Apple's CEO Tim Cook kick-started the event, of course in his trademark uniform of a black button-up shirt and dark jeans. Most of the announcements he made seem directed at beating Google's Android platform at having the market share in new markets. The Android platform has been having a fast growth in emerging markets, especially Asia, and Apple now appears to have rededicated its efforts to penetrate these markets and expand its customer base.
The highlights of the event were:
• Launch of two new iPhones: iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S
• iOS 7 release date announcement
• iWork updates
• Siri upgrade
Apple Introduces 2 New iPhones
Apple reached a new level of its iPhone business with the iPhone 5, and we have been expecting even better ever since. In the past, the release of a new iPhone has been accompanied by lowering of the price of the previous device. However, this year prices for iPhone 5 remain the same as it is replaced with two new designs.
The two iPhones, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, will be available for pre-order on September 20. It is expected that they will be available in China too.
iPhone 5S: Apple's New Flagship Phone
The iPhone 5S has been labeled "the most forward-thinking phone ever made” even before it hits the stores. It is similar to the iPhone 5 in size and thickness, and it's available in three colors: gold, gray, and silver. It is made of high-grade aluminum, which Apple’s marketing chief Philip Schiller called "the gold standards in smartphones."
The most outstanding thing about the iPhone 5S is its speed. With a 64-bit A7 chip – the first phone ever to use this kind of chip – the new iPhone has speeds that are 40 times greater than those of the first iPhone. The graphics power is also impressive; looking at the phone feels like looking on a PC gaming device.
Battery life has been improved from iPhone 5. With the iPhone 5S, the battery can last 10 hours 3G talk time and its standby life is 250 hours. Monitoring motion will also be possible thanks to the new Apple M7 chip. It bears similarity to the X8 computing system used by Motorola for its Moto X. With this chip, app makers will be able to detect movement of the users throughout the day, like the total number of steps they take. It also saves on battery.
The camera system has also been improved. It features an f.2.2 aperture for better night photos. It also features a dual-LED rear-camera flash for better photos in low light. This type of flash – dual-LED flash – extends the distance of the camera flash. Other new features are a 10 frames-per-second burst mode and a slow-motion video for 120 frames-per-second recording.
As rumored, the home button for the screen is a fingerprint scanner Apple calls Touch ID. The security of the iPhone has just become better with Touch ID because you no longer have to worry about forgetting the passcode for the phone or go through the hassle of typing in a series of numbers just to get a weather update. You use Touch ID by clicking on the home button and holding down the finger for a couple seconds. It can read a finger at any angle and you can even teach it to recognize multiple fingers to allow other people access to the phone. In case you are concerned about security, Touch ID can be turned off.
The iPhone 5S will be available for a two-year contract at a cost of $199 for 16 gigabytes, $299 for 32 gigabytes, and $399 for 64 gigabytes.
iPhone 5C: Candy-Colored and Cheaper
The iPhone 5C comes as was predicted, with a plastic body and 5 new bright colors: red, white, green, blue, and yellow. The face of the phone is black and no seams, joints or flat lines are visible even with close inspection. The inside also features a new construction. There is a 4-inch retina display, 8 megapixel camera, and a new FaceTime camera.
Regarding cell service, Schiller said “It supports more LTE bands than any smartphone in the world.”
The phone comes with a two-year contract at a cost of $99 for the 16 gigabytes version and $199 for the 32 gigabytes version. The predicted full price by analysts is $55o
Being the less expensive iPhone, it is expected that the iPhone 5C will be Apple's flag bearer in a number of emerging markets where the majority of customers cannot afford the current Apple products. These markets have hundreds of millions of people buying smartphones every year. They include China, India, and Russia.
iOS 7 Coming Sept. 18
The iOS 7, showcased earlier in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference, was unveiled today. It brings over 200 new features among them a design that makes the iPhone screen seem totally new. This design sports stark open white space that will be a welcome sight for users who want a the calming effect of white. With the thin iconography and the flat new design, iOS 7 is a far cry from its 1980s-era skeuomorphic.
One of the features of iOS 7 is a live streaming music service Apple calls the iTunes Radio. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering, said that there are also several apps being developed around the new interface. A demo of the new Camera app showed that its speed beats that of the app in iOS 6. A slick user interface allows zooming out to a year view, with the user's photos showing in tiny icons. There is also built-in access to live photo filters and new organization capabilities for images by time and location.
The new operating system is laden with processor-intense features and it offers full multitasking capabilities. This could adversely affect the battery life of iPhone 4S and other older iPhones, but we wait to see. Apple has maintained that this will be the most popular mobile OS.
According to Federighi, “iOS 7 will be available — unbelievably, for free — on Sept. 18.”
Shipping of the operating system will begin next month to iOS device users, making 700 million devices new for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.
At Last Siri Receives an Upgrade
Apple has made this year Siri's year in the spotlight. The company released an upgrade for the popular voice-activated digital assistant so that iPhone users can get an improved Siri experience. The upgrade features a new male voice. There are also a number of new voice commands that include searching on a number of sites on the Web like Wikipedia.
Over the last couple of years, Apple has been hard at work to improve Siri following negative feedback and reviews after he (Siri) could not understand some of the things customers were saying. The upgrade has also been influenced by the competition between Apple and giant rival Google Android operating system's voice command features.
Apps on iWork Platform Now Free
Cook also announced a few welcome updates for iWork. iWork is the productivity software for Apple responsible for the apps on iPhones and iPads. Some of these apps include the Keynote, Numbers, and Pages apps.
Cook said that iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Numbers, and Pages were now available for free. Anyone with a new iPhone or iPad will be able to download these apps free of charge.
He also said of iWork, “No other platform has any apps like these.”
The London iTunes Festival
One of the biggest announcements Mr. Cook made was of the iTunes Festival that is taking place in London from 1-30 September. The festival is an annual event that involves 30 nights of free live music performances. This year it unfolds at the Roundhouse art centre and some of the names Cook threw that will be performing were Lady Gaga, the curtain raiser, and Justin Timberlake. Among the other singers making appearances are Katy Perry, Queens of the Stone, and Kings of Leon.
According to Cook, the concerts will be streamed live in over 100 countries across the world. After the performances, they will also be available on iTunes for free. Users of Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, and laptops will therefore not miss out on anything even if they don't make it to London. The number that has already applied for tickets to the event is so far 20 million.
Cook also pointed out to Apple's retail growth by announcing a new Apple store that boasts a museum-like appearance with glass on three sides. Stanford, California is home to the store, which opened last weekend.