It’s mid September, and so for iOS fans globally it can only mean one thing – time for new iPhones. In fact this year it’s actually two, as in a break from ‘tradition’, Apple are not just releasing a new flagship phone in the shape of the iPhone 5s, but also the new slightly cheaper iPhone 5c.
Let’s deal with the flagship first. 2013 is an ‘s’ year for iPhones, which has come to mean an incremental bump in specs for the existing iPhone, and the 5s moves last year’s iPhone 5 forward in an evolutionary way. Looks-wise, the 5s is practically the same as the iPhone 5, with the same case design, materials and screen size. There’s new gold and ‘space’ grey colours, but otherwise nothing new externally to report. Under the hood though, the iPhone 5s does include a few notable improvements and enhancements:
- New A7 64-bit chip. Described by Apple as a World-first, the A7 is claimed to be twice as fast as the A6 found in the iPhone 5. Will users know the difference? It’s hard to say, as the 5 was no slouch, but it certainly prepares the way for faster performance for graphics-intensive apps – including possibly CoPilot in the future.
- Fingerprint Recognition. Apple call this ‘TouchID’ and it’s designed to provide a new way to secure your smartphone.
- New and improved ‘iSight’ camera with dual LED flash, larger sensor and other enhancements. Apple claim the iPhone’s camera is already the world’s most popular, although – thanks to Nokia and others – it would be hard to argue that it’s the World’s best. For most though, the improved camera will probably be the most obviously valuable feature in the 5s.
- M7 coprocessor. Perhaps the most surprising new feature of the 5s is it’s new processor dedicated to measuring motion, taking that function away from the device’s main processor. In practice this should allow location-based and fitness apps to track physical activity and movements more efficiently and reducing power consumption. It should also allow for more intelligent detection of speed and types of movement. We will be investigating this for possible future enhancements to CoPilot’s walking and cycling modes.
5s verdict? Just like with previous iPhone ‘S’ models, the 5s takes the iPhone 5 and improves it, but in an incremental way. Think of it like a new model VW Golf – plenty of new features but nothing particularly earth-shattering or different to what went before. That said, it should be enough to win-over those who want the latest and greatest iPhone. Will it tempt those looking for cutting-edge mobile technology and innovative new features away from Samsung’s Galaxy range? Probably not, but it should enable Apple to bridge the gap until the (presumably larger-screened) iPhone 6 arrives this time next year.
The second phone announced by Apple is proving to be slightly controversial. Many Apple watchers and analysts had expected a lower-cost iPhone to help address developing markets and to take-on cheaper Android and Windows Phone devices. The perceived wisdom was that it would be aggressively priced, but have a plastic case and lower specs than the iPhone 5 to avoid cannibalizing sales of the 5s. In the event though, the 5c packs virtually the same specs as the iPhone 5, and is priced only a little lower than the 5s. Perhaps the best way to describe it is the ‘slightly less expensive’ iPhone. The case is indeed plastic, although still maintains a quality feel. What is most notable about the 5c is the rainbow of colours that users can choose from. The monochrome iPhone era of black and white is finally over and the colours extend beyond the case, with matching themes in iOS 7.
5c verdict? It seems that many observers were disappointed about the 5c because of it’s relatively high price. It is thought that this will prevent Apple from achieving a substantial jump in market share. However the 5c does offer a colourful and discounted version of what was, until last week, the flagship iPhone. It can also be assumed that in a year’s time the 5c will drop in price to the level of the now entry-level iPhone 4S. At the price the 5c is unlikely to win the low end of the smartphone market, however with operator subsidies likely to see it offered for free on a contract, the 5c is probably going to be popular nonetheless.
For us, the new iPhones are great platforms for CoPilot. We hope they are successful, and we’ll certainly be working hard to ensure that CoPilot is optimised for them.