CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple has once again answered several rumours by officially unveiling two new smartphones to replace the iPhone 5. Offering a new choice of colours and improved security, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S will be on sale starting Sept. 20, pre-sales starting a week earlier, on Sept. 13.
Despite the ever-inflating rumours preceding every Apple announcement, the new devices and features introduced today aim at reinforcing Apple's main strengths, as well as broadening the iPhone's reach on the worldwide smartphone market, but particularly in Asia.
More affordable, the new iPhone 5C and its higher-end sibling, the iPhone 5S, will be offered by more providers throughout the world than the iPhone 5 was (along with the iPhone 4S, unchanged). That includes new partners in China and Japan. That seemed to be Apple's main objective today: "offering a product to a larger number of customers everywhere in the world," as Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said on stage.
A multicolour iPhone 5C
The iPhone 5C reuses most of the iPhone 5 components, encased in a polycarbonate cover available in five different colours. It also sports an 8-megapixel camera on the back, as well as a FaceTime HD camera up front.
Along with the new generation of Apple's mobile software, iOS 7, this device will be slightly faster than its predecessor, and will provide better tools for sharing content like photos or webpages. The new "parallax" graphical interface is also new, and should give this phone a distinct personality on the market.
Offered in a 16-gigabyte and a 32-gigabyte version, the iPhone 5C will sell at $99 US and $199, respectively, with a two-year contract. Canadian pricing has not been announced yet but should be along those lines.
iPhone 5S: the rumours were (mostly) right
The two major rumours concerning the iPhone 5S, announcing a built-in fingerprint scanner and a gold version of the phone, were right. But there are a few other new features worth mention on this new high-end iPhone.
A 64-bit processor, dubbed A7, joined by a "motion coprocessor" named M7, open up the field for a new generation of more powerful and more versatile applications, especially on the gaming, fitness and health side. Phil Schiller, who manages the hardware for Apple, said this new iPhone is twice as powerful as the former iPhone 5. "That's 40 times more powerful than the original iPhone," added the man on stage.
Touch ID, Apple's new bioscan technology found under the Home button located at the bottom of the screen, replaces the lockscreen code, as well as the iTunes password needed when buying music, videos or applications. "We also see a number of new possibilities for this technology," Schiller also said.
The camera and the screen size are mostly unchanged. Tim Cook has his own idea on this: "Other manufacturers keep adding pixels everywhere. That's not how we do at Apple."
Slight improvements on the camera include a dual-LED flash and a better photo app that offers a burst mode and a slow-motion, 120 frames per second video mode.
On pre-sale starting Sept. 13, the white, black or golden iPhone 5S will be priced at $199 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB version. Canadian availability is similar, despite the pricing not being announced yet.