Apple Tuesday unveiled two new iPhone models, confirming months of speculation that both a more sophisticated and a lower-end version of its popular smartphone were in the works.
As rumor had it, Apple took the wraps of the iPhone 5S, a souped-up, more enterprise-ready version of the prior-generation iPhone 5. The tech giant also introduced the iPhone 5C, a cheaper iPhone that comes in a variety of colors, and, more notably, marks Apple's entry into the lower-end smartphone market.
Both of the phones feature Apple's latest mobile software, iOS 7, and will be available starting September 20. The iPhone 5S is priced at $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 32 GB model, and $399 for the 64 GB model. The iPhone 5C will start at $99 for an 8 GB model, and $199 for a 32 GB model.
The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C represent Apple's latest, not-so-secret weapons for competing with smartphone rivals including Samsung and, more recently, Microsoft, which upped its own devices game with its $7.2 billion acquisition of Finnish smartphone maker Nokia earlier this month.
While still the dominant smartphone player in the U.S., Apple's share of the worldwide market has slipped; industry analyst IDC reported recently that iOS' share in the worldwide smartphone market was 13.2 percent in the second quarter of 2013, compared to 16.6 percent in the same period last year. Android and Windows Phone, meanwhile, saw increases during the same period.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will completely replace the iPhone 5. Apple will not sell the iPhone 5 at a reduced price, as it has with other older-generation iPhones upon the launch of a new model.
"In the past, when we introduced a new iPhone, we lowered the price of the old iPhone," Cook said at the launch event Tuesday. "This year we aren't going to do that. This year, we're going to replace the iPhone 5 with not one, but two new designs."
The first of those designs, the iPhone 5S, includes Apple's new 64-bit A7 processor, which the company said delivers up to twice the CPU and graphics performance compared to the A6 processor inside the iPhone 5. The A7 chip makes the iPhone 5S the world's first smartphone to support a 64-bit "desktop-class" architecture, Apple said, making everything from launching apps to editing photos feel faster and smoother than on the iPhone 5.
Apple said 32-bit applications can still be supported on the iPhone 5S.
Also new with the iPhone 5S is Touch ID, a built-in fingerprint reader. The reader, which could help the iPhone make new inroads with enterprise users, is built into the home button and leverages a touch sensor to take a high-res image of a user's fingerprint. The feature then stores and encrypts that image, allowing users in the future to unlock their phone, or even download apps from iTunes or the App Store, with the swipe of a finger.
NEXT: Meet The iPhone 5CThe iPhone 5S also includes a new 8-megapixel iSight camera, which, when coupled with the new Camera app in iOS 7, provides up to two-times faster auto-focus, faster photo capture, and automatic image and video stabilization, Apple said. A new Facetime HD camera, and Burst and Slo-Mo modes, are also included.
The iPhone 5S, which Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller referred to as "perhaps the most forward thinking phone anyone has ever made," features Apple's 4-inch Retina display, and comes in either silver, gold or grey. As for battery life, it offers 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks, and up to 8 hours on 3G networks.
In addition to the iPhone 5S, Apple unveiled the aggressively priced iPhone 5C, which, feature-wise, is on par with the prior-generation iPhone 5. It runs Apple's A6 chip, has a 4-inch Retina display, and an 8-megapixel iSight camera.
What really sets the iPhone 5C apart -- in addition to its price tag -- is its design. The phone is encased in what Apple called a "hard-coated polycarbonate body," or, basically, a really strong piece of plastic, that is then reinforced with a steel frame. The frame itself actually doubles as the phone's antennae, Apple said.
The iPhone 5C will be available in five colors, including blue, green, pink, yellow and white.
At launch, both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will run iOS 7, Apple's newest mobile software. The operating system features a reavmped user interface that replaces the usual bubbly textures and patterned backgrounds on iOS interfaces with a flatter, cleaner design. Apple said the new user interface, which also features motion tracking, will make the iPhone's display look bigger
In addition, to its new look, iOS 7 comes with new features like Control Center, which allows users to view all notifications in the Lock screen with a single swipe. The interface also lets users access Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode settings as well as brightness and volume controls.
One of the major features of iOS 7 is multitasking; a new API allows developers to enable apps to multitask in the background. What's more, users can access preview screens of apps that are open by tapping the home button twice. The software even studies when users access certain apps so that the OS can have them updated and ready to launch before users click on them.
iOS 7 will also support iWork, a business-flavored productivity app including mobile versions of Apple's Keynote and word processing program Pages.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 10, 2013