• Apple's September 11th Event Wrap-Up, All The Rumours Were True Edition


    In the shortest Apple event in recent memory, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, complete with un-capitalised product names and a price tag that's anything but cheap. More on that in a bit.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook opened the event after greeting people in Beijing, Berlin, and Tokyo with a talk about the lesser-known iTunes Festival, an Apple event that doesn't get a whole heap of press. Apple's iTunes Festival has been running for seven years now, and with opening acts such as Lady Gaga and featuring Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry, it's actually a bigger deal than you might think. Plus, it's streamed live to over 100 countries.


    Apple's focus is now on Retail back home, after mostly completing their expansions elsewhere (read: Asia). The new Stanford store in California looks amazing with glass on three sides and a cantilevered roof. Their hero shot on Apple's Retail page perfectly showcases Apple's attention to detail: the seams in the roof, glass, and pavement outside all line up perfectly.


    Apple confirmed this was the month they'll be releasing iOS 7 to the public. After a short summary of the features from Craig Federighi including Siri's new ability to read tweets, new notification sounds, and a few hair compliments he also announced the release date. IOS 7 officially hits on September 18th, supporting everything after and including the iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPad mini, and fifth generation iPod touch. Apple's also released the Gold Master build for developers.


    Oh, and iWork for iOS has also gone free. The best-selling mobile productivity apps just went free, possibly in lieu of an update to bring them in line with the new visual style of iOS 7. But Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, and iMovie for iOS are now free. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that there's no GarageBand in that list; Apple doesn't hate music, but licensing restrictions on the loops and such would have prevented that from going free also.

    But we all were all up and watching liveblogs (Apple didn't stream the event, also the first time in recent memory they have not done so) at 3am for a new iPhone, and in this regard, we were not disappointed. Cumulative iPhone sales have seen some impressive growth with every new iPhone introduced, and this iPhone will be no different.


    First on stage was the iPhone 5c, which Apple have seemed to stylise with a lower-case "c". It's a cheaper device, designed to be a little more fun and colourful than the "normal" iPhone. It comes in a range of colours with sensible-sounding names like green, white, blue, pink, and yellow, all applied to a unibody hard-coated polycarbonate material. It's plastic, but the seamless sides and back mean it looks a lot more expensive than "plastic" sounds.


    The iPhone 5c has the same 4-inch display as the current iPhone 5, the same A6 processor, the same 8-megapixel rear camera, but that's where the similarities end. The iPhone 5c has a bigger battery, a newer front-facing FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination and bigger pixels on the sensor (think better low-light photos, and better selfies), and an improved mobile chip that means it supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world.

    The iPhone 5c is beautifully, unapologetically, plastic, and the it'll be launching with iOS 7 on September 20th in 9 countries including Australia, with pre-orders opening on September 13th. It comes in 16 or 32GB capacities, and will retail for $739 or $869 respectively, for an unlocked, off-contract version from Apple.


    Apple weren't quite done however, with Phil Schiller introducing the next iPhone, the iPhone 5s. They're adding a new colour to the lineup, and tweaking an existing one: gold is the newcomer to the lineup, with the anodised black version being replaced in favour of a new, space grey model. It doesn't look too bad.


    The new iPhone 5s might look pretty similar on the outside, but the internals are all-new: it's packing the brand-new A7 SoC, which is the first 64-bit chip on any smartphone, ever. IOS 7 has also been completely re-engineered to be completely optimised for 64-bit operation, with all new instructions and seamless 32-bit and 64-bit support. Speed wise, Apple says the new A7 is twice as fast as existing chips.


    There's also a new motion coprocessor in Apple's A7, and what it does is continually measure motion sensor data in order to provide a motion-based context for apps, enabling a new generation of health and fitness apps. It means Apple can introduce a new CoreMotion API for developers, along with a new Nike+ Move app that can tell if you're stationary, moving, driving, or whatever else.

    Battery life on the new iPhone 5s is slightly improved over the current iPhone 5: 10 hours of browsing over LTE and 250 hours on standby, compared to 8 hours and 225 hours on the current iPhone 5. You can really tell that battery tech has reached its peak with these kinds of numbers: if Apple could double the battery life of the iPhone with reasonable costs, don't you think they would?


    The new camera system is also worthy of note. There's a new Apple-designed lens in the iPhone 5s, one with five elements and f/2.2 aperture. Again, a small improvement over the f/2.4 aperture of the current iPhone 5. There's a larger sensor with 15% more active area, and that in combination with bigger pixels on the sensor means a better picture, especially in low-light. It's capable of a 10 frames per second burst mode, and there's a new "true-tone" LED flash that combines a warm-temperature LED with a cool one in order to get natural skin tones even in the harshest of lighting conditions. It's pretty smart tech.


    On the software side of things, the camera app in iOS 7 has been designed to take advantage of all these new features. The camera automatically takes a few images and picks the best, features built-in image stabilisation. In terms of video, the new video camera in the iPhone 5s does 720p video at 120 frames per second, which is pretty neat. The new camera app also automatically adjusts exposure when you're doing a panorama, meaning you'll get an accurately-exposed image no matter the variation in brightness across your panorama. Nice!


    The third big feature of the iPhone 5s was one that has been rumoured since the beginning of time. Yes, the new iPhone has a fingerprint sensor, and Touch ID is the key you take everywhere with you. You can now register fingerprints, and the new fingerprint sensor built into the home button can read them in any orientation, with 360-degree readability. The icon on the home button is no more, instead there's a new ring that turns on the detection sensor, meaning you can simply touch your home button to unlock your phone.


    You can also scan your fingerprint to authenticate iTunes purchases, which means you'll can say goodbye to entering your iTunes password. The videos Apple showed (up on the Apple website) seemed to indicate the fingerprint sensor works pretty well I know consumer fingerprint tech hasn't exactly been the most secure or seamless, with current fingerprint implement sensors either being too lenient or too stringent but if anyone can pull this off, it's Apple. No worries about your fingerprints being stolen by the NSA either, as your fingerprint patterns are stored encrypted on the device itself and never transmitted to any first or third party.


    And with that, Schiller laid out the price points for the iPhone 5s. It's available in three capacities like the current iPhone, at three different price points: the 16GB comes in at $869, 32GB at $999, and 64GB at $1129. It's a little more expensive than what the iPhone 5 was, but not altogether unexpected: the Australian dollar isn't where it was, and Apple's prices have always been a little on the high side of the spectrum. Like the iPhone 5c, the iPhone 5s will be available for pre-order on September 13th, with general availability on September 20th. Same countries as before, which means us Australians get it day one.


    After that, Tim Cook shared a few other tidbits about Apple's vision, and introduced Elvis Costello to play us out Apple has traditionally had musical guests for their iPod and music-focused events, so this is nothing new.

    Kind of like those iPhones, really. Remember when we didn't know everything about Apple's upcoming products?

    Watch the recap of Apple's event right here.

    Photos and images via The Verge and Apple.
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