The rumors floating around the release of Apples new iPhones, 5s and 5c, have been clarified with today’s press release.
Hardware-wise, the iPhone 5c is essentially a slightly improved version of the iPhone 5, sporting a “beautifully, unapologetically plastic” case, a higher capacity battery, and shares a new front facing camera with that of the 5s; the iPhone 5s, however, offers a greater revamp with faster processors, fingerprint security, and a better camera.
Underneath its aluminum shell, the iPhone 5s houses the new A7 chip and an M7 motion coprocessor, which work together under the faster 64-bit architecture and allows for maximal use of motion sensing apps. A more advanced security feature is included in the form of a fingerprint identity sensor, providing access only to the owner and to whomever they wish to share the device with.
While the display remains the same, the camera and video recording capabilities of the iPhone 5s exceeds that of all other iPhones. The camera uses a true tone flash, adjusting to lighting conditions, instead of the previously used, monotonous LED flash. Additionally, it allows for burst mode photography for when you want to find the perfect picture of a moving target. The front facing camera is 1.2 MP and allows for 720p HD video recording with a backside illumination sensor—a vast improvement from the VGA quality camera from previous iPhones.
The spec improvements are not the only things that make the new iPhones amazing; the new iOS7 that they come equipped with blow everything else out of the water. All the improvements are made to maximize both the efficiency and user interface of the phones. There are 10 major features attributed to iOS7 : control center, multitasking, Safari, Air Drop, iCamera, Siri, iOS in the car, app store, music & iTunes Radio, and the activation lock.
Previously, users have had to tap on the settings icon and rummage through different categories in order to tinker with the display, WiFi connection, volume, etc. The addition of the control center allows users to simply swipe up from anywhere and having immediate access to all the main parameters available—there’s no need to go through a list of items to change what you want.
Multitasking works to conserve as much energy as possible while being as pragmatic as possible. On the energy conservation front, it adapts to network conditions and coalesces updates. In terms of practicality, it essentially learns the usage patterns of each app and performs background cycles accordingly. For example, if someone were to open Facebook every evening and their mail every 3 hours, the new iPhones will learn to recognize the pattern and get the most updated info from these apps early evening and every 3 hours, respectively. Together with the usage pattern recognition, iOS7 will also open an app and keep it in the background when it expects you to use it.
Safari gets a new interface and new built-in functions from its predecessors. It now has a smart search field, looking for the top URL hits, Google searches, and bookmarks that match the phrase. The search histories have also been cached so that sideways swiping allows you to switch between histories.
Air Drop acts similarly to NFC (near field communication), but less mechanical and more efficient. Normally, NFC requires tapping phones together or creating one-on-one wireless connections for file sharing between devices. The addition of Air Drop allows you to instantly share a file to all proximal friends of your choosing at the same time. The recipient will simply receive an icon and can choose to accept the file or not.
The iCamera app comes with new filter and management features. With a variety of filters available, they can be applied to a picture and alter the ambience, which is all fine and dandy. What it can also do is apply filters before the image is taken, so you will know what it will look like under each filter beforehand. iCamera can also organize photos based on time and location—instead of a stream of images inundating the phone screen, the separation of images offers a sense of meticulousness.
Siri also gets a few nifty upgrades. Its voice changed from her monotonous tone to a more engaging one. Also, Siri can also become a “he!” Users can now switch between female and male voices in various languages, the list of which will be included as time passes. The new Siri will understand a wider range of commands than it previously did allowing for more hands free action. Along with the increased commands, it now integrates Wikipedia and Bing results when being consulted.
iOS7 will be able to work seamlessly with cars with built in screens. One can basically have iOS7 on the car screen. That, coupled with Siri, users can experience a completely hands and eyes free car experience with the new iPhone 5s and 5c.
The app store now includes 2 new categories for searching apps: age range and location. The “age range” category is self-explanatory; it shows apps that are appropriate for different ages from children to teens to adults. The app store can also suggest popular apps based on location, taking the physical environment into account to maximize the user’s experience. Additionally, apps will no longer have countless update notifications—they will do so automatically!
The music app gets a revamp and now has iTunes Radio built in. The main improvement is that it can now access music from the iCloud as well as your music library. iTunes Radio offers a myriad of station suggestions, including trending songs from social media such as Twitter. Similar to Pandora Radio, one can also create stations based on a song, artist, or genre.
Finally, the activation lock is added for increased security. It works off the “Find My iPhone” app. One of the worst fates of an iPhone user is that their phone is stolen, wiped clean and refurbished for the use of others. With activation lock, this will no longer be the case. In the unfortunate chance that this happens, anyone who turns off “Find My iPhone” or wipes the phone clean will still have to log into the iCloud before being able to reactivate it.
The new iPhone’s iOS7 is, as Tim Cook says, the “biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.” Is his comment befitting of the technological titan? Let us know your thoughts!