Apple had it’s iPhone event last night and for the first time did something very different. Apple introduced two smartphones, one called the iPhone 5c and the other being the more expensive iPhone 5s. Apple has always introduced just one phone every year unlike its competitors who sold multiple models for different types of users.
iPhone 5c: A colourful iPhone 5
The iPhone 5c will feature with more or less the same specifications as the iPhone 5 from last year (except iPhone 5c is plastic), except it will feature iOS 7 and also show up in many different colours.The phone features a A6 processor and a 4-inch screen with Retina Display. I think this phone will probably end up exciting current iPhone owners but might not impress the high end Android owners as much. I mentioned Android phone users because this phone was supposed to be the cheaper iPhone with an eye towards capturing a big share of emerging markets like India and China.
The phone though might have been dubbed as the cheaper iPhone for emerging markets like China and India. The phone is being priced competitively in the US for $99 for the 16GB model and $199 for the 32 GB model. But those prices are with a 2-year phone contract and the phone without a contract is $549. That at today’s exchange rate will be over Rs. 35,000 in India! That is not a cheap phone by any means. If Apple was hoping to capture the emerging market with iPhone 5C, it might have got it wrong.
iPhone 5s – the real iPhone upgrade
With iPhone 5s, Apple has sort of escaped the iterated improvements on their phones. The phone will ship in 3 different colours, featuring a 4 inch diagonal screen with retina display. The camera will support taking photos in burst mode and also supports slow motion capture.
It will pack two processors. The A7 chip and M7 motion co-processor. The A7 chip supports 64-bit architecture and that makes iPhone 5s an extremely powerful device. The M7 motion co-processor basically will track data from gyroscope, accelerometer and the magnetometer on the phone. This data capturing should allow developers to introduce some really useful contextual apps in the future.
If 64-Bit architecture was not enough, iPhone 5s has made the home button in a fingerprint sensor. This sensor can be used to unlock your phone. People tend to not use pass codes because it involves typing 4 digit numbers everytime we open the phone. I suppose fingerprint sensors will make life a lot more easy. It will also disincentive theft of iPhones.
So what is Apple really upto?
Some tech blogs have mentioned that Apple is now following the likes of Samsung by releasing two different phones. I do not think that is the case, otherwise the iPhone 5c would have been cheaper. Apple on the other hand is taking a leaf out of its laptop business.
The MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air are two variants of the mac laptop. The MBP is the premium one and is probably one the most costly laptops around just like iPhone 5s will be the most costly smartphone around. The competitive pricing of MacBook Air is being replicated with the slightly cheaper but still packed with good software and hardware iPhone 5c.
The real coup for Apple would be for the iPhone 5s selling in its millions (it probably will) in developed countries but wring away or arrest the total domination of Android in emerging markets with iPhone 5c. The real possible danger Apple faces is if iPhone 5c eats into market-share of iPhone 5s.