Today in California, Apple introduced two new cellphones, both of which look very nice! On Apple announcement days, the internet can get very loud and aggressive with hype about these products which will alternately change your life or flop and ruin Apple’s stock, so here you will find a clean place to learn about these cellphones. They’re just cellphones.
The iPhone 5S is the newest “flagship” iPhone, which means it’s the fastest and most expensive. It’s the one pictured up top there, gleaming dully with the sheen of recently unearthed fool’s gold. It is largely the same as last year’s iPhone 5; a little faster, a few new features here and there, but mostly the same. That’s good! The “old” iPhone is a very good phone.
The iPhone 5S is available in three colors. One of them is gold. This is a divisive color for a company like Apple, which has been operating in shades of grey for about a decade. Buy it if you like it! Whatever!
The 5S has a faster processor and a new camera, with a bigger sensor. A bigger sensor is good; it means better pictures in low-light, for reasons that really aren’t very important. It also has a ring around the home button, which is actually a capacitive fingerprint reader. You can use that to unlock your phone. Some have voiced concern about this. The concern is that this will link your fingerprints to your digital life, and that it could enable hostile groups (like, say, the U.S. government) to create a massive database of prints without having to go through proper legal channels. Apple says the fingerprints are encrypted, never uploaded anywhere, and can only be used by Apple itself for things like unlocking your phone or signing into accounts.
The iPhone 5S will cost $200 for a version with 16GB of storage, for songs or videos or photos or apps, or you can pay $300 for 32GB or $400 for 64GB. It’ll be out on September 20th.
The iPhone 5C is the replacement for the iPhone 5. Apple usually just introduces one phone and then makes last year’s model the budget version. This year they’re not doing that; they’re introducing a new phone at the same price as last year’s phone would have been. I don’t know why.
The iPhone 5C has all the same internal stuff as last year’s iPhone 5. The case is different; this year it’s bright shiny plastic instead of aluminum. It’s also thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5. I don’t know why Apple decided to do this instead of just making the iPhone 5 cheaper. But it looks nice.
The iPhone 5C costs $100 or $200, depending on how much storage space you get (16GB or 32GB). You probably shouldn’t buy it, though; when you get a new phone, you’re signing a commitment to pay for two years of expensive monthly service in order to get that phone for that discounted price (phones actually cost about $750). Given that you’re paying a few thousand dollars over two years, you should just get the “flagship” phone. It’ll feel newer longer, and it’ll cost you barely anything extra per month. You can get the iPhone 5C on September 13th, if you want.
iOS 7 is the new operating system used by the iPhone. Like, PCs use Windows, and Macs use Mac OSX, and Android phones use Android. Along those same lines, iPhones use iOS. This new version is very different visually from older versions; it’s brighter and more colorful and “flatter,” which in a design sense means things don’t look like real-world items, nor do they have shadows. Like a notebook-type app won’t have yellow paper and blue lines anymore; that’s what real-world paper looks like. Instead it’ll probably just be white. This is trendy right now–proponents say that it’s more honest, that digital things don’t need to look like physical things, that they can be cleaner and simpler and more functional.
There are also new features, like you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen, no matter what you’re doing on the phone, to change little things like whether your Wi-Fi is on or off, or how loud your phone is. And there are some flashier ways to do things like switch between apps; you double-tap the home button, and then you see these big thumbnails of all your open apps. You can swipe along them and tap them to switch to them and open them. It’s not a new idea, but it’s better than what there was before.
iOS 7 has been out in beta for awhile already. Beta is when people who might make apps for a phone get an early, unfinished version, so they can test their apps out properly. But a lot of people who are just enthusiasts pretend to be app-makers so they can play with the early version. So you might have seen this around. Or you might not have! Anyway, it’ll be out soon, and even if you have an older iPhone, you’ll be able to download it. It’s really pretty, and will make your phone feel new, which is fun. We’re not sure exactly when you’ll be able to do that, though.
Those are the iPhones! Have a nice day.