“The iPhone 5 had the most successful first year of any iPhone Apple has ever done,” said Apple chief Tim Cook, before taking the wraps off of two new iPhone models at a press event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino – the first time that the Cupertino tech giant has attempted a dual handset release.
First announced was the highly anticipated “plastic” iPhone 5C. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said, “It’s made with all the incredible technology of the iPhone 5” but “more fun, more colorful.”
“You won’t see seams, or part lines, or joints, “ Schiller continued. “The entire back and sides are made from a single part”
The actual material used for the iPhone 5C is described as hard-coated polycarbonate, and it will be sold in five different colors: lime green, white, light blue, pink, and yellow (seemingly identical to the leaked rear housings that showed up all over the Web).
The iPhone 5C will have a 4-inch Retina display and a larger battery than iPhone 5. It also has an A6 CPU with the same 8MP camera as iPhone 5, but a new FaceTime HD camera on the front (1.9MP).
It will cost $99 for a 16GB model, and $199 for a 32GB model (on a two year contract).
In a video presentation, senior vice president of design (and brainchild of the redesigned iOS 7) Jony Ive describles the iPhone 5C as "beautifully, unapologetically plastic"
The iPhone 5C will also support new “soft-feel silicon rubber cases” with perforated backs that allow the handset’s bright color to shine through.
“iOS 7 is designed to match the iPhone 5C,” said senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. The pre-installed wallpapers will match the phone’s exterior color.
Next up was the all-new, premium iPhone 5S. As expected, it will be offered in gold and integrates a fingerprint scanner into the home button.
Schiller began the presentation by stating that iPhone 5S is “perhaps the most forward-thinking phone anyone has ever made.”
It will come in the rumored gold finish, as well as silver and “new space gray.” It’s made of high-grade aluminum with chamfered edges and a ring around the home button.
The new Apple flagship will also sport a new 64-bit A7 chip – the first ever on a smartphone. iOS 7 has been completely redesigned to support both 32 and 64-bit apps.
The A7 CPU is more than twice as fast as its predecessor. CPU performance has increased by 40 percent, and graphics have been tweaked to run 56 percent faster. iPhone 5S will also run OpenGL/ES 3.0, like the new Nexus 7.
An improved camera is also coming to the iPhone 5S. Rather than boost megapixels, Apple has opted to enlarge the current pixels. The upgraded sensor will had a 15 percent larger active area, and individual pixels have been stretched to 1.5 microns.
The new camera shoots multiple photos at once, selecting the best image. It also supports dual-color flash LEDs – a cool white and a warm amber. This improves color balance when using flash, especially with skin tone.
Slow motion capture has also been included, at an incredible 120 fps. HD video is captured in 720p at 120 fps. The 28MP panorama mode will also adjust exposure on the fly as a user pans.
Another expected feature of the iPhone 5S is the Touch ID sensor that scans a users thumb to unlock the device or make an iTunes/App Store purchase. It is built right into the sapphire crystal home button.
“It’s not just rampant technology for technology’s sake,” said Ive in a 5S teaser video. Fingerprint data is “encrypted and secured inside a secure enclave.”
Each iPhone 5S can recognize multiple fingerprints, but Apple promised that none of the data is available to other software, stored on Apple servers, or backed up to iCloud.
iPhone 5S will cost $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB (on a two year contract).
New iPhone pre-orders will begin on Friday, September 13, and the handsets will launch on September 20 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the U.K.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to launch an iPhone at the start in China,” said Schiller.
Apple plans to make the new iPhones available in 100 countries through more than 270 carriers by December 2013.
Apple also announced that iOS 7 will be released on September 18 for 5th generation iPod touch, iPad Mini, iPad 2 (and later), and iPhone 4 (and later). iWork (which includes Pages, Keynote, Numbers), as well as iPhoto and iMovie will come free with all new iOS devices.