The iPhone 5c Is The iPhone 5 In A Plastic Candy Shell (And Other Takeaways From Today’s Apple Event)

Senior Contributor
09.10.13 13 Comments


Apple threw a big iPhone event today, the first of three events over the next three months. Mostly what we took away from it is that iOS 7 will be cool, and that we can’t have it yet. The good news is that all the new toys arrive officially next week.

The iPhone 5c

Excuse me a minute, I have some crow to eat: I really thought Apple was going to keep the iPhone 5 on the market and kill the iPhone 4 line. Nope! The iPhone 5c really is the iPhone 5 in a plastic candy shell.

It is essentially the iPhone 5, though. It’s got a better battery and a few improvements, but it’s still got an A6 chip and the internals seem to be essentially the same. It’s going to be available for between $100 and $200, on contract, in other words “cheap” but not as cheap as some were hoping.

Oh, and yes, you can recycle the plastic shell. Because you were deeply concerned about that.

iPhone 5S

The gold color is real. And you can get a leather case for it. Allow me to link you to a highly intellectual analysis about how that should make any right-person thinking feel. Thanks for catering to the tacky, Apple. There’s also a charcoal version, should you want to actually show some class.

Inside, the biggest news is that the A7 is a 64-bit chip. 64-bit architecture was rumored to be tested but it wasn’t clear it would make the cut. This should do a lot for the iPhone 5S performance, especially since they’ve crammed twice as many transistors into the same amount of space, and the chip can run both 64-bit and 32-bit apps.

The big difference is graphics; Apple is claiming it’s 56 times as fast as the iPhone 5. Which considering what iOS 7 is like, it’d better be. It also has a new motion detecting chip, the M7, which is largely for fitness apps and the like, but hey, it is kinda neat.

Oh, and Apple insists they have a magic new camera in their new iPhone that will autofocus like a DSLR, a larger sensor, an f/2.2 lens, and image stabilization. At least they understand that pixel size is important, as well, as there’s a bigger sensor with bigger pixels. More likely to be useful is the dual-LED flash, which will match color temperature so you have fewer ugly photos.

Interestingly, it can capture 720 resolution video at 120 fps, meaning that slow-motion has officially arrived to the masses. It also means YouTube will be annoying for about five weeks after this thing comes out.

And finally… yes, the iPhone 5S has a fingerprint reader. Your fingerprint stays on your phone, though, so the government can’t make Apple fork over access to your data. It’s a bit more secure, but still, it seems more like a gimmick than a killer feature. The 5S is $199 with contract, and each memory bump adds another $100 to that price.

Most surprisingly, the 5S and 5c will be available next week, September 20th. So that’s pretty quick, but one wonders what the iPad and Mac Pro events might have. There’s not a One More Thing to get excited about yet.

iOS 7

Apple had nothing new to say on this front, really. The beta has been around to try out for months if you’re an “app developer”, but the good news is that it will finally be officially released next week, September 18th.

Is it worth getting? Well, it’s free if you own an iDevice, so yeah, it is. Mostly what you’ll notice is that it’s smoother, more efficient, and has a “flat” look to it. Oh, and the “parallax” graphic effect is something you’ll find really neat for five minutes.


All of Apple’s “i” productivity apps are going to become free. It’s blatantly a response to Google Docs, but, hey, free iMovie!

(Image courtesy Martin uit Utrecht on Flickr)

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