The iPhone 5S/5C Announcement: What You Expected, But Pretty Cool Nonetheless
By Perry Michael Simon on September 10, 2013
iPhone. Yep. Let’s get some stuff out of the way right out of the box:
Yeah, your Android/Windows Phone/BlackBerry/Symbian/Palm OS/tin cans and string could do it all a year ago/two years ago/ten years ago/in Jurassic times.
I know, Tim Cook’s no Steve Jobs/Phil Schiller/John Sculley/Steve Ballmer/Chip Kelly.
Doesn’t matter. People care about the iPhone. I do. So let’s look at what they announced, after, naturally, they got through the parts nobody cares about, like the iTunes Festival (Lady Gaga… whatever) and retail expansion (new, larger Stanford store! Wow!).
iOS 7: Everything we saw in the developer versions — notifications screen, control panel, search from home screen, improved Siri (with more Lady Gaga, in a Siri-generated Twitter search. You can say “What’s Perry Michael Simon saying on Twitter?” and Siri will respond “who cares?” No, it’ll give you my tweets. Whoop-de-damn-do), improved camera app with built-in effects and optional square aspect ratio (how Instagrammy), a new Photos app replacing the camera roll with groups of pictures by location and “moment”, iTunes Radio (Daft Punk, not Lady Gaga, is the first demo, followed by Rush — Rush?; it’s very Pandora-ish). Release: September 18th, free, for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, 5th generation iPod Touch.
iWork: Whatever. They’ve had the iCloud version in beta for a while now; I’ve used it. Not bad. But now, the apps are free for any new iOS device. Pages, Numbers, iMovie, iPhoto, and Keynote.
iPhone: As we knew, two new versions, 5S and 5C. Premium and cheaper. First, the 5C, the cheaper version that comes in colors. (Surprise: Phil Schiller said that the leaks of pictures of the phone were “cool.” That’s not Apple!) Colors: Green, white, blue, red, yellow. Polycarbonate back reinforced with steel, glass front, buttons match the back colors. Custom cases available to show off colors through seven rows of circular cutouts (five in each row, kind of like a cheese grater) and let you mix colors. 3x video zoom, improved front-facing FaceTime HD camera. LTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4 and 5 GHz, Bluetooth, iOS 7. The important news: $99 for 16GB, $199 for 32GB under contract. Cases are $29. Jony Ive calls it “beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”
5S: Okay, here’s what’s new. Yes, it comes in “champagne” (gold-ish). silver, and “space grey,” whatever that is, with aluminum back Yes, it has a new capacitive home button, no square on it, silver ring. A7 chip, and, yes, it’s the first 64-bit mobile phone, though it’ll run 32-bit apps. They say it’s up to two times faster. Open GL/ES 3.0, with a demo from Epic Games used to show how that will make gaming better on this one — a demo of Infinity Blade 3, which might draw a chuckle and groan from anyone who remembers a previous Apple iPad keynote that showed off an Infinity Blade version we never saw again after that. But this time, they say the game will be available right along with the 5S release, so take that. New additional chip: the M7, a motion co-processor, for the accelerometer, gyro, and compass, continuously measures motion data without waking up the phone for health and fitness apps. Well, that IS the big thing now, judging by all the folks who wear FuelBands and FitBits and stuff, and how much buzz there is about the iWatch. Battery life: 10 hours 3G talk, 8 hours 3G browsing, 10 hours LTE or Wi-Fi browsing, 1o hours video, 40 hours music, 250 hours standby, which is about what they claim for the iPhone 5 and which I will believe when I see it.
More: Camera: 15% larger sensor, new lens. Bigger pixels. App has automatic white balance and exposure adjustment when you open the app. “True Tone Flash.” Auto image stabilization. Takes multiple shots all at once and picks the best to show you. Burst mode at 10 fps while your finger’s on the shutter. Slow mo video at 120 fps. Demos of squirrels, jellyfish, and children.
Still more: Security, and, yes, there’s the fingerprint reader. “Touch ID.” Knew this was coming, too. It has 550 ppi resolution, scans sub-epidermal skin layers. And you can use the thumbprint to buy stuff, too, for iTunes purchases and Apple Store purchases. Of note: your fingerprint won’t be stored on Apple’s servers, just in the phone in a deeply hidden place.
5S Price: 16GB $199. 32GB $299, 64GB $399 with two-year contract. New leather cases in several mostly pastel-ish colors for $39, but you can’t see the back color through them. (The 4S remains in the lineup in its 8 GB version, free on contract).
5C pre-order date on Friday the 13th. 5C and 5S hit retail on September 20th in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, and Singapore. (No pre-ordering the 5S? You gotta be KIDDING me. I don’t do queues, and I won’t be home for that. Not fair, Apple, not fair) Closing musical guest: Elvis Costello. The end.
And there it is. You buying? Comment below or harangue me on Twitter.