Tim Cook

Apple uncovered not one, but two new iPhone models Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif. On top of the new iPhone lineup, Apple also unveiled a 64-bit A7 processor, and a fingerprint-detecting home button.

Apple’s latest appeal for consumer attention comes amidst a power vacuum in the mobile device market. With competitors like Samsung and Microsoft fervently vying for a bigger piece of the market-share pie, Apple is in dire need of a splash to sustain its historical success. Aside from improved battery life and Android-bashing jokes, Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted some promising new features.

To capture a wider range of customers, Apple simultaneously introduced the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C models. While the matte iPhone 5S will be marketed as a higher end device with a starting price of $199, the “unapologetically” plastic iPhone 5C will target consumers with a tighter budget. Rather than continue to sell older iPhone 5 models at a discount price, Apple will now market the iPhone 5C as its cheapest smartphone product with a price tag of $99. Both devices will go on sale starting Sept. 20. 

Color is another notable aspect of the new iPhone sub-generation. The plastic iPhone 5C will sport four vibrantly colored backsides and support an equally bright set of Apple-designed cases. The iPhone 5S will be available in silver, gold and “space gray.”  It should bring a more glitzy charm to an older product design.  

iOS7, the new native operating system for the iPhone, will now support a 64-bit processor. This is a fairly big talking point for Apple, since no other smartphone can boast this kind of processing “oomph.” But in the context of mobile devices, the 64-bit A7 processor might be overkill. For consumers not playing graphics-intensive games or switching furiously between apps, the increased RAM capacity a 64-bit chipset affords is not that big of a deal.

The A7 chipset will, however, assist in other more crucial functions of the iPhone 5S, particularly the “Touch ID.” This thumb-scanning software is built right into the home button Apple fans are familiar with, and will make security a more fluid experience for mobile users. Purchasing a new song or simply logging onto the iPhone device will now be validated with touch of a user’s fingerprint.

When it comes to innovation, smartphone design is quickly drying up. But Apple does bring some important improvements to its mobile products. Among them is the camera, which now possesses an expanded aperture, a slow-motion capture mode and an M7 motion processor for measuring acceleration and gestural data.

In terms of software, Keynote, Pages and Numbers are now all free apps on iOS7. These will make their debut on the iPad when iOS7 is released for free Sept. 18.

Is there really anything here to set the iPhone apart from its competition? Probably not. Sales of the new iPhone sub-generation will act as a litmus test for Cook and may suggest the future success of Apple in the mobile device market. 

Apple’s iOS 7 is a game-changer for the smart phone. While many doubted that it was possible, Tim Cook and his crew over in Cupertino breathed new life into
the iPhone.

In mid-June, Apple officially announced iOS 7, the refresh of the iPhone operating system. While previous iPhone operating system updates have only seen incremental changes to phone operation, the seventh iteration is the most radically different system update thus far.

What sets iOS 7 apart from previous releases is that it delivers more of a visually appealing display, while making it easier and more intuitive for the user. When you are on the home screen, swiping up from the bottom of the screen will bring up “Control Center,” which allows the user to toggle on or off a multitude of settings. Control Center also has brightness and volume sliders, as well as a dedicated camera button and a flashlight application. When you tilt the home screen, the background moves as a separate layer from your apps, giving a three-dimensional view.

Adding to the new visuals is a slimmer font and newly redesigned application icons. Jony Ive, the head of hardware and software design at Apple, worked with the Apple marketing team in redesigning the application icons, which seemed to be more congruent with the visual language of Apple’s advertising campaigns. Apple has also done away with the “skeuomorphism” that Steve Jobs loved, which is where applications mimic the appearance of real world objects such as a notepad or rolodex. 
Outside of the visual refresh, Apple has also added minor changes to the operating system, making the user experience less tedious. Among these changes is the ability to automatically update your applications in the background, which is a refreshing change. You no longer have to go into the Application Store and press “update all” every day. Another addition is the ability to have an unlimited amount of apps in a folder. While this seems like a no-brainer, Apple had previously capped the folders at 12 applications.

Apple also launched “iTunes Radio” with iOS 7, which is its version of Pandora Radio. With it, you are able to purchase any song through iTunes directly on your phone.

Can Apple take back some of the mobile phone market share with iOS 7? Only time will tell. The changes Apple decides to make with the inevitable iPhone 5S will determine whether or not they can truly compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One, which both run their own unique, skinned versions of the Android operating system.