The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, revealed two new iPhones to the Apple family the 5C and 5S. The 5C will be the colorful “budget” iPhone utilizing an assortment of colorful polycarbonate plastic unibodies, while the 5S will tout metallic grey, gold, and white. You can think of the 5C being a flashy plastic cased iPhone 5. Both phones will be available September 20th, 2013.
While the prices of the iPhone 5C are quite enticing with a 2 year contract at $99 and $199 for 16 and 32 GB version respectively. The non-contract iPhones will still have a hefty $549 (16GB) and $649 (32 GB) price tag, which makes it not as much of a bargain after all. The 5S will come in at $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), and $399 (64 GB). The price pose the question as to whether or not emerging markets like China will be ready to pay the price for Apple when there are other similar phones available for less money.
The new iPhone 5S will utilize a brand new Apple A7 processor. Apple claims 2x the processing capability of the A7, which will be the first 64-bit mobile phone on the market. However, leaked benchmarks by Clayton Morris seem to suggest only a 31% gain in real life benchmarks, which is more realistic. The switch to 64 -bit so soon for the mobile market does seem strange as current software would need to be recompiled and the available RAM has not exceeded the 4GB limitation of 32-bit processing. Also, another disadvantage is that applications designed for 64-bit will be slightly larger and use more memory due to the nature of 64-bit applications. This move to 64-bit computing in the mobile space seems unnecessary at this point, however if and when battery performance is boosted, 64-bit will no doubt be pushed throughout the mobile market. One advantage of the 64-bit processing will be in memory addressing in servers. It’s clear that Apple wanted to be the first to sell a 64-bit phone for marketing reasons but either way the new processor will boost performance compared to the older iPhone 5.
Some other new hardware on the 5S will be slow motion video recording as well as a 10-shot burst camera mode in addition to an updated iSight camera with a larger sensor. Another interesting feature is the fingerprint unlock on the home button, which will allow for multiple users to be setup in iTunes. The 5S will also have a separate motion processor to be the workhorse for the motion control sensors in the phone. This helps the phone in two ways– reducing CPU load and in turn, helping to improve battery life as the CPU will not need to be under load in order to process the data. This provide significant battery life gains to fitness and health apps which are being updated to take advantage of the new iOS7.
Overall, those with an iPhone 5 might want to wait to upgrade from this interation, but those with older phones looking to upgrade may want to think about at least trying out the iPhone 5C or 5S when available in stores. Unfortunately for those looking to upgrade, there is speculation that Apple is looking to release the iPhone 6 in the first half of 2014.