By Savannah McClelland
There has been a great deal of speculation ever since Apple announced the press event it would be holding today; the event included both items that industry insiders and interested observers have been discussing for months as well as new developments within Apple and its products that are largely unanticipated.
Perhaps the largest announcements are those of the iPhone 5S and 5C, which were both given details at the event today. Some aspects of the two products have been known for some time, with tech pros hinting at the possibility of Apple offering a low-cost version of its flagship product, as well as a higher-end version—an improvement on the iPhone 5. The 5S has a plethora of notable features; thanks to a new processor, the A7, the new phone will be able to run 64-bit apps—meaning that, among other things, the architecture of native apps such as email, calendar and iPod, are rebuilt. Thanks to structural changes that pack 1 billion transistors onto a 102 mm chip, Apple says that the new 5S will run five times faster than the 5. In addition, the 5S has been “optimized for contextual awareness,” meaning that the phone, by consolidating data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, will know the difference between a user being in a moving vehicle, walking, running, and even when the phone is falling. The last distinction is the most interesting—the phone will be able to correct its orientation mid-fall so that it falls on the back instead of the screen. Other features include fingerprint recognition wired into the tactile home button, which will allow users to identify themselves without a passcode, providing a layer of security against theft, and new app options fitting for the 64-bit capabilities. In tandem with the release of the iPhone 5S, Epic Games is launching Infinity Blade III, which will be available for the new phone on the same day as its release—September 20th. Also, Tim Cook announced that Apple will be making its most popular apps free with the purchase of a new iOS device: iWork, Keynote, Pages, numbers, iPhoto and iMovie will all be available for free download during the process of setting up a new iOS device.
The 5C is a step in a slightly different direction from the 5S. As has been rumored for months, Apple is looking to spread its penetration to the lower-cost market, and the 5C gives them an excellent product for that purpose. The 5C has the same physical dimensions as the 5 and 5S, but it’s made of soft silicon rubber rather than anodized aluminum. The 5C comes in blue, green, yellow, pink, and white, and boasts a 4-inch retina display; in addition to its silicon-rubber body, the 5C has a steel-reinforced structure and a slightly larger battery than the standard 5. The phone supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, and has as one of its prominent features the iSight camera with 3x video zoom, along with an 8-megapixel rear camera and hybrid IR filter. The 5C will be available for the bargain price of $99 in the United States for a 16GB model, and $199 for a 32GB model—compared to regular prices for new iPhones, typically in the hundreds of dollars easily. Preorders for the 5C will start on September 13, with the sale for the 5C along with the 5S going live on September 20th.
Prior to the release of the new products, on September 18th, Apple will formally launch iOS 7, after multiple months of beta testing. The company has called the operating system overhaul “the biggest change to iOS since the original iPhone.” Among its most notable features, iOS 7 will be able to learn where and when users commute to keep them posted on traffic alerts. Another new feature is the Control Center, which provides one-swipe access to the things you use most on your phone. The new OS will also come with AirDrop for high-speed sharing.
Overall, the announcements at Apple are so involved and in-depth; it will be difficult to keep up with everything that Apple is going to be launching in the coming weeks.