On September 10, after months of rampant Internet speculation
) officially unveiled its next generation of iPhones, including the
high-end, fingerprint-scanning 5S, and the colorful, lower-end (but
still not cheap) 5C. Although Apple only made pre-ordering
available for the 5C, which means you'll have to line up if you
want to get a 5S on its first day, both phones will launch on
Friday. As such, reviews have flooded the Internet.
Let's begin with the colorful 5C, available in white, pink, yellow,
blue, and green.
First of all, as for the letter "C," it doesn't stand for cheap --
with a two-year contract, the phone has a pricetag of $99 for the
16GB model and $199 for the 32GB; unlocked, it comes in at $549.
Many reviewers seemed uncertain as to what demographic the 5C is
being marketed to. Noting that the 5C is "an iPhone 5 in a pretty
new hat," Alex Kidman of the
Australian Broadcasting Corp.
wrote, "I'm honestly not sure outside of the heavy fashion crowd
who, for one reason or another, might just want color and not
actual features. When it was announced and outright pricing
emerged, the only glimmer of hope was that telcos would take it on
board in a heavily subsidized fashion, making it a better value
On the other hand, the aesthetics of the 5C have also been praised
as an integral part of the new phone's appeal. As David Pogue wrote
New York Times
, "The 5C's case is polycarbonate, lacquered like a glossy piano.
Better yet, its back edges are curved for the first time since the
iPhones of 2008. You can tell by touch which way it's facing in
Technically speaking, faint praise was given to the 5C's slightly
improved battery life. As part of her review for
, Lauren Goode directly compared the 5C to her old 5, after she
used both for Web browsing and making calls, with screen brightness
set to the same levels. As she wrote, "When my iPhone 5 dies on
Saturday night, the 5C had 17% battery power left." In summing up
the 5C, she described its improvements as "evolutionary, not
Matt Warman praised the phone as a "stroke of marketing genius" in
how it rivals other iPhones, saying that it is really a "great
replacement for an [iPhone 4] or [4S]." Writing on the phone's over
all appeal, he noted, "It's younger, and while it may only be
slightly cheaper it will appeal to new markets perhaps just enough
to keep consumers away from the temptations of rivals for a little
longer. If you've got an iPhone 5, it's hard to see why you should
buy a 5C."
Despite this significant limitation, Warman believes that the new
phones' greatest feature is its novelty, however slight. He wrote:
If you want a new iPhone but have been tempted to go elsewhere,
this is the most convenient, easiest option. Apple will tell you
it's great; they're right. It's a great, more affordable reason not
). And it's a great replacement for a 4 or a 4S, whose glass many
owners will have broken but put up with. Plastic is cheaper for
Apple to make, more durable - and more novel. Its novelty, rather
than new features, is the 5C's major selling point.
The 5C in its case: notice the word "non?"
And now, for a personal observation: Apple has designed its own
cases for the 5C, which have circular holes on the back to let the
5C's color proudly show through. The problem is related to the word
"iPhone," written on the back of the phone. When the case is put
on, the word is partially hidden and therefore looks like "non."
So, as I'm looking at the images of the multicolored 5C in its
multicolored case, which allow for a mixing and matching of color
schemes, I can't help but notice the word "non" staring back at me.
For a company as detail-oriented as Apple, this is a surprising
design flaw. Or maybe it was intentional -- who knows?
Let us now move onto the 5S, which, on the whole, received slightly
Scott Stein of
described the phone as "easily the fastest and most advanced Apple
smartphone to date."As for the letter S in the title, he would
rather it be a P, for potential. He wrote, "This is Apple's
half-step year, a rebuilding year. It's telegraphed by the name
itself: adding an 'S' versus giving the phone a whole new name." He
has a point: The step from the 4 to the 4S was indeed smaller than
that from the 4S to the 5.
ggest iPhone 5S Feature Nobody's Talking About
The highest praise for the device was reserved for its hardware
specs, and particularly its all-new A7 processor and M7 motion
controller, which Anand Lal Shimpi of
described as "futureproof." At
, Darrel Etherington praised the phone's powerful 64-bit processor,
which is the first of its kind for any smartphone. He wrote that
its processor will make the 5S "more appealing as the software
ecosystem catches up."
One spec failed to win Shimpi over, and that was the screen. She
wrote, "While I don't believe the world needs to embrace 6-inch
displays, I do feel there is room for another sweet spot above four
inches." Apple did not increase the size of the screen at all from
the 5 to the 5S, while competitors
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) are bringing so-called "phablets" (phone + tablet)
to the market, some with screens actually over six inches. There
has got to be some middle ground between the iPhone and the new
wave of phablets, and Apple should look into finding it.
Perhaps one of the 5S's most talked-about features has been its
fingerprint scanner, which allows users to unlock their phone and
make purchases through iTunes and the app store, all by simply
scanning their thumbs. As Etherington wrote for TechCrunch:
At first glance, it's easy to dismiss the fingerprint sensor as
a whiz-bang feature designed to attract eyeballs and do little
else. But this isn't that. The fingerprint sensor... feels like a
mature feature that actually enhances the overall experience of
using an iPhone in a noticeable way that you encounter very
And does the fingerprint reader work consistently? Said David
Pogue for the
New York Times
, "The best part is that [the fingerprint reader] actually works --
every single time, in my tests. It's nothing like the balky,
infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It's
genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier."
Pogue actually focused most on the 5S's new camera, which he boldly
wrote will "mean more to you." According to his own experimentation
with the 5S versus the 5, "Lowlight pictures are better on the new
phone. Clearer, brighter, better color." He added, "Flash photos
look much better. No longer will your loved ones' skin look either
nuclear white or
Some of the more negative commentary focused on the battery of the
Luke Peters wrote, "In our real-world testing, we found the iPhone
5S mimics that of its predecessor -- great in standby, draining
when using 3G/4G and performing graphically intensive tasks.... For
now, it looks like you'll need a portable battery pack in your
pocket if you intend on hammering your new iPhone 5S all day."
The "magical" and "supremely compelling" 5S.
And how does it compare to its new little sibling, the 5C? As
Vincent Nguyen of
wrote, "Would we pick the iPhone 5S over the iPhone 5C? In a
heartbeat. The camera, convenience, and performance increases make
that a no-brainer decision for smartphone power users." He
described the 5S as "magical" and as a "supremely compelling
In conclusion, reviews for both devices are mostly positive, though
the high-end 5S has received stronger praise. Ultimately, reviewers
seemed unsettled by the modest innovation of Apple's latest iPhone
Rich Jarkslovksy was hard on the two phones, writing that they
simply "fail to excite." He noted, significantly, that Apple has
never issued more than one iPhone at a time, and that "Apple also
never changed so little from the previous generation."
However, for his silver lining, he suggested that Apple's
"incremental" changes really were all about potential, "laying the
groundwork for future, bigger innovations."
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