By Gabriel Melrod
As I round the corner and turn onto Bethesda Row on Friday, September 20, I can’t help but notice the 250 or so loyal Apple customers lining up to get their hands on the new iPhone 5S and 5C loaded with iOS7. This is a big year for the technology giant as they embark on a complete overhaul of their mobile software as well as minor hardware tweaks to the current iPhone 5. Apple has also introduced a second, less expensive iPhone to their lineup called the 5C, which has a colorful polycarbonate backing instead of the traditional aluminum.
The iPhone 5S now features an imbedded fingerprint scanner in the home button. This will allow users to unlock the phone as well as make purchases from the iTunes store with the touch of their finger. In the past, various Android phones have included biometrics (fingerprint-scanning) into hardware without success. The 2011 Motorola Atrix 4G, for example, had a fingerprint scanner on its rear, but users complained of frequent malfunctions. Time will tell how Apple's foray into mobile biometrics pans out and whether fingerprints are a viable security measure for the mobile market or just a gimmick.
Along with the fingerprint scanner, Apple has improved their camera. The iPhone 5S camera now features a “true-tone” flash that allows it to give exactly the right amount of light to pictures. They have also added a slow motion video feature alongside the usual 30 frames per second in 1080p HD. Another new feature to the iPhone's video camera functionalities is an active 3x video zoom - something that has never been available to iPhone users before. And displaying these high-quality media is an improvement to Apple's famous, high pixel density Retina display.
Along with these external features the iPhone 5S now includes two processors, the updated A7 chip with a 64-bit architecture as well as the M7 chip for motion processing.
Apple's second phone release is the iPhone 5C, a cheaper iPhone targeted at the newly opened Chinese market in an attempt to breach the problem of pricey phones overseas. The 5C is essentially an iPhone 5, but replacing the aluminum is a solid piece of Polycarbonate (plastic). The C in 5C stands for color - and Apple certainly delivers on this front giving consumers a choice of green, blue, yellow, pink or white. Apple has also created their own set of cases intended to match every color iPhone 5C, giving consumers the chance to personalize their product. The 5C will be sold at $99 for the 16 GB version and $199 for the 32 GB versions, each of which is $100 less than its 5S counterpart.
If you don’t feel like spending any money but still want to give your iPhone a fresh feel, you can simply upgrade to the new iOS7 software that has been available for download via iTunes since September 18. iOS7 is Apple's first major mobile software update in years, and it is certainly unlike anything Apple has ever used. Apple's design team completely redesigned icons, colors, and menu schemes. Additionally, users will appreciate the new "control center," which houses frequently accessed options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, music controls, and a built-in flashlight. This menu can be accessed anytime by swiping up on the screen from the very bottom. Users will also see differences in the messages, calendar, photos, and camera applications, which have all had a complete makeover making them unrecognizable to a seasoned iPhone user, yet friendly and inviting.
Smaller changes have also been made to the folders and safari applications which are noticeable but don’t require as much relearning. All in all Apple has once again done a terrific job of reinventing the phone and continues to impress its loyal costumers.
All images taken from Apple Inc.