Whether it's intentional or not, Apple's
pretty bad about keeping secrets related to new product releases, so much of what you read here will essentially boil down to recaps and confirmation of past rumors and speculation. That said, the Cupertino outfit today announced two new iPhone models, the high-end iPhone 5S made of anodized aluminum, and the more affordable iPhone 5C built from polycarbonate plastic.
Starting with the former, the iPhone 5S retains the same overall look and feel with its anodized aluminum body, diamond cut chamfered edges, and 4-inch Retina display. Rumors of a larger display
proved unfounded, though Apple did change up the color scheme a bit. The iPhone 5S comes in gold, silver, or "space gray," each of which sports a two-tone finish that you've probably already seen in leaked photos.
The most significant upgrade is the A7 processor. This is a 64-bit chip, making the iPhone 5S the first smartphone ever to rock a 64-bit foundation. Apple says the iPhone 5S offers 2X faster CPU performance than the previous generation iPhone and 2X faster graphics. In short, everything you do on the new flagship device should be quicker and smoother.
Apple upgraded the rear-facing iSight camera to 8-megapixels with a larger f/2.2 aperture and a new, larger sensor with 1.5μ pixels for improved sensitivity and low-light performance. It also boasts a two-tone flash.
The other big reveal is the new Touch ID system. Apple built a fingerprint reader into the redesigned Home button that now features a laser cut sapphire crystal with a capacitive touch sensor. All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored in the Secure Enclave in the A7 chip, not in the cloud.
Everything else is pretty standard far (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and so on). The new models will be available September 20th for $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), and $399 (64GB) with a two-year service contract.
Apple also unveiled the iPhone 5C. This is really a retooled iPhone 5, but made from polycarbonate plastic and available in several color options. It features the same 4-inch display and A6 processor, has an 8MP iSight camera, an improved FaceTime HD camera. In addition to plastic construction, there's a steel reinforced frame to keep it sturdy, though it also serves double-duty as a multiband antenna.
"iPhone 5c is everything iPhone 5 was and more, in an all-new design packed with great features," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "iPhone 5c is designed with a beautiful polycarbonate enclosure that looks and feels so solid in your hand."
The iPhone 5C will come in blue, green, pink, yellow, and while and will be available in the U.S. for $99 (16GB) and $199 (32GB) starting September 20th (pre-orders kick off September 13th). You can also order iPhone 5C cases in blue, green, pink, yellow, black, and white for $29.
Finally, Apple introduced iOS 7 with a completely redesigned user interface. It's been built to take advantage of 64-bit technologies in the iPhone 5S, including a native 64-bit kernel, libraries, and drivers, though it's also backwards compatible with 32-bit apps via Xcode support.
"iOS 7 also provides deep integration with the new Touch ID sensor and takes full advantage of the new iSight camera sensor to enable new features like automatic image stabilization, Burst Mode and Slo-Mo video with 120 fps.," Apple said. "Combined with the new Camera App in iOS 7, iPhone 5s provides up to two-times faster auto-focus, faster photo capture and better dynamic range. iOS 7 is designed to complement the gorgeous exteriors of iPhone 5c, with matching wallpapers and translucency that carry the color through the entire experience."
Apple says there are 200 new features in iOS 7. To name just a few, the Notification Center is now available from the Lock screen, there's improved multitasking that allows you to switch between apps in a more visual and intuitive way, and a new method to quickly and easily share content with nearby people called AirDrop.
iOS 7 will be available as a free software update starting on Wednesday, September 18 for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, and iPod touch (fifth generation).