Regarding the Just-Announced New iPhones



My just-born son must be an Apple fan.

Giovanni’s due date was August 31. We thought surely he would be born before the Bronco’s played in the NFL season kickoff game last Thursday, but nope. Instead of sports, he chose to show up this past Monday, the day before Apple’s special event.

Yesterday, a few hours before we came home, I was sitting on the uncomfortable green couch in the corner of our hospital room. Giovanni laid swaddled and asleep next to me. My wife was ordering our lunch from the hospital cafeteria. And with my iPad propped up on the arm of the couch, I was following along with the news from Cupertino.

As someone who’s kept his iPhone within arm’s reach ever since 2007, and who uses this device about 2 times less than the legal daily limit, the iPhone event is one I look forward to with much anticipation.

One glance at my current iPhone Home screen and you can see how much I use my iPhone for both work and play. Updates to the iPhone and iOS are more than just cool and fun (though they are that). They’re updates to a device I use all the time for all manners of tasks. In a way, the better the iPhone gets, the better my own day-to-day life gets.

Below are a few of my thoughts about the two new iPhones Apple introduced yesterday.

The iPhone 5c

With the 5c Apple has replied to the advice of those who say they needed a cheap phone in order to compete at the bottom of the market. And Apple’s answer is, No thanks.

As pretty much everyone is pointing out, the 5c is more or less the iPhone 5 but in a new and different shell.

Yet the 5c is a significant departure from the standard lineup of iPhones we’ve seen for years. It’s the first new iPhone (other than the 3G) that’s not more expensive looking than its predecessor.

Color options in the iPhone are not a new thing. For years you’ve been able to chose any color iPhone you wanted so long as it was black or white. Well, now you can get it in white, blue, pink, green, or yellow. And for $100 more black, white, or gold aluminum.

The 5c is also a brilliant and clever way of making last year’s model new again.

People who want to spend $99 on a new iPhone don’t have to “settle” with the left overs — they can get the “new” iPhone 5c. And that’s the whole point. Go to apple.com right now and what’s the first iPhone you see? The 5c. Apple is going to sell a lot of these.

Though I won’t be getting the 5c, I love that Apple has made it.

The new colorful lineup speaks of one of the things I most love about Apple products: whimsy.

Especially as it relates to software, Apple’s products are extremely high quality, contain delightful design details, and all wrapped in whimsy. The iPhone 5c is the most whimsical iPhone yet, and without sacrificing quality or detail.

Whimsy is important because when something is fun, it’s more approachable. For those who’ve felt the iPhone was previously too fancy or too fragile for them, this less expensive, colorful plastic version may be just the ticket.

The iPhone 5s

As for the 5s, three of the new features I am genuinely excited about are Touch ID, the improved camera, and the M7 coprocessor. These aren’t just cool new gadgets on a feature checklist, they’re actual enhancements to the iPhone that I suspect will greatly improve the way I use it every single day.

Camera

Look no further than your iPhone’s lock screen to see just how seriously Apple takes the iPhone’s camera. It’s the only icon on there and the only app with a one-gesture shortcut.

In my time using iOS 7 over the past few months, one of my favorites of the new stock apps has become the Camera app (more on that next week). I now mostly take shots in the default Camera app first, and then open those shots in Instagram or VSCO Cam to edit and share them.

As someone who is getting more in more into photography (and as someone with two kids), I love that Apple is so aggressive in advancing the iPhone’s camera and corresponding software. I use the crap out of my iPhone’s camera; as an amateur photography enthusiast, the significant updates to the photographic hardware in the new iPhone is great news.

Alas, Apple still has issues with off-device photo storage, syncing, etc. It’d be great if Apple took that same energy for innovation they are putting on the iPhone’s camera (hardware and software side) and devote it to vastly improving photo storage and organization with iCloud and multiple devices.

Touch ID

Being able to unlock our iPhones, purchase apps and music, and more with just a quick scan of our thumbprint is going to alleviate a huge friction point.

Touch ID strikes me as being of the same class of upgrade as the Retina display. It’s a hardware advancement that vastly improves the experience we have with our iPhones every single time we use them. And while it’s something we could do without, once having experienced it for a day or two, we’ll never want to go back.

M7 Coprocessor

I am quite excited about the new M7 Coprocessor and what it enables because: (a) I had an UP, but it didn’t work out too well for me in the long run; and (b) I used the app, Moves, for a while but it destroyed my battery life.

I loved the personal data and tracking that the UP and Moves enabled, but one ended up being too full of friction, while the other practically required my iPhone to be plugged in as often as possible.

The M7 coprocessor in the new iPhone 5s is a sidekick (as Apple describes it) to the A7 chip. Basically, the M7 is dedicated to tracking motion data and then reporting that data to any apps that want it. And by doing this, one big advantage is that your iPhone’s battery is spared.

In essence, the M7 would let me use Moves again. And hopefully it will spur on the development of even more awesome personal-data-tracking type apps.

Next Year’s iPhones?

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of things, but there are two questions I have about next year:

  1. What will the new lineup be called? The iPhone 6c and 6s? Or just the iPhone and the iPhone c?

  2. How many of the iPhone 5s’s (ugh) new features will trickle down to next year’s “c” model? All of them? Some of them? Should people who bought an iPhone last year and who are waiting to upgrade until next year expect a 5s-sibling version of the “6c”?