Apple just finished up announcing their next line of iPhone devices and it’s going to lead to a little confusion. The reason for the confusion will come from the fact that the device does not physically look much different than before. 2013 is the year of under the hood updates for the iPhone. The iPhone 5 released in 2012 was a pretty fantastic device as far as size and ergonomics. In 2013, the new iPhone takes on a new operating system version and a bunch of technology updates inside of the device. Though iOS 7 will appear quite different to most, it is something they can upgrade to on their current iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Besides the new iOS 7 operating system, I wanted to break down the main features in Apple’s two new devices for 2013 and give you some reasons why you might switch or why you might want to wait until 2014.
The iPhone 5C is a budget entry phone with very similar specs to the iPhone 5 released in 2012. The only under the hood difference that was expressed during the Apple Keynote was the slightly higher quality front facing camera that you can use to take selfies and do Facetime chats. The iPhone 5C has a plastic back and a glass front. This means that the plastic phone can crack and dent if you drop it just right. I am certain that it will be a solid enough phone to withstand the everyday stuff we put our phones through.
The iPhone 5C will be available in White, Red, Yellow, Blue and Green. Each color will also come in 16GB and 32GB versions. It is apparent that these colors were chosen because they look good with the new iOS 7 operating system. See a complete spec list here.
Who should upgrade to the iPhone 5C?
If you are using an iPhone 4S or older and want to get a new iPhone but not spend much, the iPhone 5C will be a good option. At launch, the iPhone 5C will be available for $99 with a 2 year contract agreement. This makes it a very affordable phone that will be a nice upgrade for those of you with older phones. Alternatively, the iPhone 4S is still available and will be offered free with a 2 year contract agreement.
Other than that, the iPhone 5C does not have much new going on. It will come with iOS 7 installed and you can get it in a variety of colors.
The iPhone 5S is the new phone for the year. Though it will not appear much different than the iPhone 5 released in 2012, it will come with a lot of upgrades under the hood. Apple beefed up the processing ability of the phone and the graphics engine. It is apparent that Apple is positioning the iPhone 5S to be a gaming powerhouse. With that said, the device supports 64 bit processing which brings the iPhone 5S closer to a modern day PC as far as performance ability. Because most apps require relatively low amounts of processing power, the new iPhone 5S will have a really good battery lifespan.
The iPhone 5S is coming with a new and improved 8 Megapixel camera. I have found that the iPhone 5 had a great camera. Considering it was released this time last year, it took over 6 months for other manufactures to catch up and produce phones with a camera at least comparable to the iPhone 5. Now that the iPhone 5S comes with an improved camera, I am eager to see how it performs up against the HTC One and Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphones. The iPhone 5S camera includes a sensor that is 15% larger than before and has an f-stop of 2.2. The lower the f-stop, the greater the amount of light that will be able to get through the lens to that sensor. The previous iPhone 5 model had a maximum aperture of 2.4. Apple has also developed a new lens that should increase clarity of the image. Burst mode is available in the camera and Apple says you can take 10 photos per second for as long as you can hold your finger down for. This will be interesting to test. For those of you who use flash on your smartphone, the new flash has the ability to adjust on the fly to produce a better quality of light so that your images don’t end up looking horrible. Up until now, smartphone flash has been horrible regardless of the phone you are using. I am not holding my breath that this new flash will be that great but I am sure it will be a drastic improvement over prior versions.
The iPhone 5S will also sport a Slow Motion mode that will shoot slow motion video at 120 Frames Per Second at 720p HD. This is a feature that is on the Moto X and I love it. If you think video of your kids is cute, video of your kids is even cuter in slow motion.
iPhone 5S will also have a fingerprint scanner that is used to unlock your phone and make purchasing content easier. I probably spend an hour per week entering my password so this is going to be a nice feature. Other phones use the front facing camera to recognize your face to unlock the phone but this does not work in the dark or weird lighting situations. The fingerprint scanner located around the home button on the iPhone 5S will allow you to unlock your phone instead of entering a passcode. It will also allow you to approve purchases in the app store, iTunes or in other apps for in-app-purchase content. I see this as a pretty cool feature though it does sound gimmicky.
The iPhone 5S will be available in Black, White and Gold Anodized. See a complete spec list here.
Who should upgrade to the iPhone 5S?
This will be an interesting question to answer. If you are like me, you just want the latest technology. If that is the case, you will get one regardless of what I say.
For me, it all comes down to the camera. I will go with whatever device has the best camera. Currently, that is the HTC One and the Moto X from Motorola. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a good camera but it’s a Windows phone and all I have to say about that is, no.
For you, it will depend on your level of happiness with your current phone and whether or not you are willing to spend at least $199 for the next version of the iPhone. If you are on an older phone and have been holding out, perhaps now is the time. I am not sure how iOS 7 will perform on older devices like the iPhone 4 or earlier versions. On my iPod Touch, iOS 7 is a little slow compared to how it was on my iPhone 5.
The price points for the iPhone 5S are as follows:
- iPhone 5S 16GB – $199 with 2 year contract
- iPhone 5S 32GB – $299 with 2 year contract
- iPhone 5S 64GB – $399 with 2 year contract
Which version of the iPhone 5S should you get?
That all depends on how much data you keep on your phone at once. Basic app usage on the iPhone does not take much storage space. If you store a lot of music and video on your device and take a lot of photos and video with it, you may want a larger capacity device. I have always purchased the 64GB device but since I started using Rdio and Spotify for music instead of downloading songs from iTunes I never end up needing more than a 32GB phone. I backup all of my photos and video that I take using Dropbox so I can easily go and delete older photos and video off of my iPhone to make more space.
When I look at the iPhones of other people I see tons of photos and videos using up most of their available space. If you are one of these people, you will want a larger capacity device. If you stay on top of your photos and videos clearing out old photos you don’t need and backing them up to your computer somehow, you can get away with a lower capacity device. In reality, it’s only a hundred bucks difference. Your iPhone is your lifeline and goto device for everything, so why not just get the larger model.
With that said, I am using the 16GB version of the Moto X by Motorola and have barely used half of my available storage space. This leads me to believe that I could get away with a 16GB iPhone if I really wanted to. My current iPhone is a 64GB version that is using 30GB of it’s storage space mostly being used up by photos, video and audio books.
Should I Wait Until Next Year for the iPhone 6?
If you are content with your current phone then you should wait until next year. There is no reason to buy the latest version of the iPhone if you have no problems with your current version. You may want to try upgrading to iOS 7 and see how that performs on your current iPhone. If it appears to slow your device, you may want to upgrade to the next version. You can upgrade to iOS 7 for free on Sept 18th of 2013. I will be posting a tutorial on how to upgrade to iOS 7 over at StateofTech.Net when it becomes available.
When Can You Buy Them?
The iPhone 5C is available for Pre-order on Sept 13th, 2013 and will arrive in your hands on Sept 20th. Both phones are available in-store and online on Sept 20th 2013.
Once I get my hands on both of these devices I will be posting my thoughts on the devices.
For those of you who want to learn how to use the new iOS 7 software that will come standard on these 2 devices, we will have a complete course available. Make sure to follow @StateofTech on Twitter or on Facebook for updates.
I will also be posting a video on how to transfer your content from your old phone to your new iPhone soon.
Let me know what you think about these two new phones.