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Sneak peek into Apple’s new slices

On September 10, the tech world was glued onto the web, waiting with baited breath for arguably its biggest event of the year: the launch of the iPhone 5S and its supposedly cheap new second cousin, iPhone 5C. Gagandeep Singh Sapra compares the two iPhones.

tech reviews Updated: Sep 17, 2013 15:21 IST
Gagandeep Singh Sapra

On September 10, the tech world was glued onto the web, waiting with baited breath for arguably its biggest event of the year: the launch of the iPhone 5S and its supposedly cheap new second cousin, iPhone 5C.

Let us get some things aside first. The rumour of a ‘cheap’ phone was just that – a rumour. Apple had never corroborated analyst predictions that an inexpensive model would help the company break into markets such as India in a big way. Sometimes technology can’t be made cheap beyond a point without compromising on what it can do.

So, there was no sub-Rs. 20,000 iPhone as such as thought - though cheaper budgets are possible with telecom service contracts.

Now, the phones themselves (the prices are for the ones that are “unlocked” - without any strings attached to data services)

iPhone 5C
$549/`35,000 (16GB) $649/`41,500 (32GB)
Talking point: Plastic body, colour options

This is Apple’s first look at a plastic body that companies such as Nokia and HTC have popularised. The iPhone 5C comes in five gorgeous colours — blue, green, pink, yellow and white — and is a full $100 cheaper than the comparable 5S.

Specs: 4 inch retina screen, A6 processor, larger body (4.9”X2.33”X0.35”) than the iPhone5, 132 grams, rear 8 megapixel camera (with an f/2.4 aperture), front 1.2 megapixel camera camera.

Features: iOS7 pre-installed, iWork app, and a battery that promises 10 ours of talktime on 3G.

Handling: The phone feels very comfortable on the hand, and can be further personalised with accessory covers.

Plastic is not equal to fragile: there is a steel casing under the plastic.

The buttons are all colour-matched to the body, even the screen lock. One did wish that they had colour -coded the earbuds as well, rather than issue standard white ones.

iPhone 5S
$649/`41,500 (16GB), $749/`47,900 (32GB), $849/`54,300 (64GB)
Talking points: New colours, sensitive camera, fingerprint sensor, new OS

Apple popularised the glass-metal combination in its phones, and it has stuck to the formula with the 5S. For variety, there are three new colours --- space grey, silver and gold. The phone starts at the same price point as the iPhone5, which stands discontinued.

Specs: 4” retina screen; rear 8 MP camera (with f2.2 aperture); front 1.2 MP camera with HD video recording; 4.87” X 2.31” X 0.30”; weight: 112 grams; A7 chip (twice as fast as A6); M7 co-chip (motion sensor); nano-SIM

Features: Fingerprint sensor; tru-tone flash, burst mode, slow-motion video; independent motion sensor processor.

The fingerprint sensor in the home button is the talking point of this phone. The fingerprint serves as your unlock passcode, and also as your entry into the iTunes store. It makes the phone more secure, and no one can shop on the store (even by accident) using your phone, even if it is unlocked. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The home button is encircled with a metal ring that detects when you move your finger to the phone to wake up the sensor.

The A7 processor is visibly faster, especially while using apps such as video and audio editing and presentations.

The new co-processor M7 is designed specifically to measure motion data from the accelerometer, so the phone can differentiate between walking and running and driving, and the map mode can automatically change from driving mode to step-by-step mode. Moreover, it will not prompt you to join every unknown w-fi network you pass. If your phone has not moved for sometime, it goes into the idle mode, saving battery life. Get ready for a host of new fitness apps!

The camera is more powerful and sensitive, and the low-light performance is excellent thanks to the tru-tone flash that adjusts in a range of 1,000 shades according to the colour of the subject/ambient colours. With the burst mode, it shoots as long as your finger is on the trigger, at 10 frames per second.

Overall, the phone may not appear much ahead of the current iPhone, but the new processors and the operating system will openup a whole new world. Incidentally, your fingerprint data is stored locally on the phone ALONE. It is not stored on the cloud (Internet storage).