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The Lowdown: Apple Introduces iPhone 5S & iPhone 5C; iOS 7 on Sep 18


Apple introduced two new iPhones – iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c and made a couple of software announcements at a press briefing held in Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Here is a quick lowdown of all the announcements made by the company:

iOS sales: Apple said it will be shipping its 700 millionth iOS device next month, up from 600 million sales reported in June 2013. In comparison, Google had reported to have clocked 1 billion Android device activations earlier this month.

iOS 7 on September 18th: Apple’s next major iteration of its mobile operating system, iOS 7 will be available as a free download from September 18 and will be compatible with iPhone 4 and later versions, iPad 2 and later, iPad Mini and 5th generation iPod touch, thereby dropping support for iPhone 3GS, the original iPad and 4th Gen iPod Touch. (More on iOS 7 features here).

Free iWork Apps: Apple will also be offering its iWork apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), iPhoto and iMovie apps for free on all new iOS devices. For context, Pages, Keynote and Numbers are currently available for $9.99 apiece on the iTunes App Store while iMovie and iPhoto for iOS is available for $4.99 each.

New iPhones: In quite a different approach from its annual iPhone release cycle, Apple announced two new iPhones – iPhone 5s which will be the company’s flagship iPhone and iPhone 5c which will replace the existing iPhone 5. Prior to this year, Apple always released one new iPhone a year and lowered the prices of its predecessors. However, the company told that the business has become so big this year that they introduced two new iPhones. While iPhone 5 has been pulled, Apple noted that it will continue offering iPhone 4s to consumers.

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iPhone 5s: Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing at Apple, announced the seventh generation of iPhone –  iPhone 5s. The phone features a new 64-bit Apple A7 processor and Schiller claimed that iPhone 5s is currently the world’s first and only 64 bit smartphone. Apple has re-tooled iOS 7 and also apparently re-engineered its built-in apps to support this processor.

While XCode will offer support for 64-bit, to enable developers easily upgrade their apps to the new 64-bit architecture, Schiller noted iOS 7 will have backward compatibility i.e. iOS 7 will support both 32 bit and 64 bit apps.

iPhone 5S

iPhone 5s will also feature a motion processor M7 which continuously measures motion data from accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope even when the phone is asleep and offloads this work from A7 processor to offer improved power efficiency. (More on its implications in a separate post shortly).

It also features a new 8MP iSight camera with 5-element lens and a new True Tone flash which apparently adjusts color and intensity for over 1,000 combinations, so that photos appear more natural. The camera will come with a new burst mode which can capture 10 frames per second (FPS), analyze them in real time and automatically present the best photos to users. It also will have the ability to capture 720p video at 120 FPS and support for slow motion camera.

What’s also worth noting is that iPhone 5s supports more LTE bands including the TD-LTE 2300 MHz band, which means that the phone should work on Airtel’s 4G service and RIL’s upcoming 4G service. Note that there are currently no 4G compatible smartphones in the Indian market yet.

Other features include 4-inch retina display, support for OpenGL ES 3.0, battery life of 10 hours 3G talk time, 10 Hours LTE browsing and up to 250 hours of standby time.

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Available in Silver, Gold, and a “space gray.”, iPhone 5s will be available at $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB) and $399 (64GB) on a two-year contract. It will be up for sale from September 20 in in US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and UK among others and the company hopes to roll it to 100 countries and more than 270 carriers by December 2013, although there is no word on the India availability yet.

iPhone 5c: Apple also launched iPhone 5c as a replacement to the existing iPhone 5. The phone will sport a single, hard-coated polycarbonate body and will feature a 4-inch retina display, Apple A6 processor and a 8MP iSight camera with 5-element lens. It also features a new Facetime HD camera, Facetime audio and support for dual band WiFi (a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0.

iPhone 5C

Like iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c also supports the TD-LTE 2300 MHz band, which means that the phone should work on Airtel’s 4G service and RIL’s upcoming 4G service. Besides this, the company claims iPhone 5C will offer 10 hours of 3G talk time, up to 10 hours of browsing (WiFi & LTE), up to 10 hours of video playback and 40 hours of audio playback.

Available in five colors – blue, green, pink, yellow and white, iPhone 5C will be up for pre-order from September 13 at $99 (16GB) and $199 (32GB) on a two-year contract and will start shipping from September 20 in US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and UK among others. Like iPhone 5s, Apple hopes to launch iPhone 5c in 100 countries and across more than 270 carriers by December 2013, although there is no word on the India availability yet.

iOS 7 & XCode Gold Master Release: While this was not mentioned at the event, Apple has released the final version (gold master) of iOS 7 and Xcode to registered iOS developers on Apple developer website.

Cards App Discontinued: Apple has also discontinued its greeting card creation app Cards as of September 10, 2013. The company said that cards ordered before 1 PM Pacific time on September 10, 2013, will however be delivered, and push notifications will continue to work. Cards app was launched in October 2011, along with iOS 5 update and allowed users to create cards on the app and send them physically to their friends and family. It was however limited to the United States.

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