iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S: incremental improvements with little innovativeness.
In the wake of recent aggressive challenges to Apple’s hold on the smartphone market by rival manufacturers such as Samsung, comes yesterday’s announcement of Apple’s next iPhone release. Two new models, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, will be on sale on Sept. 20 (the 5C can be pre-ordered in advance on Sept.13) in the U.S., Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and U.K. Further, Apple promises its next mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be available as a free download on Sept. 18 for iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.
Like a rainbow, the low-cost iPhone 5C comes in an array of colors including green, blue, yellow, pink and white. Powered by Apple’s A6 chip, the 5C is made of plastic, sports a 4-inch Retina display, 8-megapixel camera, live photo filters and a rear cover that lights up. For $99 you get a 16 gigabyte model and a 32 gigabyte model for $199 with a two-year contract. The 5C is expected to help Apple’s failing sales in the Asian markets and other areas where people have less to spend on new gadgets vs the U.S. and Europe.
The second part of this new iPhone release is the iPhone 5S: the higher level of the two that reads your fingerprint. It runs Apple’s new A7 chip, supposedly up to twice as fast as the A6, and comes in silver, gold and a kind of steel gray. Among other things the 5S is touted as being suitable for running more health and fitness applications, which have become increasingly popular as more people use them to track exercise routines, calorie intake and even sleep patterns.
The iPhone 5S will set you back $199 for 16 gigabytes of memory, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB
New iPhone Upgrades Light On Innovation
iPhone 5C. Compared to its rivals’ offerings, Apple’s new iPhone 5C targeting emerging markets is being seen by some as a disappointment for consumers in developing markets such as China and India.
Apple rivals such as Samsung, HTC, and LG all offer smartphone models at lower price points, and these are taking off in emerging Asia-Pacific countries. However, while the affordability of Apple’s new iPhone models make these more attractive to some, the new smartphone models do not really have anything new to offer in terms of innovation. This is particularly troubling in developed markets (emerging Asia-Pacific markets) where incremental improvements offered in the iPhone 5s do not appeal to customers and iPhone 5c may not be not cheap enough given the unreliability of 3G and 4G networks in these markets.
iPhone 5S. The camera on the iPhone 5S is called iSight, and has received some nice upgrades, including several automatic features including auto image stabilization (which helps avoid blurry pictures), and a slow-motion camera for video. The camera’s pixels are larger, which helps capture more light. The phone also has a two-tone flash feature that is designed not to clash with the colors in the room or a person’s skin color. Perhaps most innovative in the iPhone 5S is the “Touch ID” feature, which reads fingerprints at a detailed level.
Early consumer sentiment on the new iPhone models is mixed at best, and there is some evidence that consumers may be somewhat underwhelmed with these new offerings. For instance, a recent poll among users of Android devices and older generations of the iPhone found users had no plans to switch over to the iPhone 5S or 5C. In the case of the 5S, feeling was that while Apple has made an effort to make iPhone 5s more visually appealing and added features such as the fingerprint scanner, this was not enough to consider upgrading, a process reported by many as quite troublesome. There are some complaints that the new color spectrum made the phone seem too kid-like. Earlier iPhone model users have been reported as viewing changes to both the iPhone 5S and 5C as insignificant, preferring to relying on their older iphone models and other devices.
One particular thing that apparently hampers the new iPhones is the absence of next iPhone surprises: something that has always accompanied the roll outs of previous models, beginning in 2007. This absence carries with it the suggestion that Apple might be running out of iPhone innovation, as the specs and features delivered in the 5S and 5C hardly overwhelm those that Android flagships offer. For buyers, when choosing between the premium priced iPhone 5S and 5C and high-end or mid-range Androids with more attractive solid price, the choice not in Apple’s favor.
The financial markets seem to reinforce this characterization of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S – incremental improvements losing the innovativeness as Apple’s stock price tumbled more than 5% barely a day after the new products were announced.
And What of iPhone 6? Apple saving its best for last?
To date, an iOS 7-powered iPhone 6 remains pure speculation, while Apple fans are hoping for a bigger screen, perhaps one that is wrapped-around on the newly-cut solid body, made of liquid-metal material with exciting features like control buttons that fade out when not in use. Opinions largely agree that iPhone 6 release will occur next June, 2014. Opinions diverge on what actually will be released. The supposed 2014 market entry of flagship iPhone 6 is rumored to be of phablet-size with new body design and more killer features.
One interesting line of speculation holds that the “6″ in iPhone 6 may stand for the device’s 6-inch screen size: something between the iPhone 5S and upcoming iPad Mini 2, as suggested by a recent Wall Street Journal article, as well as a leak at Apple Canada. The screen of the impending iPhone 6 has been the subject of much controversy, as many have speculated that iPhone 6 will be Apple’s first phablet. While we think that this is a distinct possibility, such screens require a lot to power that Apple’s current battery and processor systems do not yet possess.
On that note, iPhone 6 is expected to feature a bigger battery, perhaps as powerful as 2,000mAh. The iPhone 6 will launch with Apple’s new A7 processor – the world’s first 64-bit processor – and on iOS 7, though it’s also likely the company will launch the iPhone 6 with an incremental update, i.e. iOS 7.2. Given it’s 5S predecessor, iPhone 6′s camera should be at least 8-megapixels, but more probably 13-megapixels, with a dual LED flash.
In terms of storage capacity, we may see the demise of the 16GB iPhone with the release of iPhone 6. Apple will most likely offer the device with 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities.
As far as price goes, expect a flagship price as the Phone 6 will be Apple’s top-level iPhone.
The very latest rumors that have emerged on the next iPhone Release indicate Apple will be unveiling its newest innovation in less than 25 days from today.
While rejoicing among Apple fans and hopefuls can be heard in the streets in response to this news, the truth is that it’s not certain what actually will be revealed on September 10, if anything at all, as Apple has neither confirmed when the new iPhone release date will be, nor even if iOS 7 will play a part in the offering. Thus, the revealing of a scheduled launch date actually begs more questions than it answers.
We do know a couple of things: For instance, this year may be the first that Apple releases more than one new iPhone. Candidates include the security minded iPhone 5S, the long-rumored low-cost iPhone, possibly named the iPhone 5C, and of course, the flagship iPhone 6.
For many months the iPhone 5s has been the subject of much speculation, portrayed largely as an interim product expected to be launched as a stepping stone to Apple’s flagship iPhone product, the iPhone 6. As a incremental upgrade, iPhone 5S will be equipped with the same screen size and offer only minor improvements from its predecessor, the iPhone 5. The jury is still out on whether iPhone 5s will launch on iOS 7.
Of equal probability is the alternative speculation in which Apple abandons production on Phone 5S and proceeds directly to its long awaited and ballyhooed iPhone 6. This latter thinking comes as the result of sources close to Apple, postulating that an interim product like iPhone 5S would not sit well with consumers.
Of course the press sees it differently still, predicting the next iPhone to be the “iPhone 5s”, based on precedent. Historically, Apple has always released one major upgrade every other year, between which appears an “S” model: an “off-year” model that delivers only incremental improvement. Nevertheless, if there’s one thing Apple is good at, it’s using its supply chain to the max. This suggests Apple may be generally content to stick with the same basic configuration for at least two generations similar to the 3G/3GS, 4/4S.
This imagined iPhone iteration is the one that iphone rumor mongers refer to as the low-cost, “budget” iPhone. Historically, the scuttlebutt of a cheaper iPhone has been around for at least two years with the Wall Street Journal being one of its biggest proponents. However, as of this writing there’s no clear evidence that Apple may be launching any device aimed at the low end of the smartphone market. Nevertheless, this strategy could prove to be very clever, provoking purchases on the part of those who couldn’t afford Apple’s premium-priced flagship product. A cheaper iPhone becomes more probable in the recent wave of cheaper Android phones which have no doubt caused serious problems for Apple’s marketshare.
What might a budget iPhone look like? Well, it will most probably have a plastic casing and come in a variety of designer colors. While the price would be noticeably less than premium iPhone models, it maybe not as low-priced as you might expect: probably as much as $350 at a minimum. This is a far cry from what one might expect from a truly cheap iPhone, even more expensive than most Chromebooks. Under the hood of the cheaper iPhone, nothing is known for sure, though it seems likely that it will have at least the same power capability as the iPhone 4S.
Whatever the release date of iPhone 6 will eventually turn out to be, current thinking about the hardware basis of this iPhone model is that it most likely will sport an upgraded A7 processor. However, in what areas such upgrade might demonstrate improved functionality have yet to be revealed. One rumor on this topic suggests that the iPhone 6 will include, at the very least, a higher capacity battery relative to the current iPhone 5.
Other rumored improvements supposedly offered by iPhone 6 include a major camera upgrade with new dual-LED flash for better scene brightness. Different colored LEDs that fire in sequence and use colors that better matches the scene are reputed to achieve a better white balance. Additionally, the iPhone 6 could feature an improved camera sensor and lens, a possible upgraded sensor of 12- or 13-megapixels, and a lens with wider aperture, increasing light collecting ability relative to earlier models.
The major innovation expected with the next iPhone release is an inbuilt fingerprint scanner as part of the phone’s home button. As such, a durable sapphire crystal, just like what the iPhone 5 uses as a camera lens would cover the iPhone’s home button. Extra protection afforded by the sapphire covering would protect against scratches that might damage the sensor. While this kind of speculation may sound a bit too sci-fi, it isn’t that impossible: sensors such as these have been around since Motorola included them in products like the Atrix 4G. Today Apple may be able to expand this technology idea in a big way, having recently purchased the security firm Authentec, a company whose biometric sensors are suitable to be built right into a phone.
What an Apple iPhone fingerprint scanner be used for remains a subject for even more speculation. Possibilities include device unlocking as well as facilitating secure mobile payments.
Well, that’s all there is for now. Next iPhone release: 25 days away!
The latest news regarding Apple’s next iPhone is that there is, basically, no new news…
Instead, there are just recirculated, aging iPhone rumors, unconfirmed gossip and questionably sourced reports radiating from everywhere between Cupertino and China, going round and round the rumor merry-go-round.
For instance, a popular pontification comprises the notion that iPhone fans will see not one but two new models released come autumn… or next year…. or not. These to-be-named, to-be-seen models include the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6.
With regard to the first of these models, the supposed iPhone 5S, most speculations suggest that this handset will look essentially identical to the iPhone 5. Elsewhere, however, notorious, dubiously-origined “leaked” photos indicate the inclusion of some new features, including a new higher capacity battery, dual LED flash, a 12 megapixel camera and a fingerprint scanner to replace passcodes.
In terms of release date rumors, most hinge on the idea that mid-September release dates are typical for Apple, as this timing has historically paired the rollout of a new iOS with a new iPhone. On that front, Apple has indicated that iOS 7 will be available to the public in the fall of this year. The previous iOS 6 was introduced to developers on June 11, 2012 then released to the public on September 19 — exactly 100 days later. But this time round, iPhone 5S may be only one of two new offerings from Apple, as the rumor mill has continued to proliferate the notion of a second, more affordable line of iPhones. Apple has so far indicated otherwise.
On the topic of “leaks” from dubious sources, the latest from a Chinese site called WeiPhone, is a photo showing candy-colored, plastic casing for the backs of budget phones.
Besides candy colored iPhones that may be less than easy on the eyes, this rumored “budget iPhone” would have many of the core features of the phone with some lower-end hardware and a lower price point: a questionable if not confusing cross between the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and the iPod classic. Yikes!
As Apple has currently fallen behind Samsung Galaxy in sales, a budget iPhone would be a quite reasonable move for Apple in order to reassert lost dominance. In addition, Apple’s new trade-in program, when paired with a rumored budget iPhone would certainly make a lot of sense and be of advantage to Apple in helping to snag a larger share of the smartphone market in places like India and China.
According to yet another unnamed source, an advanced technology 4G-LTE-A iPhone 5S is about to make a debut in South Korea where Apple has reached a deal with SK Telecom in which the next iPhone will be compatible with ultra-fast 4G LTE-A wireless capabilities. 4G LTE-A is the next step after LTE and is expected to be at least twice as fast. Currently, only Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is capable of supporting 4G LTE-A. This development reinforces at least one speculation regarding Apple’s next iPhone: The next phone released is likely to be (or may not be) the iPhone 5S and will arrive sometime in the fall of this year, i.e. around the time of the iOS 7 launch.
An iPhone 6 is still expected be released months later, in early 2014, supposedly debuting Apple’s first large 5.7-inch screen. Yes, this is version A. Version B contemplates that both the iPhone 5S and 6 could be released in September or October, just a few days apart form each other and within a week or two after the release of iOS 7, with the “6″ being the low-cost version.
In the meantime, there are some great deals to be had on iPhone 5.