Apple Doubles Down with Two New iPhones

by Matt Klassen on September 11, 2013

One the much anticipated ‘budget’ downgrade of the iPhone line-up, the other the similarly anticipated upgrade of the entire franchise, Apple unveiled two new members of the iPhone family at its always overhyped annual release event held yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino.

Dubbed the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S respectively, the former is the long awaited ‘budget iPhone,’ a step down in price (and performance) from its bigger brothers, created specifically for burgeoning global markets where the standard iPhone is simply unattainable, while the latter is the newly upgraded fully packed version of the nation’s most popular smartphone, looking similar to its iPhone 5 predecessor but featuring a revamped interior that, at first blush, rockets the handset to the front of the smartphone class.

But increased performance and revamped budget option aside, I’m finding myself less and less enamoured by Apple’s annual event, the hype about what the Cupertino tech giant has released replaced by the nagging sense that once again this year many of us are walking away disappointed.

Before we harp on Apple for what it didn’t deliver at this year’s iPhone release event, let’s talk about what it did do, and there is a lot. First off, I have to say the iPhone 5C is a welcome addition to the iPhone family, but as with almost every Apple product release, it’s about two years too late. But give the company credit, it finally realized its standard iPhone had no chance competing with budget Android products in the rest of the global markets, and made the changes necessary. Not revolutionary to be sure, but impressive nonetheless.

While I have yet to get the full run down of the iPhone 5C specs, what Apple highlighted in its introduction is the price ($99 on contract) and a few of the key features: namely the phone’s “unapologetic” plastic back, a 3X video zoom in camera app, improved front-facing HD camera technology and a BSI sensor, as well as 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band WiFi, and, in order to be the global iPhone we’ve been waiting for, “more LTE bands for world coverage.”

For its part, the iPhone 5S is exactly what I would have expected in a successor to the company’s popular iPhone 5. It sports the same exterior, save the fact its now available gold, space gray, or white aluminum, but the real changes are in what’s under the hood, so to speak.

The iPhone 5S will be the first mobile phone on the market to sport a 64-bit chip, meaning advanced graphics on the phone’s plethora of apps. Thankfully though, it will be backwards compatible with 32-bit apps (and from Apple, such compatibility is never a given). The company also boasted that the 5S’ A7 processor will power the device with 56 times the performance of the original iPhone, although little was said how this actually compares to its most recent predecessor.

Further, as CNET reports, “On the gaming front, the iPhone 5S features OpenGP ES 3.0., which has the potential to make this phone the technically best performing in the smartphone world.”

The phone will also incorporate fingerprint security measures and other intriguing doodads that, in my mind, don’t put the iPhone 5S out in front of the competition, but allow it to finally catch up to several of its Android competitors.

In the end, though, there’s much we didn’t see at this year’s event: No mention of the company’s rumoured iWatch, no mention of mobile payment, no mention of many of the technologies we’ve already seen for months on Samsung’s Galaxy line-up, and while performance in the iPhone 5S has been beefed up, such advances only serve to allow the iPhone to catch its competitors, not exceed what they’ve already done.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if Apple can impress the way it used too, for the simple fact that the smartphone form factor has been set, the parameters of the mobile genre defined, leaving Apple (the only company that really hypes its release events to this degree) to now perpetually disappoint, despite the fact it has actually delivered a decent upgrade in the iPhone 5S.

The phones will be available for purchase on September 20th. The 16GB iPhone 5C will be released for $99 with a two-year contract while the 32GB model will cost $199. The iPhone 5S are priced at $199, $299 or $399 for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB respectively.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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