Announcing that it will ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month, Apple took the covers of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, a first where Apple revealed two new devices at the same time.
It also announced the availability of iOS7, the completely new and refreshed OS for iOS devices. iOS 7 will have over 200 new features like Control Center, a refreshed Notification Center, better multitasking, and be available for the iPhone 4 and higher, the iPad 2 and higher and the iPod Touch 5th generation from September 18.
New iOS devices will also get free access to iWork, which has Keynote, Pages and Numbers, and also iMovies and iPhotos as Apple goes about making the devices about content creation and not just content consumption.
Some of the new features of iOS7 apart from the refreshed user interface are new voices for Siri, new ringtones and system alert sounds. There is also a new share sheet that makes it easier to share stuff on Twitter or email and AirDrop that lets you share directly to people nearby over “P2P Wi-Fi.”
iTunes Radio can create a new station based on artist, genre or song but that functionality will probably not be available in India.
Apple has also announced that it will stop selling the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4, while the 4S will continue.
The new ‘cheaper’ iPhone will come in green, white, blue, pink and yellow. The back and the sides are made of a single part. The phone is made out of polycarbonate similar to what Samsung and Nokia have been using already. The iPhone 5c will be steel-reinforced inside, which also serves as an antenna. It has a 4-inch Retina display with a integrated touch layer. The battery will be slightly larger than it was on the iPhone 5. It will have the same A6 processor and also an 8-megapixel rear camera from the iPhone 5. It gets a new FaceTime HD camera on the front with larger pixels, and backside illumination. The wallpapers that come with the phone will match the case.
Apple has also created custom cases with a soft-fell silicon rubber, that it will sell for $29.
The iPhone 5c is not really cheap and will be sold at $549 for the 16GB unlocked in the US. The 32GB version will cost $649. Taking into consideration the dollar value and taxes, the iPhone 5c will cost almost Rs 38,000 at launch in India.
The iPhone 5, which will be discontinued, gets a refresh in the form of the iPhone 5s. It will come in three colors – silver, gold, and a space gray. It is made up of high-grade aluminum with chamfered edges.
New Chips: By far the biggest upgrade to the phone is the brand new A7 chip, which is the first 64 bit chip on a smartphone. That is close to what desktops were coming with hardly two years back. The A7 is up to 2x as fast as the previous generation of CPUs, and handles graphics up to 2X faster. The iPhone 5s will be able to run both 32 bit and 64 bit apps.
It also comes with a new “motion co-processor” chip – M7- for real-time processing of accelerometer, gyro, and compass data. It can tell apps if you’re stationary, walking, driving, etc. Developers will be able to access it to develop various apps especially fitness apps.
The iPhone 5c also comes with support for OpenGL ES 3.0 which we saw Google showcase in the New Nexus 7 a couple of months back. Developers will be able to use this to create more realistic games.
The battery life has gotten a slight bump up on the previous iPhone.
Camera: Though the megapixel count remains at 8, Apple has introduced a new, five-element Apple-designed lens with an F2.2 aperture which will have a 15% larger active sensor area, which means the camera will be able to capture more light resulting in better pictures..
There is also a new true tone flash which has two LEDs. One is cool and white and the other is warm and amber. The camera will also have auto image stabilization and a new burst mode which can click 10 frames per second. The new camera can capture 120 frames-per-second slow motion video at 720 p resolution. It will also be able to capture panoramas at 28 megapixels.
Security: The fingerprint scanner was the most leaked about feature of the iPhone 5s and Apple is calling it Touch ID. The Touch ID Sensor is 170 microns thin, senses 500 ppi and can scan your sub-epidermal skin layers. It can read fingerprints in any orientation. It is built into the home button and is made out of sapphire so it won’t scratch. Apart from being able to unlock a phone, fingerprints can also be used to authenticate iTunes for buying apps. It can handle multiple fingerprints too. All the fingerprint data will be encrypted and locked in the A7 chip. It cannot be accessed by the software, and is not stored on Apple’s servers and never backed up to iCloud. Touch ID uses technology Apple acquired last year when it bought security company AuthenTec for $356 million.
The iPhone 5s will cost $649, $749 and $849 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions respectively. You can expect the iPhone 5s to start at around Rs 48,000 when it is launched in India.
Availability of iPhone 5c and 5s
The new iPhones will go on pre-order in a select few countries like the US, Australia, Canada and China on September 13 and will be available from September 20.
It will be coming to 100 countries by December, which should surely include India.