It hasn't even been a year since the original iPhone 5 hit stores, but walk by any Apple store today and you'll find winding lines filled with customers ready to sign phone contracts and shell out a significant amount of cash for the latest version. Today, both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C became available, first online at 12:01 a.m. PT and then in stores at 8:00 a.m. local time.
The iPhone 5S, which starts at $199 with a two-year contract, has a faster Apple A7 processor, a better camera and Apple's new Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor in the home button. Rather than inputting a password, after registering your print with the software, you gain access to your phone with a quick tap on the home button. Even if you're a cat. The new phone comes in three colors now: silver/white, gold and slate gray.
The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, comes in a series of brighter colors, including green, blue and pink. At $99, the 5C is a lower-end model; it has the same camera and A6 processor as last year's iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S will now be free with a two-year contract at a cellular carrier.
Both phones run Apple's latest iOS 7 software, which became available for older iPhones and iPads on Wednesday. The software has a completely new look and design and includes new features like Control Center, which provides easy access to the settings from any screen.
Analysts are predicting the iPhone will do well, both here in the United States and abroad. While it's unclear whether the iPhone 5C will reach customers because of its slightly cheaper price point, it's very likely that both devices will sell well.
Carl Howe, vice president for research and data sciences at the Yankee Group, even says that it could be the biggest consumer electronics launch in history, predicting 12 million units sold from launch to the end of the month. But that's assuming Apple made enough iPhones for everyone. According to reports, the iPhone 5S will be in shorter supply at Apple stores this year.
Those who are going to the stores today, though, to buy a new iPhone shouldn't forget their old iPhone. Apple launched a trade-in program at its stores earlier this month; in exchange for your old phone, Apple offers credit on a new phone or to the store in general. The iPhone 5S and 5C will be available at other retailers today too, including Walmart, Best Buy, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.