Breaking with recent tradition, Apple apparently will not be streaming live video of its 2013 “brighten everyone’s day” iPhone Event from its Cupertino headquarters. Regardless, we’ll be posting live updates here to discuss what’s taking place at the event as it happens. Thus far, details leaked before the event strongly suggest that we will see the introduction of the iPhone 5S (possibly styled “iPhone 5s”), iPhone 5C (“iPhone 5c”), and iOS 7, as well as software updates to iTunes and the Apple TV—the basic details of which have been known for days or weeks. Also possible are price changes and other tweaks to the iPod lineup, which has been suffering from declining sales for quite some time.
Apple has announced the plastic iPhone 5c ($99 for 16GB, $199 for 32GB) as a complete replacement for the iPhone 5, available in five plastic colors (white/pink/blue/green/yellow). It has also debuted the iPhone 5s (16GB: $199, 32GB: $299, 64GB: $399) as a sequel, in three colors (space gray, silver/white, and gold/white), with a 64-bit processor, improved cameras (improved FaceTime HD, faster iSight lens, plus 120fps 720p video recording), Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and promised somewhat better battery life. The iPhone 4S (now restyled as “iPhone 4s”) will oddly remain as an 8GB model for $0 on contract. The new phones will go on pre-order September 13 and hit stores on September 20.
Additional details are found after the fold, so if you’re on our main page, click on the title of this article for the full story. Updated: Apple’s official video of the event was posted after its conclusion, and is available here.
Apple is holding the event in Town Hall, its small (~300-seat capacity) on-campus auditorium, normally reserved for lower-profile events. Attendees are crammed into a limited space described as “intimate,” sometimes enabling Apple’s executives to have Q+A sessions with attendees after the formal presentation. Apple is playing an assortment of upbeat, hip music leading into the presentation.
Tim Cook is on stage, calling out to members of the media who will be watching the video live in Beijing, Berlin, and Tokyo via video streams. He discusses the currently-in-progress iTunes Festival in London, free music festival with live performances over the month of September, streamed over Apple TV to over 100 countries, with on-demand content available for many of the performances after they’ve ended. He then provides an update on Apple’s retail operations, noting that international expansion is taking place, as well as changes in the United States—bigger stores in prior locations, such as Stanford.
iOS 7: September 18. Apple will in the next month ship the 700 millionth iOS device; Cook claims that iOS 7 will rapidly become to world’s most popular OS. Craig Federighi is up to discuss iOS 7, showing off features originally introduced at WWDC—lock screen, Home screen, Command Center, parallax-depth wallpaper, Notification Center, multitasking, search, Siri, and so forth. New ringtones, including music, and alerts. iTunes Radio is being pushed as the “best way to experience new music.” Big changes people had expected from the WWDC beta to the version shown here appear to be absent; what you’ve already seen is what you’re going to get. Over 200 new features. September 18 for iOS 7. Free. iPod touch 5G, iPad mini, iPad 2 and later, iPhone 4 and later are supported.
iWork + iLife Go Free: Keynote and other apps have been iOS 7-ified. They’re the best-selling mobile productivity applications, Tim Cook notes. iPhoto, iMovie—no other platform has those. Apple is making them all free, with any new iOS device.
iPhone 5 to be replaced, starting with iPhone 5c ($99 for 16GB, $199 for 32GB): iPhone 5 had the most successful first year of any iPhone in Apple’s history, says Tim Cook. Instead of lowering the price, Apple is going to replace it with two new designs. iPhone 5c is first. Fun, colorful plastic iPhone, with all of the features of the iPhone 5. White, pink, blue, green, and yellow—as expected. Just like all of the leaked shots. It’s apparently a big deal that the entire back and sides are made from a single part. Apple has some cheap-looking $29 plastic cases for the iPhone 5c as well. iPhone 5c is basically the same as the iPhone 5 inside – A6, with a slightly larger battery than iPhone 5 – and has an 8MP iSight camera, an internal steel antenna frame, etc. But the FaceTime HD camera has been improved, with larger pixels, improved low-light performance. And it has support for more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, plus 100Mbps download speeds, and 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4-5Ghz. $99 for 16GB, $199 for 32GB after a two-year contract.
Enhanced version of iPhone 5 to be iPhone 5s (16GB: $199, 32GB: $299, 64GB: $399): Phil Schiller describes it as packed with incredible technologies. Space gray, gold, and silver colors will be offered. “Space gray” is a replaced version of the prior slate—very similar to the original iPhone. It’s an A7 chip with 64-bit processing, the first and only smartphone with that feature. iOS 7 runs in 64-bit. Twice as many (over 1 billion) transistors on a chip roughly the same size as A6. All of the built-in apps were re-engineered to take advantage of the chip, and developers will have a seamless transition; it’s backwards compatible and will run older 32-bit apps. CPU is “twice as fast” and graphics are, too; CPU is 40x faster than the original iPhone, and 56x faster in GPU, he says. A big deal for graphics-intensive games.
Infinity Blade III To Ship At Same Time As iPhone 5s: Epic’s/ChAIR’s Donald Mustard is out to show Infinity Blade III—the “epic conclusion of the Infinity Blade trilogy.” Eight worlds that are as big or bigger than the entire first game, you can choose between two characters. Mustard says that it was easy – two-hours – to convert the game to 64-bit, and there are now effects including depth of field, blurring, and full-screen vignettes, plus “lens flares that would make J.J. Abrams proud.” The game looks like the prior Infinity Blade II, but with much higher polygon counts/detail and new special effects, including a fire-breathing dragon in the demo. Available alongside the iPhone 5S.
More on iPhone 5s: An M7 coprocessor has been added for continuous measurement of motion data—accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, that can be tracked at the same time to identify user movement within different contexts. Combined with GPS, it can tell apps if you’re walking, driving, or stationary. Nike+ Move is an early app to take advantage of it.
10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of LTE browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video. He claims it’s better than the iPhone 5.
Camera: The rear camera will have an f/2.2 aperture lens, up from f/2.4 in prior one (small bump to improve light-gathering). Sensor has a 15% larger active area. Same number of pixels as before, just larger (1.5 microns). iOS has been optimized for the new camera, with autofocus matrix metering, auto white-balance, auto-exposure. And it can pick the sharpest photo in a sequence automatically, as well as offering auto image stabilization using the same technology. Can shoot up to 10fps in burst mode. Second flash added called True Tone. One is white, the other amber, working together to achieve a better color balance when using the flash.
Video slow-motion: 720p/120fps videos, as predicted some time ago, for those who want to make time appear to slow down. Software lets you choose after recording which parts to show at normal speed, which parts to slow down.
Touch ID: “All about security,” says Apple – there are all sorts of ways to keep something secure. The best way is the fingerprint, a key you always carry. Touch ID scanner is capacitive, thin, high-resolution, scans sub-dermal skin layers for security, and can read from 360 degree orientation changes. There’s a device color-matched stainless steel “detection ring” around the Home Button, with a sapphire anti-scratch crystal in the center, and a tactile switch below it. Touch your Home Button to unlock the iPhone. Scan your fingerprint to authenticate iTunes for buying apps instead of typing a password. Multiple fingerprints can be recorded, each with more detail than just a flat scan for authentication.
Leather iPhone 5s cases will be sold for $39. The iPhone 4S will stay in the lineup for free (on contract). Pre-orders for the iPhone 5c will start Friday, September 13. Both models will be available in stores with on Sept. 20. China will get them at launch, as will Japan and NTT DoCoMo, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Singapore and UK.
Apple brings out Elvis Costello to close out the event. A fitting guest.