Monday, September 9, 2013

Apple showcases colorful 5S, 5C iPhones; rolls out iOS 7 update

As expected, the 5S and the 5C iPhones were unveiled on Tuesday, Sept. 10 with a splash of colors.

In the past, a new iPhone announcement was always a magical moment, thanks to all the hype created Apple Inc., the media and Apple fans all around the world. The magic continues with these two devices.

The initial excitement surrounding iPhone announcements started on Jan. 9, 2007, at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, when the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs pulled an iPhone 2G out his pocket. The hoopla surrounding Apple smartphones announcement has been gaining traction every since and there seems to be no end in sight. The true Apple fans can probably name them all, starting with the 2G in 2007, the 3G in 2008, followed by the 3GS in 2009 and the 4G in 2010. We're not done. Then we had the 4S in 2011 and the evolutionary, if not revolutionary, iPhone 5 just a year ago.

Now we have the iPhone 5S, a souped-up doozy of a device with fingerprint reader technology and a 64-bit A7 processor with a 8 megapixel camera has set yet another standard for processing power in mobile devices. Gamers will rejoice, especially if the A7 chip finds its was into future iPads. The 5S will be available in new colors – gold, silver and "space gray" – to go with all that processing power.

The 5C, a colorful cheaper device for emerging markets, will be a fashion statement, with five color cases to choose from. Depending on what mood you're in, you can choose from green, blue, yellow, pink and white. It'll have a 4-inch Retina display and Apple's A6 chip.

The fingerprint sensor technology, which Apple is calling "Touch ID," sounds like a winner, because I, for one, have too many passwords to remember anyway. That feature alone would be worth an upgrade from an older iPhone if I had to do was press the home button to wake the phone and get busy.

I find it surprising that there was no mention of the new iPhones having the Near Field Communication technology, now commonly known as NFC. Apple has stayed away from this short-range wireless communication technology, while other manufacturers, such as Samsung, Nokia, HTC and BlackBerry have been incorporating this feature into their devices since early 2012. Now that NFC Tags and mobile payments are becoming more popular, I can't see Apple staying on the sidelines much longer.

As Apple moves past traditional white and black devices, the gold color for the 5S, the flagship device, attracted the most attention, but I'm not likely to rush into the store for a color change. My black iPhone 5 is serving me well. But iOS 7 will be available for download Sept. 18 and I'll be first in line for the update.

We can kick this news of the latest iPhones around for hours and never get tired, so let's talk pricing. The iPhone 5S is $199 under contract for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB and $399 for the 64GB, while the 5C starts at $99 for the 16 gigabyte model and tops out at $199 for the 32GB model. Both iPhones will be available Sept. 20, so it will be time to start lining up soon.

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