Apple shows off two new iPhones
Apple released a gold-colored iPhone 5S and a slightly cheaper, colorful iPhone 5C on Tuesday. Although Apple touted many improvements, some analysts said Tuesday’s presentation offered no surprises after weeks of leaked media reports.
San Jose Mercury News
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Confirming weeks of rumors, Apple executives on Tuesday unveiled a new, gold-colored iPhone 5S and a cheaper iPhone 5C designed to appeal to overseas markets.
The iPhone 5C borrows a page from Apple’s iPods and will come in multiple colors. Prices start at $99 for a 16GB model and $200 for a 32GB model — both with two-year contracts. The 5C features a case made out of plastic.
But Apple marketing head Phil Schiller called the 5C’s higher-end brother, the iPhone 5S, the “most forward-thinking phone ever” that’s been designed to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications and will include a new fingerprint sensor aimed at providing convenient security.
The iPhone 5S will cost $200 for a 16GB model, $300 for a 32GB version and $400 for a 64GB model — all for two-year contracts.
Apple will keep its 8GB iPhone 4S. It will be available for free on a two-year contract.
The iPhone 5S will come in silver, gold and “space gray.”
Preorders for the iPhone 5C and 5S will begin on Friday.
Both phones will be available for sale in the U.S., Australia, China and Canada on Sept. 20.
It’s unclear how the public will react to the announcements.
Some analysts said Tuesday’s presentation offered no news after weeks of leaked media reports.
Apple stock fell $11.53, or 2.28 percent Tuesday to close at $494.64. Shares dipped slightly in after-hours trading.
“There were no surprises at all,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at technology research firm IDC. “Some people are going to be disappointed.”
The iPhone 5C is not a “cheap” version of the iPhone, noted Avi Greengart, an analyst with market-research firm Current Analysis.
“It’s an iPhone 5, just made out of different material,” Greengart said.
Apple’s announcements came as the company arguably needs another hit product. As a company, Apple’s sales growth has slowed to a crawl and its profits have slumped. Meanwhile, its stock price, despite recovering recently, is still down more than 30 percent from the highs it set last year.
While Apple’s iPhone sales have held up better than its tablet and computer sales, they still have been hit by the slowdown in the company’s business.
And thanks to that slowing growth, Apple’s market share in smartphones has slumped.
In the second quarter, Apple held about 14 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, compared with about 19 percent a year earlier, according to Gartner.
One of the attention-grabbing aspects of the iPhone 5S is its new level of security aimed at preventing anyone else from accessing the phone. Apple’s fingerprint recognition “Touch ID” sensor is designed to scan through the sub-epidermal layer of skin.
Fingerprint information will be encrypted and stored inside the A7 chip and will not be backed up to the iCloud or to Apple’s servers, according to an Apple video.
The Touch ID technology also can be used to make purchases at any of Apple’s iPhone stores — to buy books, music, movies and apps — without entering a password.
Forrester Analyst Frank Gillett called the new fingerprint-security system “jaw droppingly easy” and “the first painless biometric I’ve seen.”
Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum, said, “Apple is certainly offering meaningful innovation here. Moving to a 64-bit architecture means Apple can genuinely claim to have brought something new to the smartphone party.
It should certainly help the company further cement its lead as a mobile gaming platform and will give the Android fraternity something to think about in a space whose significance is sometimes downplayed beyond the gaming world.”
Apple executives began their presentation by announcing that the iOS 7 operating system will be available for download Sept. 18 for iPhone 4 models and above and for the iPad 2 models and above.
The biggest change comes in the new system’s design: Instead of app icons that try to mimic real-world counterparts, Apple is favoring simplicity and consistency from app to app. The new 5C phones were designed to complement the color scheme found in the new operating system.
As previously announced, users will be able to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access a control center, for such functions as turning on airplane mode and adjusting brightness.
The calendar has been cleaned up and looks more streamlined.
Users can also get to their contacts list quickly while reading messages by swiping from the left of the screen.
A featured called AirDrop will let people share content with other Apple devices.
There’s also better organization of photos taken on iPhones.
Instead of the endless streams of the past, pictures will be organized into moments — such as “home” or “trip to San Francisco.”
The Siri virtual assistant is getting refreshed, too. People will be able to choose a male voice, not just a female one as is currently the case.
In addition, the iOS 7 system includes Apple’s new streaming music service, iTunes Radio.
The service will personalize listeners’ music based on what they’ve listened to and what they’ve purchased on iTunes. If they like a song, they can buy it through iTunes with one click.
Owners of older iPhones can get the iOS update for free starting next Wednesday.
Just respond to the prompt when it comes or go to “Software Update” in the settings under “General.”
Apple said that iOS 7 will be available to download and install on the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and still later, the iPad Mini and the fifth-generation iPod Touch, the one released last year.
Apple will make its iWork package of apps — Pages for word processing, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations — available on iPhones and iPads for free. The apps were $10 each.
Apple is also making the iPhoto and iMovie apps available. Those were $5 each.
Material from The Associated Press is used in this report.