Today Apple held an event to talk about how great iOS 7 is and to introduce new iPhones. We now know that the 5s is real and has some incredible new technology built into it, and we know that the 5c is real and it really is made of (steel reinforced) plastic. The rest of this post will talk about the specs and availability of the new phones, and the other new thing from Apple today: a new precedent.
First things first. Let’s talk about the most technologically advanced part of todays announcement: the iPhone 5s. On the surface there are a couple of things different about the iPhone 5s when compared the the 5. First is that there is a new color in town, and yes, it’s gold. It looks an awful lot like the color of the champagne colored 1992 Toyota Corolla my mom had before I totaled it (a story that involves a horse – I’ll tell you about it sometime) but Apple is calling it “gold”. All I know is that a lot of older women are going to be really happy with this color option. It will go nicely with their new “Silver Coast Metallic” (pronounced “old people gold”) colored Cadillac SRX. Whatever. There’s one other change in the color lineup for the 5s vs the 5 and that’s the black option, once called “black and slate” is now listed as “Space Gray” which looks very similar, but lighter. And then there’s the white/silver option.
Now comes the other major change in the look of the phone, the Home button. It’s not just a button anymore, it’s a Fort Knox style fingerprint sensor that you can use to do anything from unlock your phone to authorize purchases from iTunes or the App Store. The print can be read at any angle, and is never stored anywhere but on your phone, so it’s totally secure.
The rest of the major differences between the iPhone 5 and 5s are internal. There is a new A7 chip powering the handset, and a completely new addition in the form of the M7 chip which processes all readings from the accelerometer, compass, gyroscope so that you have optimized performance, both in terms of speed and accuracy but also battery. The M7 knows what state your iPhone is in at all times, so if you are in your car your phone won’t ask to join WiFi networks as you pass by them. It can also tell if your phone has been motionless for a while (like at night) and will lower the amount of network pings which will improve your battery life. Unless you’re like me and charge your phone at night. Then it doesn’t matter. But still, pretty freakin’ cool. Other improvements include a better camera, which I won’t go into because it’s better and Apple never likes to talk about megapixels which is the only way normal people, including myself, know how to compare digital cameras, as well as “up to” 13 LTE bands for better wireless coverage and connectivity. The last big feature of the 5s is iOS 7, but I’ll talk more about that at a later time. It’s awesome and if your phone can handle it you should upgrade when it comes to the public.
We won’t spend a ton of time talking about the features of the 5c, because there really aren’t any other than the steel reinforced plastic housing, which looks pretty great I’m not going to lie. To me the most interesting thing about the 5c is that it exists at all. What does it say that Apple completely nixed the iPhone 5? The lineup is now as follows:
4S = $0
5c = $99
5s = $199, $299, $399
The thing that I don’t get is why have the 5c at all? Since the announcement of the iPhone 3GS, Apple has followed a simple and straight-forward model on how they price and sell their phones. The 3GS came out and the 3G dropped down from $199 to $99 on contract. The same happened when the iPhone 4 came out, and the 4S, and the iPhone 5. But now Apple is turning that model on it’s ear with the introduction of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, the elimination of the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 4S sticking around. The only answer that I can come up with is that the manufacturing process and cost of building the iPhone 5 was too high for Apple to continue to make them and sell them for $99. Nothing else makes sense. If you look at the specs of the 5c it’s just an iPhone 5 with a plastic back and no chamfered edges. Don’t get me wrong, I like the colors and I actually kind of like the idea of having a plastic iPhone again (not worried about scratches as much when it’s plastic), but I won’t ever go for the iPhone 5c or any of it’s successor’s because it’s older technology and I need (read “want”) the newest thing out (It’s a sickness. I’m seeking counseling). Hopefully the morons who write about tech for newspapers, magazines, and websites will look at it this way too and see that Apple is making a less expensive iPhone available for people who want one and not jump all over them for not offering the iPhone 5 for $99. I can hope, can’t I?
There were some things that were not announced today, which holds with my Event Eve prediction which was that we wouldn’t see iPads today. Apple is good at this. They’ve been doing it a while. They’re going to wait until October to announce new iPads just in time for people to get worked up into a lather right before the holidays. I look forward to what they have planned for us on that front since we haven’t seen a new (full size) body design since the iPad 2.
There it is folks. Another Apple event come and gone. The iPhone 5s and 5c will be available for pre-order on 09/13/23 (Yes, that’s Friday the 13th. Fearless these people at Apple. Fearless!) and it will ship on 09/20/13.
Congrats, Trey. You can finally retire the 4s.