Apple has for the first time unveiled a cheaper smartphone, named the iPhone 5C. It has almost the same specifications as iPhone 5 which was launched as the company’s flagship device last year, but in a plastic body.
The iPhone 5C is cheaper than all iPhones launched till last year, and is said to be targeted at emerging markets like India and China.
Apple also launched its new iPhone 5S which will take over from iPhone 5 as the latest flagship device of the company. It will be available in three colours – gold, white and black.
Unlike the iPhone 5C, this device is made using aluminium and is powered by the A7 processor. The A7 chip is the only one in the world to feature the 64-bit architecture and is twice as fast as previous processors in performing tasks and rendering graphics.
The new iPhone 5S has an 8MP camera, which comes with dual-LED flash. The camera’s sensor is 15% larger than that of its predecessor and offers better low-light performance. Apple claims that this phone’s camera can take 20 photos in two seconds, features auto image stabilization and records 720p videos at 120 frames per second (which is the highest for any smartphone). 1080p videos are recorded at 30fps.
iPhone 5S also has an all-new M7 chip that tracks motion data without waking the A7 chip. However, Apple claimed the two-chip system does not affect battery life of the device, which offers 250 hours on standby and 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks.
At the launch, the company showcased the gaming prowess of the iPhone 5S, which supports OpenGL 3.0 standard. The new phone delivers more details and makes graphics more vivid. Google had recently introduced the OpenGL 3.0 standard in Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean).
At an event at Apple headquarters in California, US, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event with an introduction of its iOS 7 operating system, which will be available for downloads from September 18.
This is in contrast to Apple’s past practice of rolling out the iOS update on the day of unveiling the latest iPhone and the delay could disappoint some Apple users, as also the fact that iOS 7 updates won’t apply to many older generation devices.
“The business has become so large that this year we’re going to replace the iPhone 5, and we’re going to replace it with not one but two new designs,” company’s senior executive Phil Schiller said.
Also, Apple has not lowered the prices of its earlier generation iPhone 5 this time as against its past practice. “In the past, we’ve lowered the price of the current iPhone, making it accessible to more people. This year, we’re not going to do that,” reiterated Schiller.
Of the two devices launched tonight, this is how Schiller described the cheaper variant made of polycarbonate: “iPhone 5C is beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”
iPhone 5C will come in two variants and will have two-year contracts. It will come in five colours – green, grey, light blue, peach, and yellow.
It has a 4-inch screen and comes with Apple’s A6 processor, which power the now-discontinued iPhone 5. This new cheaper iPhone has an 8MP camera with a five-element lens, similar to the one used in iPhone 5. Connectivity options in the new handset include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi.
The 16GB variant of this smartphone will cost $99 on contract, while the 32GB version has been priced at $199. The company also announced cases in six colours for this handset, which will cost $29 a piece.
The iOS 7 which will come pre-loaded on the two new iPhones, will feature new icons and ringtones; several new Siri features (including a male voice option); redesigned search and Safari browser; new multitasking layout in a 3D look; new camera features, including Sqaure (for Instagram photos) and better segregation of images as per location, occasion and time. It will also have a new Notification Centre that can be opened even with locked screen by merely swiping down from top to bottom of the screen.
More significantly, Tim Cook announced Apple was making available free with the new iOS 7 five of its premium paid productivity software apps such as iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which are collectively known as iWork suite. The move clearly seems aimed at taking on Microsoft Windows Mobile and Android devices.
But a bad news for many existing owners of Apple’s mobile devices such as iPhones and iPad is that several older generation devices won’t get the iOS 7 update which will apply only to iPhone 4 and 5, iPad 2 and 3, iPad mini, and the 5th-gen iPod touch. This means the owners of the iPhone 3GS and iPad 1 would be left high and dry.
With Apple shipping its 700 millionth iOS device next month, it will become the most popular mobile operating system in the world. claimed Cook.
Interestingly, Apple and rival Google are neck to neck vis-a-vis app downloads. Apple’s App Store had 900,000 apps and 50 billion total downloads according to the company’s announcement made at the time of launch of iOS 7 on June 10. Google’s Android had 1 million apps and same 50 billion downloads as announced by the company while launching the Android 4.3 on July 24.