Apple's Newly Announced $99 iPhone 5C, $199 iPhone 5S Coming September 20 (AAPL)
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) unveiled two highly-anticipated smartphones today -- the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.
Both are due on September 20 and are pretty much identical to what the rumors suggested. The former is a low-cost iPhone that starts at $99 (with a two-year contract) for the 16GB model, and moves up to $199 for the 32GB iteration. Customers will pay a hefty $549 to $649 to get the device without a contract.
It will come in a variety of colors -- green, white, pink, blue and yellow -- and contain the same processor and feature set as last year's iPhone 5.
The FaceTime HD camera is supposed to be all-new, but this is essentially the same iPhone that consumers grew to love in September 2012. The only difference now is that the price is lower and that the shell is made of plastic.
The iPhone 5S was another predictable reveal. Apple did its best to pile on the specifications (which is unusual for a company that has previously backed away from numbers), noting that the device will come with an all-new system-on-a-chip. Known to consumers as the A7, Apple proudly announced that it will be the world's first 64-bit chip for a smartphone.
With two times the general purpose registers and over one billion transistors, the iPhone 5S sounds like it's going to be one very impressive device. Apple claims that it is more than twice as fast as the previous iPhone with a 40x CPU performance increase and a graphics processor that is 56 times faster.
The iPhone 5S will also run OpenGL ES 3.0, which will help in powering Epic Games' newly announced Infinity Blade III.
In addition to the A7 processor, Apple has also added a new component: M7. Defined as a "motion co-processor," M7 works alongside A7 to continuously measure motion data. This includes the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.
Apple said that this would enable a "new generation of health and fitness apps." Nike (NYSE: NKE) is already taking advantage of it with an all-new app called "Nike+Move."
The iPhone 5S will come with 10 hours of 3G talk time and 10 hours of LTE browsing. It can rest in standby for 250 hours.
As attractive as that may be for someone looking to keep a phone turned on without using it, the new camera is likely to gain more attention. It contains a sensor that has a 15 percent larger active area than the camera featured in the iPhone 5. It also comes with a F2.2 aperture and true tone flash (the dual-LED flash that everyone has been waiting for).
One of the flashes is cool and white -- the other is warm and amber. In theory, this will allow users to take photos that more accurately represent the look and feel of the actual environment.
As expected, the camera software has been designed to set the white balance and exposure automatically.
The iPhone 5S can also record HD video at 720p with varying frame rates. With the 120FPS setting, users can shoot slow-motion video.
Last but not least, Apple confirmed the reason why it acquired AuthenTec last year: to bring fingerprint scanning to the iPhone.
The new feature, Touch ID, is built into the new touch home button. In short, users will be able simply touch the home button to unlock the iPhone. If they prefer, they can choose to enter a pass code instead.
Apple's official Touch ID specs are as follows:
- Touch ID capacitive sensor
- 170 microns thin
- 500 ppi resolution
- Scans sub-epidermal skin layers
- 360-degree readability
Touch ID is not just for unlocking the phone, however. Users will also be able to touch the home button to authenticate online purchases, such as new apps from the App Store.
This is the feature that ABG Sundal Collier analyst Per Lindberg was talking about when he told Benzinga that Apple wanted to become the champion of mobile commerce.
To ease consumers' concerns about security, Apple insists that the fingerprint data is encrypted and stored securely in the phone. Apps cannot access the data, nor will it be uploaded to Apple's servers or backed up to iCloud.
Due for release alongside the iPhone 5C on September 20, the iPhone 5S will retail for $199 (16GB model), $299 (32GB) and $399 (64GB). If purchased without a contract, the iPhone 5S will cost $649 (16GB model), $749 (32GB) and $849 (64GB)
Both devices will arrive in the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom simultaneously.
Eager customers can pre-order the iPhone 5S on September 13.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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