Apple execs unveiled two new iPhone 5 devices and an improved iOS 7 operating system in Cupertino today, including hot new features such as fingerprint security, a faster processor and a more intuitive user interface.
Among the iOS 7 improvements are a new Safari browser, two Siri voices an intuitive interface to start your day with weather and driving information, and improved workflow apps that compete directly with Microsoft Office.
The new iPhones include the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S.
Priced at $99 for 16 GB and $199 for a 32 GB version, both including a two-year contract, The iPhone 5C is encased in steel-reinforced polycarbonate with the steel acting as an antennae for improved reception. It has a standard 4-inch retina display powered by the Apple A6 chip and a battery that is slightly larger than the original iPhone 5. Has an 8MP camera, like iPhone 5, but with larger pixels.
According to marketing chief Phil Schiller, the iPhone 5C supports more LTE (long term evolution) bandwidths than any other phone in the world, which is likely a key to the performance improvement.
The phone is available in five new colors.
Keeping with that theme, Schiller said the second phone in the lineup, the iPhone 5S, is the “gold standard in phones.”
Cook said Apple is xpected to ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month. By contrast, Google recently said it has activated 1 billion Android devices.
The iPhone 5S features a new 64-bit A7 processor, immediately taking the device into a category of its own. The processor features more than 1 billion transistors and supports both 32- and 64-bit apps. Schiller said the new phone is 40 times faster than the original iPhone.
The phone also includes the M7 motion coprocessor which continuously delivers accelerometer, gyroscope and compass data necessary for precision motion apps such as games and fitness apps. The new chip and its accompanying CoreMotion API can tell if it is stationary, walking, running or driving, said Schiller.
Another new feature of the phone is a new Apple-designed camera with larger image sensors and a larger aperture. The camera can take multiple photos in rapid succession and choose the best automatically, or provide short-burst fast or slow motion video. The camera automatically chooses between LED flashes to provide the best lighting for the picture.
Perhaps the most interesting new feature is fingerprint security, said Schiller.
“The best current system for securing your device is the passcode, but about half of all users don’t even use that,” he said. The new Touch ID fingerprint security system, created from the acquisition of Authentec last year, provides an easier security feature that is more likely to be used, he said.
The Touch ID sensor recognizes the touch of a finger so the sensor is only activated when needed, preserving battery life. All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely in the Secure Enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s; it’s never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud.
Touch ID can also be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store.
Prices for the iPhone 5S are $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.