for our list of August’s hottest selling smartphones to see how the iPhone fared against the competition, or
for our top 10 list of best smartphones in 2013 (so far).**
Acknowledging its deep-rooted dedication to music, Apple today held a town hall-type presentation at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., that started with a recap of this year’s iTunes Festival and concluded with a live performance by Elvis Costello. In between, Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, introduced the company’s new flagship iPhone 5s and the less expensive iPhone 5c.
The iPhone 5s, which Apple describes as “the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world” and Schiller called “a new gold standard in the smartphone space,” features an all new A7 chip, which makes it the first smartphone with 64-bit desktop-class architecture. The 64-bit technology is up to two times as fast as previous CPUs and also handles graphics up to twice as fast, making it capable of delivering visual effects previously only possible on Macs, PCs and gaming consoles.
The phone also comes with the new iOS 7, which Apple engineered to maximize the performance of the A7 chip. In addition to access to the App Store, the phone features seamless developer transition, Xcode support and full backwards compatibility, running 32-bit and 64-bit apps.
The iPhone 5s includes a new M7 motion coprocessor that continuously measures motion data, even when the device is asleep, and saves battery life for a pedometer or other fitness apps. Developers can also access new CoreMotion APIs with contextual awareness to create a new generation of health and fitness apps. Apple has already worked with Nike to develop an app that keeps track of the user’s strides and movements throughout the day.
Perhaps the most buzzed about new feature of the 5S is Touch ID, a security feature that uses the phone owner’s fingerprint to lock and unlock the device instead of the traditional PIN. This new feature had been anticipated since Apple bought sensor technology developer AuthenTec Inc. last year. Touch ID reads the fingerprint at a detailed level, scanning sub-epidermal skin layers. The Touch ID sensor, which is built into the home button and is only activated when needed to preserve battery life, can also be used to make iTunes, App Store or iBooks purchases without entering a passcode. All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored on the Secure Enclave on the phone’s A7 chip. It is never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud.
The all-new 8-megapixel iSight camera on the iPhone 5s features a larger f/2.2 aperture and a 15 percent larger active sensor area with 1.5 micron pixels for better sensitivity and low-light performance. The True Tone flash uses white and amber LEDs to make color adjustments based on the light in the room. A new Burst Mode can take up to 10 frames of photos per second, while Slo Mo can shoot HD video at 120 frames per second. The phone also features a new FaceTime HD camera and audio-only FaceTime calls.
The iPhone 5s has support for up to 13 LTE wireless bands and offers download speeds of up to 100Mbps. According to Apple, the phone can provide up to 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of Web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks and up to eight hours on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback.
One thing you can’t get on the iPhone 5s is a black case. The new phone is available in one of three metallic finishes gold, silver and space gray. Premium leather cases are available in six colors beige, black, blue, brown yellow and red.
For those who’d like more flash for less cash, Apple has created the iPhone 5C.
“The 5c is beautifully, unapologetically plastic,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design. The phone comes in blue, green, pink yellow and white. Apple created custom silicone cases in six complementary colors with circular cutouts that let splashes of the phone’s color come through.
Cosmetics aside, the iPhone 5c offers many of the same attractive features as the iPhone 5s the 4-inch Retina display, the 8-megapixel iSight camera, the new FaceTime HD camera, the audio-only FaceTime calls, App Store access, support for up to 13 LTE wireless bands, download speed up to 100Mbps and the same long battery life.
The iPhone 5c also comes with iOS 7 but has an A6 chip instead of an A7.
The iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c will be available in the U.S. on Friday, Sept. 20, with the 5c available for pre-order on Friday, Sept. 13. Both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c will be available through Apple’s retail stores, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The iPhone 5s will have a suggested retail price of $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model with a two-year contract. Suggested retail prices for the iPhone 5c are $99 for the 16GB model and $199 for the 32 GB model with a two-year contract.