Apple Announces Two New iPhones: iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S

iphone 5S

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Apple announced two new iPhones at their big event today. As expected, the two new devices are the colorful iPhone 5C and The bigger faster pricier iPhone 5S.

I’ve got specs, pricing, and launch date details, as well as what I think about today’s announcements, after the jump. >>>

Taking the stage today at its Cupertino campus this morning were Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, and other Apple execs. Of course, the new iPhones are why everyone tuned into this event, but there were other announcements as well.

In addition to the new iPhones, There were a few surprises in today’s Apple event. Apple announced iTunes Radio. A really bitchin upgrade to the iWork suite of apps was announced as well. And these apps will be free for many iOS 7 users. I wasn’t expecting that in today’s event and that’s a pretty big surprise.

Apple also give us a better more in-depth look at the upcoming iOS 7 update. More on that later in this post.

iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S

Apple announced two new iPhones today. The iPhone 5C is pretty much as we expected. Its specs are comparable to the current iPhone 5. It’s got the same A6 chip as the current iPhone 5.

The current iPhone 5 is an excellent device and the iPhone 5C promises to continue that performance and reliability. It’s basically an iPhone 5 with a new, colorful plastic case and a few other improvements.

For iPhoneographers, it has the same 8 MP camera and five-element lens that’s in the current iPhone 5 devices.

The crown jewel of today’s announcement is the new iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5S has the same look and size of the current iPhone 5 with a few exceptions. It now comes in silver, gold, and “Space Gray”. The white iPhone 5 is no more. There’s a ring around the new iPhone Home button, part of the device’s new biometric security feature.

There are a lot of surprises in this update to Apple’s popular iPhone 5 series handset. Not all of them are going to be well received by the press and iPhoneographers.

The iPhone 5S without a doubt is an amazing device. The hardware architecture got a major overhaul in this device and that affects the performance of the phone and everything it does, including the camera.

The iPhone 5S is by far the fastest iPhone to date. In fact, it’s exponentially faster than even the iPhone 5 which is an amazingly fast handset.

The iPhone 5S has a new A7 processor that can run in both 64-bit and 32-bit modes. What does this mean? The new iPhone 5S should be up to 5X faster than the current iPhone 5. Apps that are CPU intensive, such as photo apps, will fly. In photo apps That take advantage of the 64-bit architecture, rendering an processing times should be dramatically shorter.

Apple also introduced OpenGL 3.0, a significant update to the iPhone’s graphics rendering engine. I need to crack the white paper to get the specs on this, but again, any apps including photo apps that use OpenGL 3.0 to process Will see a dramatic increase in image realism and quality and a significant decrease in the amount of time it takes to process those graphics. Photo apps like LensLight and LensFlare use opens you currently use OpenGL to process the effects.

On paper, the camera on the iPhone 5S is actually a significant improvement.

Because of the new faster chip, many of the camera’s functions perform better and faster, including an auto-focus that’s up to 2X faster than the iPhone 5.

The new iPhone 5S camera features auto image stabilization. It works by taking four photos with a short exposure time. Then the best parts of those photos are combined into one image with as little noise, subject motion, and hand shake as possible. Basically, this is the same principle that photo apps ClearCam and Cortex Camera use to capture clear, sharp images, except this is now incorporated at the system level on a very fast device.

The iPhone 5S has an improved camera sensor with pixels that are 15% larger than the ones currently in the iPhone 5. Larger pixels mean greater light sensitivity and hopefully this translates into greater dynamic range and the ability to preserve greater detail in both shadows and highlights.

The optics of the camera are improved as well. The new aperture — the opening in the lens that lets the light in — has been increased to f2.2, up from f2.4 on the current iPhone 5 camera. That’s a modest improvement that should improve the cameras performance not only in low light situations, but in situations that require a faster shutter speed. In theory, both shooting situations should yield clearer, sharper results with an iPhone 5 S camera. It all adds up to up to 33% greater light sensitivity than the iPhone 5.

iphone 5s, apple, flash
The new 2 LED flash of the iPhone 5S

The flash on the iPhone 5S is improved. There are now two high-intensity LEDs — one white and the other an amber color. The combination can be adjusted to optimize the color temperature of the light to get more natural-looking, less blown out results when flash is used. Users can adjust the flash color temperature in Apple’s new Camera app in iOS 7.

The resolution of the iPhone 5 S is still 8 MP and not the 12 or 13 megapixels that many pundits and users were anticipating. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll explain why.

A pretty exhaustive list of the specs and features of the new iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S is already posted to the Apple website.

Apple has also posted a gallery with a variety of photos shot with an iPhone 5S.


The Release of iOS 7

New filters in iOS 7.
New filters in iOS 7.

Apple announced that iOS 7 will be released on September 18. It will be a free download. It will work on most of the devices in operation today including the iPhone 4 and newer.

In addition to the new, flatter user interface, iOS 7 has been completely reengineered to run in the 64-bit architecture of the new iPhone 5S. That means zoom, despite all the great new features of the OS.

iOS 7 Camera now has eight built-in filters and a square shooting mode. A nod to the influence Instagram has had on the popularity of iPhoneography. The camera also has two new shooting modes — a burst mode and slow motion video mode.

One of our panelists today, Devin Pike, has hands-on experience with iOS 7 throughout the beta process. He tells us that many of the improvements in the iPhone’s camera are how the software and the new operating system interact with the hardware. Together, iOS 7 and the new iPhone 5S should be a noticeably improved shooting experience.

The Bottom Line

The iPhone 5 S? Oh yeah, I’m going to get one right away. PANTONE Space Gray, please.

I was delighted by the iPhone 5. It’s noticeably faster than my iPhone 4S. Often there’s no lag that I would experience an older devices. It’s a great iPhone.

With the new 64-bit architecture, the iPhone 5S has the potential to be exponentially faster than the iPhone 5. That gets me excited about the device.

Once developers take advantage of the internal throughput of the 64-bit architecture, the potential is there for apps to move at “the speed of thought.” Rather than performing a task and waiting, even the minimal wait of an iPhone 5, processes will move much faster and apps will feel feel more like an extension of you than a tool that you have to wait on.

I have to admit that I was disappointed when I found out that the iPhone still had an eight megapixel camera. In looking at the specs of the new camera, I realize that Apple chose quality over megapixels and I think they made the right choice.

The new camera will have a greater dynamic range, reproduce light and dark better, and reproduce colors more naturally and accurately than the current camera in the iPhone 5 (and 5C). Larger pixels on the sensor has been something that photographers have been requesting since the 8 MP camera of the 4S. Better photos instead of larger photos. It looks like Apple has delivered.

Despite the marketing hype over 12 MP cameras or even 41 megapixel cameras, 8 MP is plenty for an image. You can still blow up an 8 MP image to poster size. With 12 MP, you can shoot a billboard. With less than one megapixel, you can upload your photograph to Instagram and that’s where most of the action is for mobile photography.

If I had to choose between an 8 MP camera that created beautiful, lush, bright, outstanding photographs or 12 MP camera that took flat, dull, okay pictures, I’d go with the camera that gives me the best photograph in-camera to start with. I think Apple made the right choice. It’s a choice that Steve Jobs would’ve made and in fact it was the choice that he made years ago with the iPhone 4 camera.

At least I’m hoping that’s what Apple did. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these in a few weeks.

Did you catch today’s Apple Event? What do you think of the new iPhones? Sound off in the comments below.


Pricing and Release dates for US customers:

There’s all you need to know online at The Apple Store.

Buy iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c at the Apple Retail Store starting September 20. Pre-order iPhone 5c starting September 13. Order iPhone 5s starting September 20.

iPhone 5S

Available in three finishes and three sizes

16GB – from $199
32GB – from $299
64GB – from $399

iPhone 5C

Available in five colors and two sizes

16GB – from $99
32GB – from $199

It looks like you can preorder an iPhone 5C for September 20 delivery, an option I highly recommend. But it looks like if you want an iPhone 5S on day one, you’ll have to wait in line at an Apple Store or mobile retailer to purchase it that day. You can order a 5S on September 20 for later delivery.

More info here.


UPDATE 09.11.13: Corrected available colors of iPhone 5S.

About Marty Yawnick 1808 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • The Gnome

    Great review! Echoes my thoughts exactly.

    I’m wondering why no ac wifi though, and no 5S pre-order smacks of some very long lines or back-orders of what is likely a supply constricted phone. I preferred to sit back with a cup of coffee and wait for my phone to be handed to me by the FedEx man…

  • Kim Martino

    Ok, maybe Steve ISN’T rolling in his grave 😉

  • Barry Spock

    The 5S looks good but I’m a little disappointed there’s no 128gig model. I would’ve taken that over the exponential speed bump any day. A faster processor only seems to benefit hires games which I have xero interest in.

    • Richard Grant

      Barry, I’m right with you on the storage issue! I was hoping (and kind of expecting) that we’d move up to 32/64/128 options.

      I do think, though, that the faster processor will be important for some of the new photo features that Marty discusses above. I use ClearCam a lot, to compensate for my less-than-steady grip, and there’s a significant lag while my 4S chooses which of the images is “clearest”. If the new Camera app is going to do this by default — along with some kind of voodoo image stabilization that involves combining images — I’ll be happy to see the lag reduced.

    • AstronomerAdam

      A faster processor was demoed with a game because it is the most spectacular way to to do it. A rising tide floats all boats, and you’ll see improvements across the whole phone.

  • Richard Grant

    Marty — great and lightning-fast write-up! Thank you.

    Minor note: I think “space gray” is the new black. “Silver” is the new white, and “gold” is just new. The latter two are white on the front-facing side. I think.

  • rjllane

    Great write-up in double quick time. Just for the US people who might agonize over upgrade prices etc., the iPhone 5S in Australia (where I am) will be (the good news) unlocked as always so we are free to move carrier etc. at any time, but (the bad news) will cost A$ 1129 for 64 GB ( = US$1049.07 @ the present exchange rate of A$1 = US$0.93 US Dollar).

    Ouch … :-( … MomentsForZen

    PS I am disappointed as others here have indicated about the absence of a 128 GB option – would have seemed a good idea to “future-proof” to some degree, as files and apps always get more numerous and larger over time.

  • AstronomerAdam

    I’m extremely underwhelmed by this update, except the camera ironically. I was hoping for F 2.0 but 2.2 is still an improvement and I’m glad they went for better pixel size of more megapixels. Aside from that, the (non-expandable) storage issue is becoming an embarrassing joke and it’s about time we got unlimited iCloud. They are currently touting the iPhone as a serious photography and videography tool, but they give us 16GB models with the notion that iCloud will make up for it, then we get charged data tariffs and squashed with meagre online storage. It’s high time this stupid compromise that suits nobody except Apple and the carriers was abolished and they bumped storage significantly. There isn’t a week goes by where I don’t get within 100 MB of full on iCloud so I have to dump the camera roll. I use iPad for writing and so forth so 5 GB is a pittance. They’re choking extra money out of us by forcing us to buy 32 or 64 as higher end models when HTC and Samsung have all but abolished 16GB as worth anything at all, the carriers clean up with a few gigabytes a month in extra data charges and Apple pockets the greater profit margin on flash memory that now costs a quarter of what it used to because they refuse to give more for the same money. For god’s sake, Flickr gives us a terabyte, Apple can’t give a decent amount? I’ll be writing to them about this crap. I’m displeased to say the least. The specs and technical limits of the phone are no problem, but on this issue I’ve had enough now.

    • Ralf_BCN

      100% with you, Adam. They better pull even with what’s on the market and do it fast. Steve is rolling in his grave…

  • spicy_lizard

    I just updated my old 4 to iOS 7 GM, which should be the final release… native camera app is a step back for me :( first, it uses whole screen as viewfinder, so you don´t see the whole scene that will be captured… and second, shutter no longer works the old way, when picture is taken on release. instead it works on tap (which can lead to camera shake) and when shutter is held it works in continuous mode. I would prefer to have option in settings to select shutter behavior…

  • ashcroft54

    This is what I’d like to see is other comparisons to other smart phones on their cameras. I have a feeling Samsung is going to eat their words with their S4 and the people who switched over. The funny this is Samsung did make a cell phone with a really nice camera before Apply did, the problem is no one wanted it at the time. I forgot the model but it did take nice photos because I saw the photos printed in the photo lab when I worked at Target.

    Anyways I like to see all the photo comparisons with all the top Smart phones.