"Be Different" is Apple's motto, but in small subtype, perhaps the sort found in lengthy terms and conditions is an idea that makes them just like every technology company out there: "be selling." Today's announcements at the livestreamed Apple event unveils yet another version of the iPhone that has come out since I purchased my iPhone under a year ago. It raises the question whether new products that aren't appreciably different are being launched too quickly, making everyone technologically behind a second after they commit to buying a product.
Image: Dennis Goedegebuure via Flickr
Today's event was expected to reveal details about the iPhone 5S, and Apple delivered. The new phones, due out September 20th (with September 13th for preorder), will have the following features:
- A new, lower priced iPhone 5C will retail for $99 (16 GB) and $199 (32 GB) with a two-year contract. It is more colourful than the old iPhones (green, white, blue, pink, and yellow -- like the newer iPods). It uses the same technology as the regular iPhone but has a hard-coated polycarbonate case. It has a 4 inch retina display, a A6 processing chip, 8 MP camera. Custom made protective cases that fit the new phone will retail for $29. No announcement about a 64 GB option.
- The iPhone 5 will be replaced by the iPhone 5S, and it will retail for $199 (16 GB), $299 (32 GB), and $399 (64 GB) with a two-year contract. It will come in slate, gold, and silver. It's made of aluminum with a 64-bit chip. (It's the world's first smartphone with a 64-bit chip.) It is 5 times faster than the iPhone 5. Better graphics performance for games. Better motion co-processor is great for new fitness/movement apps. (It can tell if you're stationary or moving.) Longer battery life -- 3G talk time is 10 hours, 3G browsing is 8 hours, and wi-fi browsing is 10 hours. 40 hours for music and 250 hours to drain the battery on standby. Bigger pixels for a better picture (1.5 microns). Better camera all-around in terms of lens, flash, and auto stabilization. Better security that gets rid of the pass code in favour of Touch ID with your fingerprint built into the home button. Custom made protective cases that fit the new phone will retail for $39.
- Details about iOS7 including a new design, airdrop between devices (the ability to share quickly between devices on the same wi-fi network), more features in the control center for quick use. Siri has been updated to even pull in tweets in real time. ("What is Lady Gaga saying on Twitter.") Tiny details have also been updated such as new ringtones and alert sounds, camera features such as built-in filters, and an all-new notification center that helps you visualize your day. iOS7 will be available for download on the iPhone 5 and 4S on September 18th.
- iTunes radio is making its debut.
- More free, helpful apps such as iPhoto and iMovie which are only free on the new devices. It sounds as if existing iPhone users will either need to buy a new device or buy the apps.
Part of me, of course, wants to ditch our perfectly good phones for newer models, especially once we hit a point where our device will no longer support the current operating system. Hopefully, we're still a few more models away from that happening, but since it occurred with our old iPods, I have no doubt that a year or two down the road, our current phones will cease to support new apps or iOS upgrades.
Part of me refuses to play the game, spending money where I obviously don't need to spend money. Just because a shiny new gadget exists doesn't mean that I need to run out and buy it.
Will you upgrade your mobile device and purchase the new Apple 5S, or do you keep using your old technology until it breaks down before moving on to the next big thing? Do you get gadget envy from technology events such as today's Apple event?
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