Last week, Apple unveiled their new iPhones, to much hype and excitement. For the first time in history, the company announced two iPhones at once, the 5s, the successor to the 5, and the 5c, a new “budget-friendly” alternative to the historically premium iPhone.
First, let’s take a look at the 5s. In pretty much the same shell as the 5, the 5s packs a few new features, including a fingerprint sensor, a faster processor with 64-bit support, and an improved camera. The fingerprint sensor, dubbed Touch ID, lies on top of the new home button, which now omits the square printing. It promises to be a “convenient and highly secure” method of unlocking your iPhone. This isn’t a new feature by any means—the Atrix 4G by Motorola, introduced in 2011, came with the same feature, as have many business-oriented laptops. In those, however, the fingerprint scanners were often buggy, so hopefully Apple did this right.
The 5s comes with a new A7 chip, which promises to be twice as fast as the A6 in the iPhone 5. It also brings 64-bit support, a feature that’s actually a world first for once. But what does that mean to the average user? At this point, pretty much nothing. 64-bit refers to the speed at which the CPU processes data, but only at higher amounts of RAM, i.e. over 4GB, making this irrelevant for the iPhone. On the other hand, Apple has made iOS 7 native 64-bit to match the new iPhone, so when developers follow suit and create applications requiring more RAM, 64-bit could potentially come in handy.
Finally, the improved camera is a definite step up, including a better sensor, burst mode, better flash, stabilization, and a host of other features. The iPhone has always shipped with a reliable camera and the 5s should be no different.
Apple also announced an additional iPhone at the same time, the 5c, which they say is “for the colorful.” As Jony Ive, Senior VP of Design for Apple, puts it, the 5c is “beautifully, unapologetically plastic,” made of the same material they mocked Samsung for using. With an uninspired design taken straight from Nokia’s Windows Phones, the 5c is basically the 5 in a different shell, packing no new features aside from an improved graphics card. And it’s still insanely expensive for what it has.
So what do Apple’s new phones mean for the competition? As with every new iPhone launch, the Apple faithful will upgrade. For everyone else, though, Apple isn’t bringing anything new to the table: there are no significant spec bumps or revolutionary features, and iOS 7 has nothing that users of, for example, Android 4.3, will miss; it’s getting harder and harder to convert other users over to iOS. Apple appears to be going after the low-end market with the 5c, but the price is similar to that of current high-end Androids, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4. In fact, the Nexus 4, last year’s top end Android, was priced at $299, and now on firesale at $199, off-contract. The iPhone 5s, in contrast, goes for $199 on a two-year. In the end, though, it comes down to brand loyalty—no doubt Apple will sell millions of new iPhones, and that’s what matters for them.
But hey, at least Nokia has a sense of humour.
Sources: engadget.com, apple.com
Categories: Science & Tech