiller claims you "won't see seams, or part lines, or joins," thanks to the hard-coated polycarbonate. Apple has also created custom cases with a soft-feel silicon rubber that slip onto the handset. The cases, priced at $29 each, also provide an additional color option on top of the regular colors of the iPhone 5c.

Like the iPhone 5, Apple is shipping the iPhone 5c with a 4-inch Retina display, and its A6 processor. It has the same 8-megapixel rear camera, but Apple has opted for an improved FaceTime HD camera at the front that's designed for improved video calls and self portraits. The 5c also includes support for "more LTE bands that any other smartphone in the world," according to Apple, suggesting that this particular iPhone will launch broadly around the world.


In an introduction video detailing the design and engineering process for the iPhone 5c, Jony Ive says the "iPhone 5c is beautifully, unapologetically plastic." It's essentially an iPhone 5 inside a colored plastic shell with an improved front-facing camera and improved battery size that Apple is positioning at a lower cost than its new iPhone 5S. A 16GB model will be made available at $99, while a 32GB version is priced at $199. Apple will start taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5c on September 13th, and the device will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the UK on September 20th.  Off contract for US T-Mobile users is $549.  Another piece of news that comes with the iPhone 5c is that the iPhone 5 will be discontinued entirely (as well as the iPhone 4) and the iPhone 4s will be free but only in the 8GB model.

iPhone 5S

As expected, Apple's just announced the iPhone 5s, an upgrade to the iPhone 5. It runs iOS 7, and looks almost exactly like the iPhone 5 but comes in different colors: silver, a new "space gray," and gold — as was heavily rumored. The standout feature is Touch ID, which is an integrated fingerprint sensor in the new sapphire home button that scans your "sub-epidermal layers" at 500 points per inch to read your fingerprint and unlock the phone. You can also authenticate purchases, so buying apps, music, and movies in iTunes and the App Store just got a lot easier. There's a capacitive ring around the that activates the sensor, and it can read your fingerprint in any orientation. You can also have it authenticate multiple fingerprints, so you can share your phone with specific family members without having to reveal your passcode.

Importantly, fingerprints are encrypted and stored locally on the A7 chip in the phone itself — Apple says fingerprints aren't available to apps, nor are they sent to any servers or shared with iCloud.

The iPhone 5s will start at $199 for the 16GB model on a two-year contract, with 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. It'll go on sale September 20th, with online preorders set to start September 13th. Apple says the 5s will reach 100 countries and over 270 carriers by December.


As for internals, the iPhone 5s has a new A7 chip, which Apple says is the first 64-bit chip in a smartphone; iOS 7 and the built-in apps are all 64-bit optimized. That all adds up to what Apple claims is up to a 40x bump in performance and a 56x bump in graphics performance, as well as support for OpenGL ES 3.0. Apple demoed Infinity Blade 3, which looked pretty astounding.

The 5s also has a new M7 "motion co-processor," which continuously measures motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass — it's there to enable "a new generation of health and fitness apps." It works with a new CoreMotion API in iOS 7 that identifies user motion. It sounds a lot like the dedicated motion core in the new Moto X.

Biometric security has arrived on the smartphone — again. For the first time since Motorola’s Atrix 4G arrived in 2011, a major US mobile device will carry a fingerprint scanner. The iPhone 5s’s new Touch ID sensor, embedded in the home button, will allow for faster and more secure logins, Apple said today at its event in Cupertino. The scanner, which uses technology Apple acquired last year when it bought security company AuthenTec for $356 million, will ship with the new iPhone on Sept. 20. It will not ship with the iPhone 5C.

The fingerprint scanner allows users to log in more quickly, Apple said, and will help prevent unauthorized access from someone who guessed or stole the owner’s pass code or phrase. It can also be used to make purchases in iTunes. The fingerprint is stored on the device and never backed up to the cloud, Apple said.

The scanner is designed to address the fact that about half of iPhone customers don't bother setting up a passcode, Apple's Phil Schiller said on stage today.

As a part of the iPhone 5s announcement today, Apple is eager to talk about the improved camera. It's got a 5-element lens with an aperture of f/2.2 on top of a sensor with a surface area 15 percent larger than the device it replaces (though it's still 8 megapixels). Larger sensors typically mean low-light sensitivity is improved — you can take better pictures with less noise with less illumination.

But when you do need illumination, the new iPhone's "true tone" dual-LED flash — with different color temperatures on each LED — kicks into action. It's been rumored for quite some time, a possible boon for low-light photographers who dread the washed-out look and unnatural coloration that a typical flash offers.

Like the Galaxy S4, Apple's putting emphasis on the 5s' burst mode and slow-motion capabilities — the phone can take up to 10 shots per second. For slow motion, the video camera can take 720p at 120 frames per second.

The new sensor is perhaps a bigger deal: it's been two generations since the iPhone last got an upgrade in this department (though the 5 featured improved optics).

iOS 7

Apple's iOS 7 will arrive on the iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, and iPhone 4 on September 18th. The all-new OS will also head to the iPad mini, the third- and fourth-generation iPads, and fifth-generation iPod touch on the same day. In today's keynote, Tim Cook boasted that the operating system will soon be "the world's most popular operating system." A later update will add the OS to the iPad 2 and iPhone 4.

Announced back in June, iOS 7 is the first major visual overhaul of the OS since its initial introduction in 2007. It features all-new icons along with redesigned core apps, a new Notification Center, webOS-inspired multitasking, and a Control Center with settings toggles, music playback, and quick shortcuts to apps. There's also AirDrop for local file sharing over wireless, and even Apple's attempt at a Spotify and Rdio competitor in iTunes Radio.

There were a couple of small feature additions today, including a male voice for Siri for the US and select other territories. Apple also showed off a number of "remastered" ringtones, along with a brand new tones. To go with the new launch, Apple is making some of its big-name apps, including iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, absolutely free.

The big news comes along with the new iPhone 5s: iOS 7 is now 64-bit compatible. All of the included apps run in 64-bit, and Apple says developers will have a "seamless" transition to port over to 64-bit apps.


At its keynote today, Apple said that its iWork suite of apps, which it says is the best-selling group of productivity apps on iOS, are now free with the purchase of any new device.  The free download of these apps will be available the TRUE FIRST time a new device is set up. That includes Pages, Numbers, iMovie, Keynote, and iPhoto. These apps previously were featured by Apple as premium software that cost a few dollars to purchase.

"We think that iWork is a really key advantage for our customers' productivity, and iPhoto and iMovie are great for their creativity," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Almost all of our customers want these apps." In Cook's demo, the apps didn't yet seem to be updated with iOS 7's visual design.

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