iPhone 5S adds improved camera, 64-bit processor and fingerprint sensor, while iPhone 5S targets lower price points
As expected, Apple has announced two new versions of the iPhone – the new flagship iPhone 5S, which boasts a 64 bit processor, fingerprint sensor and new iSight camera, and the cheaper iPhone 5C, which will be targeted at the mid-range.
It is the first time Apple has ever announced two smartphones at the same time and the company will retire the iPhone 5 completely, rather than discount the older model as it has done previously. The Cupertino-based company said it decided to create two new models so it could serve new customers as it seeks to increase market share ceded to Android rivals.
The iPhone 5C will be available to pre-order in the UK from 13 September, with both smartphones available in stores one week later.
iPhone 5S Power
The iPhone 5S is described by Apple as “the most forward thinking phone we’ve ever created.” It is powered by the 64-bit A7 processor, the first ever such chip included in a smartphone and promises a “huge leap forward in mobile computing performance.”
The A7 claims to offers desktop-class architecture capable of double the CPU power of the iPhone 5 and 40 times that of the original iPhone. Apple has updated is own applications to be 64-bit as well as the kernels and drivers, and has promised the tranisition to 64-bit will be easy for developers, citing the two hours needed by Infinity Blade-developer Epic Games as an example.
Also under the bonnet is a new M7 “motion co-processor” that continually measures data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, enabling new health and fitness applications.
The new eight megapixel iSight camera uses a 15 percent larger sensor to take multiple photos, of which the best is automatically selected, while a new burst mode takes 10 frames per second for action shots. A new slow-motion camera takes 120fps video, while two LED flashes and automatic imaging stabilisation allow for better shots.
The third major addition is a new touch ID fingerprint sensor called ‘Touch ID’that is built into the home button and should remove the need for pass codes to unlock the phone. The sensor is located in a stainless steel detection ring that can scan a fingerprint at 500 pixels per inch, so you don’t even need to push the button
The sensor can recognise multiple fingerprints, but these are not stored on Apple servers, easing security concerns somewhat. Other applications will not be able to use them, but the functionality is heavily built into iOS 7 and can be used to authenticate purchases on iTunes.
The 16GB variant will cost £549 without a contract, the 32GB £629 and the 64GB £709, with analysts suggesting the smartphone has met expectations.
“Clearly there’s little need for gimmicks in the flagship 5S, in a launch replete with significant spec upgrades over and beyond the usual screen improvements, Apple is certainly offering meaningful innovation here,” says Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum. “Moving to a 64-bit architecture means Apple can genuinely claim to have brought something new to the smartphone party.
“It should certainly help the company further cement its lead as a mobile gaming platform and will give the Android fraternity something to think about in a space whose significance is sometimes downplayed beyond the gaming world.”
Apple also unveiled the cheaper iPhone 5C, a cheaper smartphone that marks a new change in strategy for the company. The colours of the handset was emphasised in Apple’s presentation and it will be available in green, yellow, blue, white and red devices available from launch.
Sir Jonathan Ive claims the smartphone is “beautifully, unapologetically plastic,” with its polycarbonate casing supported by a steel reinforced structure. It has a four inch retina display, is powered by an A6 chip and boasts a better battery life than the iPhone 5.
It has an eight megapixel camera, a front-facing FaceTime HD camera and claims to support more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world. It will retail without a contract in the UK for £469 for the 16GB version or £549 for the 32GB version, not as cheap as many were expecting, but analysts believe it could do well.
“Anyone expecting Apple to come truly down market with the iPhone 5C was fooling themselves. The day that happens is the day the company signals that it has run out of headroom for expansion. It’s far from ready to concede that yet as its greater interest in Japan and China show,” says Cripps. “It does though indicate an acceptance that the consumers in the upper reaches of the smartphone mid-market are increasingly looking to distinctive devices of their own, and are not happy to accept cast offs or dumbed-down versions of former flagships.”
“Apple’s never had an offering for the mid-range smartphone market, leaving Samsung – with a phone for every budget – to clean up,” adds Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch. “The 5C could well be the trump card needed to trounce Android’s hand.”
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