It's September and you know what that means! Well, those of you who are tech savvy probably know what it means — it's time to toss your now outdated iPhone to the curb. This morning Apple announced the release of iOS 7 and their new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Anyone who pays attention to the mega-electronics corporation already knew to prepare themselves for their yearly announcement and probably held out on upgrading to the 5 until the newer and better version was released into the world — well, everyone save for me...darn.
Many questions were burning leading up to the announcement, from whether the phone will come in gold and whether it can read your fingerprints with a sensor in the home button. And what exactly is the 5C? Will it be a cheaper, more affordable version of the popular iPhone? Maybe coming in a rainbow of colors like the outdated iPod minis? And when will we be able to get our hands on this? Never one to disappoint, Apple unveiled what to expect from their two new phones, as well as from the iOS 7.
Siri (which can be male or female) will be massively updated and will now be able to search Twitter and Wikipedia — so when you ask about Lady Gaga, Siri will pull up relevant Tweets. The new phones will have a plethora of new ringtones to choose from and you'll be able to group your photos by moments (which will be based on the time and location when they were taken). This way, you won't have to group your vacation photos yourself, the phone will do it automatically (not unlike iPhoto's Events feature). You'll be able to look at a full year of photos, as well as pick specific ones out of the retina display to bring it forward easily.
iOS 7, which will be released September 18 completely free, will be like "getting an all new phone that you already know how to use," says Craig Federighi. It will be available for the iPhone 4+, iPad 2+, iPad mini, and 5th-generation iPod touch. Coming with the update will be iTunes Radio, which will be "the best way to experience new music" and will allow you to create music stations. Also free will be iPhoto, iMovie, and iWork.
Turns out, the iPhone 5 will be the shortest lived iPhone seen so far, probably used as a test-run to see how people would respond to the bigger screen. The 5C, which will be available in a wide array of bright colors (green, yellow, blue, white, and pink) is made from a single piece of hard-coated polycarbonate, with a reinforced steel frame set within. "iPhone 5C is beautifully, unapologetically plastic," says Sir Jony Ive.
Apple is releasing a range of cases for the 5C (priced at $29), which will show off the color beneath. The phone, which will be powered by A6, will have a 4-inch retina display, integrated touch, full sRGB, widescreen video, 8MP iSight camera, BSI, hybrid IR filter, and a 5-element lens. The new Facetime HD camera is apparently good in low light, with 1.9-micron pixel size with audio. Pricing will be $99 for a 16GB and $199 for a 32GB, both with a two-year contract. The 5C will be available for pre-order on September 13.
According to Phil Schiller, the 5S is the most forward-thinking phone they've ever made and comes in gold, silver and "space grey". Made with high-grade aluminum with cut chamfered edges, the glitzy new 5S gives an improved battery life — 10 hours of 3G talk time, 250 hours on standby, 10 hours of LTE browsing, and 40 hours of music playback. iOS 7 is designed to take advantage of the new camera, which has a 5-element Apple designed lens with f/2.2 aperture and a 15 percent bigger active sensor area. It will automatically set white balance, exposure level and will create a dynamic local tone map.
With more than 1,000 unique variations, the camera will feature a new flash called True Tone, changing the color tone which will help avoid clashing color temperatures. Auto image stabilization is also on the way, which will help with blurry photos, as well as a burst mode which will keep the shutter open and give up to 10 frames a second as long as you hold the button down. The phone will automatically select what it thinks is the best photo and present it to you. You can also slow the images down with 120 frames per second. When recording video, you will even be able to select which parts you want in normal speed and which you want in slow motion.
The biggest game-changer for Apple will be the new security feature Touch ID. Before, you had to create a passcode, which a lot of people didn't bother doing, but now the phone will be unlocked when your finger touches the home button. The sensor is 170 microns thin, 500 PPI resolution, scans sub-epidermal skin layers and has 360-degree readability. Built into a stainless steel detection ring around the home button, you'll not only be able to unlock your phone through Touch ID, you'll be able to make purchases through iTunes via your fingerprint. Apple is promising that your fingerprint will never be stored on their servers or backed up to iCloud, which is great news.
The new 5S will cost $199 for a 16GB, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB (all with a two-year contract). Both the 5S and 5C will be available in stores on September 20 (in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK).
So, that's about it! What do you think? Will you be lining up for the new phones come September 20 or will you wait for next year's model?