Apple Upgrades the iPhone With New 5S and 5C Models
Instead of lowering the price on its older models, chief executive Tim Cook says Apple is replacing the iPhone 5 with its two new models. The iPhone 5S has a handful of new bells and whistles and the iPhone 5C comes in an array of colors. Perhaps the best part: both devices will run on Apple's new iOS 7 which will be released on September 18.
Pre-order for the new devices begins this Friday. The phones are expected to hit stores and customers' doorsteps on September. 20.
Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know about the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C:
The biggest physical difference between the new iPhone and its predecessors is the home button, which is now equipped with fingerprint reading technology that Apple calls Touch ID. The new design is the first change the home button has seen since the first iPhone was released in 2007. Apple touts Touch ID as a convenient way to keep your phone's contents secure.
Touch ID can read a user's fingerprints from any angle and will support multiple fingerprints on a single device. Instead of entering a passcode -- something that Apple says half of users don't even bother to implement -- Touch ID lets users unlock their phone simply by touching it. The feature can also be used to authenticate App Store purchases in lieu of asking users for their Apple password.
Apple says the fingerprint data is encrypted and "inside a secure enclave," segregated from other software, never uploaded to Apple's servers or backed up to the iCloud. It's strictly local to the device. In light of organizations like the NSA cracking encryption and collecting information on individuals, one could imagine that this new feature could raise a few eyebrows.
Beyond the home button, the iPhone 5S runs on a new 64-bit Apple-designed chip called A7. The 5S will still be able to run 32-bit apps and Apple says the new chip will make it run up to 40 times as fast as its predecessor.
The 5S also has a motion coprocessor that identifies users' movements, called the M7. This new chip can tell if users are walking, driving, sitting still or doing another type of physical activity. Apple has opened it up to developers, integrated it with the Nike+ Move app and the Game Center.
In terms of battery life, Apple says the 5S boasts 10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of LTE and Wi-Fi browsing and video, 40 hours of music playback and 250 hours on standby.
This version of the iPhone also comes with a new "five-elemented Apple-designed lens" with an open aperture that makes it easier to take pictures in low light. Instead of taking a single picture, the 5S takes multiples and picks the best one. It also has automatic image stabilization, a burst mode that can shoot 10 frames-per-second and slow motion 720p HD video -- up to at least 120 frames-per-second. Like other iPhones, the display measures four inches.
The iPhone 5S is available in silver, gold and "space gray." With a two-year contract the 16-GB version will cost $199, the 32-GB is $299 and the 64-GB model will sell for $399.
Like the iPhone 5, the 5C has a 4-inch display, A6 processor and 8-megapixel rear camera. The 5C's battery is slightly larger and comes with a new front-facing HD camera for FaceTime. Apple says the 5C can download content up to 100 Mbps.
The 5C retails for $99 for 16-GB of storage or $199 for 32-GB.
For protection, Apple unveiled custom cases for the 5S and 5C made of silicon rubber. The cases are colorful, and for the 5C, they have circular cutouts to create a two-tone effect. Cases for the 5S and 5C cost $39 and $29, respectively, Apple said.
Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.