Apple introduces new iPhones at California event

Apple Inc. introduced two new iPhone models at an event designed to showcase the next generation of its mobile phone hardware and software. While the plastic 5C emphasizes affordability and is packaged in an array of bright colors, Apple has positioned the 5S as a premium product featuring high-powered hardware and an aluminum enclosure. The former will be available for preorder on Sept. 13 at prices of $99 and $199 for 16GB and 32GB models with a two-year contract. The latter will be available Sept. 20 at $199 for a 16GB model, $299 for a 32GB model and $399 for a 64GB model, also with two-year contracts.

At the event, which took place at the company’s Cupertino, Calif. campus, Apple CEO Tim Cook characterized the outgoing iPhone 5 as “the most-loved iPhone ever,” noting that, in terms of sales, “it had the most successful first year of any iPhone we’ve ever done.” According to further comments from Cook, the iPhone business has grown to the point where, like Apple’s iPod line, there will be more than one current model of iPhone offered. Currently, the company’s standard practice was to offer one current model of the phone while selling previous versions for reduced prices. This new approach signals a shift in the company’s treatment of its iPhone lineup.

In introducing the iPhone 5S, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller characterized it as “forward-thinking,” and noted its incorporation of advanced technologies. He claimed its internal processor, dubbed the A7, will offer 40 times the computing power of the original iPhone and double the power of the iPhone 5. To demonstrate this power, Epic Games was brought on stage to show the final game in the “Infinity Blade” trilogy, showing off impressive graphics which use the 64-bit enabled A7. In addition to its powerful internal hardware, the phone has also been equipped with an improved camera and a highly adjustable camera flash. The camera has been improved mainly by increasing its lens size and the size of the sensor’s pixels. In software, the company has added a 10 frames-per-second burst mode as well as automatic image stabilization, which should make taking pictures easier. One final feature that was added was a fingerprint scanner built into the home button of the device, intended to increase its security.

The 5C, meanwhile, is a lower-cost device marketed to younger people. Sold with yellow, green, blue, pink and white backs, it is built out of plastic with its steel antenna serving to reinforce the structure of the phone. The colorful enclosures are meant to match the vibrancy of the new iOS7 software, with which all of these phones will come pre-installed. The 5C, however, will not be getting the improved camera, fingerprint scanner or more advanced processor. This sets up a clear divide in the market that Apple hopes will allow more people to purchase new iPhones.

The presentation also included a recap of the new features of the iOS7 operating software and an announcement that Apple’s mobile office suite, iWork, would be free for new iOS device customers.