Come Sept. 20, the iPhone 5 that you know and love is plucked from Apple's tree for good. "We are going to replace it with not one but two new designs," said CEO Tim Cook at today's big Apple reveal.
Those hoping for an iPhone 5 price drop may have to resort to seedy cell phone shops and eBay auctions, but Apple's new products may satisfy their need for a cheap and capable phone.
The iPhone 5C
The first device revealed by Apple, the 5C is certainly more colorful than any other Apple phone, perhaps even more colorful than any iPod. Instead of the metallic finishes that usually adorn Apple products, the 5C's color scheme looks like it was designed by either a candy manufacturer or an elementary school art class.
However, Apple emphasizes that though it looks playful, it is still a phone equal in power and performance to the iPhone 5. Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of marketing, said that the company also hasn't skimped on its structure, saying that the 5C is reinforced with steel. "You are going to be blown away by how rigid and great it feels in your hand," said Schiller.
The iPhone 5S
While Schiller didn't talk much about how iPhone 5C differed from the iPhone 5, he was glad to talk about what makes the 5S special. The 5S now houses the 64-bit A7 processor, which the company promises will be a big leap in both CPU performance and graphical processing compared to the iPhone 5.
Aside from the improved processing power, Apple unveiled a new security measure: the fingerprint sensor that had been speculated about for nearly a month: a fingerprint sensor embedded into the home button.
The fingerprint sensor and software package, called Touch ID, was Apple's response to over half its iPhone users forgoing any type of security password or PIN. "We can set up a passcode, but some people find that too cumbersome," said Schiller.
Rather than have users walk around with a phone ripe for the picking, Apple wants its users to protect their phone from unauthorized users and use Touch ID. After a user places his or her thumb on the home button, Apple says that the phone "reads the fingerprint at a very detailed level." In addition to accessing your phone itself, the thumbprint can also be used to log into iTunes.
iOS 7 Recap
In addition to showing off the new iPhone designs, Apple also recapped many of the features that will be coming to iOS 7, the latest version of the mobile operating system. Craig Federigh, Apple's vice president of software engineering, said that iOS 7 has more than 200 new features compared to its predecessor.
Devices that have iOS 7 will have easy access to frequently toggled options via Control Center, a hub that can be accessed from anywhere on the phone. Control Center will let users toggle commonly used options, like Wi-Fi, airplane mode, and the device's music player. Other improvements include an improved camera app with photo catalog and improved music app with iTunes Radio.
The Dates and the Prices
The iPhone 5C will be available to pre-order starting Friday, Sept. 13, and start shipping and be available for purchase on Sept. 20. The 5S will be available for orders and in stores starting on Sept. 20. The 5C starts at $99 while the 5S starts at $199, both with two-year contracts.
But for those who are looking forward to iOS 7, the new operating system will be released on Wednesday, Sept. 18. In addition, it will be a free update, something you don't hear very much from Apple's mouth.
Finally, for those that want a dirt-cheap phone, Apple will also offer the iPhone 4S for free with a two-year contract. The iPhone 5 may effectively be kaput, but technostalgists can still reminisce about the good old days, when Siri was just a young girl.