Apple surprises with fingerprint-scanner, Gold iPhone


Apple’s Latest: iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iOS 7
In a press event on Tuesday at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Cali., CEO Tim Cook revealed two new handsets: the flagship iPhone 5S and the much-rumored iPhone 5C. Each will be shipped with the elegant new iOS 7 and new owners will be able to download iMovie, iPhoto and iWorks for free. If you’re unfamiliar with iMovie, iPhoto and iWorks, Apple’s movie-maker previously sold for $4.99 as well as its photo-editing counterpart, iPhoto, and each piece of the iWorks office suite sold for $9.99 (Pages, Numbers and Keynote).

“In the past, when we’ve launched a new iPhone, we lowered the cost of the old iPhone, making it more accessible to new people. But this year, we’re not going to do that,” Cook said.

Instead, the company will begin selling a 16GB iPhone 5C for $99 and a 32GB model for $199 alongside the new iPhone 5S which will sell for $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB) and $399 (64GB). In a surprising move, the treasured iPhone 5 will be discontinued and the iPhone 4 will be “sold” for free with a new 2-year contract. It was clearly evident throughout Tuesday’s event that Cook and company are looking to carve out market share with a new perspective on pricing and diversifying hardware.

The iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S are two very different animals. Apple states the iPhone 5C is the ‘Most Colorful iPhone Yet,’ and will ship in five colors: green, pink, yellow, white and blue. The iPhone 5C has a hard-coated polycarbonate steel-reinforced casing with a multi-band antenna. In fact, they’ll have more LTE bands than any phone in the world. This glossy, beautiful new look is accented by the familiar 4-inch Retina screen, with last year’s snappy A6 processor under the hood, an 8MP iSight camera on its back and an all-new FaceTime HD front-facing camera.

“iPhone 5C is everything iPhone 5 was and more, in an all-new design packed with great features,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone 5C is designed with a beautiful polycarbonate enclosure that looks and feels so solid in your hand.”

On launch day, six “soft, matte, microfiber-lined” silicone cases will be available. Each case will contain a fun, circular pattern on its backside that will allow the glossy finish of the 5C to peek through, in a well-designed contrast that illustrates Apple’s attention to even the slightest details.

“iPhone 5S is the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, delivering desktop class architecture in the palm of your hand,” Schiller said.

Experts didn’t expect much from the 5S. Major blogs like FastCompany and TechCrunch published articles over the past few days that more or less prepared for a lukewarm presentation from Apple. However, the S-family had more steam this time around when Touch ID technology was unveiled amidst several other vast improvements over its predecessor.

“iPhone 5S sets a new standard for smartphones, packed into its beautiful and refined design are breakthrough features that really matter to people, like Touch ID, a simple and secure way to unlock your phone with just a touch of your finger,” Schiller said.

Looking to sci-fi gadgetry and maximum security technology for inspiration, Apple built a fingerprint-scanner into the home button for this version of the company’s core device. Using a laser-cut sapphire crystal and a capacitive touch sensor, the device takes a high-resolution picture of your fingerprint and intelligently analyzes it. Every time you use your finger to unlock the device, Touch ID learns more about the print and becomes smarter, allowing it to read partial prints and gather an accurate reading from virtually any angle. Your fingerprint is encrypted and stored securely in the new A7 chip within the 5S — there is no backup on iCloud or among any of Apple’s servers. Oh, and you can use your fingerprint to approve purchases in the native App Store.

Beyond the benchmark that is fingerprint-encoding, the iPhone 5S delivers a “desktop-class architecture in the palm of your hand,” as Schiller said. The new A7 chip’s 64-bit processor allows for twice the CPU and graphic performance as the iPhone 5. In Layman’s terms, you’ll be able to play games with graphics only before seen on Mac, PC and home console. And the annoying lagging or occasional freezing when you have multiple apps functioning at once? That won’t be an issue.

The 5S will also ship with a new component, the M7 chip, which will continuously measure motion data. The M7 uses the gyroscope, accelerometer and compass in ways never before seen on a mobile device and will allow developers to create next-generation fitness and activity apps that utilize the new technology.

The last piece to the iPhone 5S pie is the incredibly enhanced camera. Like the iPhone 5C, the 5S includes the new FaceTime HD front-facing camera but the real spice is in the new hardware on the backside. The iSight camera, still 8 megapixels, has a larger sensor to take better photos in lower light, more aperture, up to two-times faster auto-focus, faster photo capture, automatic image and video stabilization, better dynamic range, a new Burst Mode, slo-mo HD capture in 120 fps and the revolutionary new True Tone flash — which variably adjusts color and intensity to match one of 1,000 different combinations to make photos look more “natural.”

The 5S will be available in three colors: gold, silver and space grey (metallic black). Upon launch, official premium leather cases with a micro-fiber lining will be available in six colors of their own: beige, black, blue, brown, yellow and (RED).

For those of you who may not have the funds to upgrade at this time, iOS 7 revamps your current devices on Sept. 18.

“iOS 7 is completely redesigned with an entirely new user interface and over 200 new features, so it’s like getting a brand new device, but one that will still be instantly familiar to our users,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

Features worth noting: introduction of Command Center, enhanced Multitasking, all-new Notification Center including Today-view on your lockscreen, AirDrop device-to-device sharing, new Camera filters and features, redesigned Photos app including Moments, full-screen Safari browsing, a male voice for Siri and iTunes’ competitor to Pandora — iTunes Radio.

This update will be supported by the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation). Some features may not be available on all products.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S will begin on Friday, Sept. 13. The devices will ship on Sept. 20.