Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts about the iPhone 5C and 5S

Apple just recently announced the iPhone 5C and 5S.

  • The 5C offers changes over the 5 such as:
    • larger battery
    • better front facetime camera
    • plastic cover (not seen as an improvement, but maybe it is ok)
    • $99 base cost with contract ($100 cheaper than iPhone 5 at the start) for 16GB storage
    • $549 base cost for no contract (same as iPhone 5 now) for 16GB storage
  • The 5S offers:
    • a new processor, the A7, the first at 64-bit
    • a first-time co-processor, the M7, to handle motion tracking
    • It also has a fingerprint ID system which can work in place of a password.
    • better front facetime camera
    • Rear camera is improved with larger F-stop and better rich color flash.
    • $199 base cost with contract for 16GB storage
    • $649 base cost for no contract for 16GB storage
  • Both include a free download of a suite of applications previously for a cost of about $40, making the iPhone much more like OS X (with the notable absence of GarageBand).  I'm told that a NEW iPhone 4S and other devices activated as new with iOS7 will also come with the apps for free, but your existing devices do not.
    • iWork: keynote, numbers, pages
    • iLife: iMovie, iPhoto
  • Apple put a lot of effort into making cases to sell with the new phones

I think we know what we get with the 5C.  Time will tell if people like the plastic and if they enable Apple to make any inroads in China or India.  I currently have no facts to lead me to think it will.

The value of the 5S is more uncertain.  Only one application was demonstrated - the game Infinity Blade III.  The rest was "the promise of the future".  The M7 chip may enable new apps using the sensor.   If so, it was not demonstrated.

Apple is much more in a "promise of the future" mode as time goes by:
  • iPhone 5C and 5S announced but not yet available.  The value of the 5S is likely greater than many pundits have suggested, but it is not yet fully known.
  • iOS7 announced long ago and still not available
  • OS X Mavericks announced long ago and no date for release announced
  • Apple TV updates coming but not yet available
  • Mac Pro with thunderbolt 2 -  announced long ago but not available and no date for release announced
  • People are expecting new Mac Pros with Haswell processors, but this is not even getting pre-announced.
This mode is dangerous to current profits, in my opinion.  I am inclined not to buy, but to wait and see. Even the retina displays for laptops... Has the promise won out?  I work with people using these displays and the core value has not been made ultimately clear to me.

Only the Macbook Air is currently in a state of "huge value, buy now" with the long battery life via Haswell processor power (Mavericks is not needed to get very long battery life).

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