At its official unveiling Apple said both the “cheap” iPhone 5c and the flagship iPhone 5s will support “more LTE bands in than any other smartphone in the world”. Accompanying the new device’s launch is a long list of 17 bands covering many, but not all of the world’s 4G networks.
It’s not a “world phone”. Three different models (of both the 5c and 5s) are required for LTE coverage in different parts of the world.
The iPhone 5c has a 4-inch Retina display, an A6 chip, and an 8 megapixel iSight camera—all with improved battery life, said to deliver 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks. It includes dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 and comes with iOS 7, the “most significant iOS update since the original iPhone”.
The iPhone 5s has an all-new A7 chip, making it the first smartphone with 64-bit architecture. Phone 5s includes the same 4 inch Retina display, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. It also delivers 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks.
The 5s includes an all-new 8 element 8 megapixel iSight camera with a Burst Mode, Slo-Mo video with 120 fps, a new FaceTime HD camera for better low-light performance and audio-only FaceTime calls.
Also included are a True Tone flash and Touch ID, an new way to securely unlock your phone with a finger touch. That could be the sleeper feature announced today.
A new M7 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, offloads work from the A7 for improved power efficiency. Better fitness and activity apps are expected as a result. It was demoed with a new app from Nike called Nike+ Move that tracks your activity and ties in with Game Center.
Apple’s earlier iPhone 5 didn’t support some LTE networks in Asia at 2.6 Ghz, but the iPhone 5S and 5C have pan-European variants, reports GigaOm, with improved LTE support. Both devices will target all three major European 3G bands: 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2.6 GHz. Apple says the iPhone 5c supports up to 13 LTE wireless bands, more than any other smartphone in the world.
Two operators not on the list of LTE support are Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and China Mobile. While NTT DoCoMo will get new iPhones on Sept. 20, they apparently won’t support some of the carrier’s LTE bands.
China Mobile and Sprint support TD-LTE in Band 41, using nearly all the 190 MHz of the 2.6 GHz band. That band is not listed on Apples’ spec sheet. Apple does support Sprint’s 800 MHz frequency, its old Nextel spectrum, for Sprint’s FD-LTE service later this year. European carriers use only the middle 50 MHz section of the 2.6 band (band 38) for TD-LTE while the rest of the spectrum is committed to FD-LTE (band 7). The new phones will support those bands.
Reportedly, China Mobile, the world’s largest operator, required a commitment from Apple to support its 3G Time Division CDMA system (on band 39). That band is listed on the iPhone 5c and 5s, but only China Mobile supports it, and there was no mention of S-CDMA support. The new iPhones also support TD-LTE in band 40, at 2.3 GHz, which China Mobile uses for indoor coverage. China Mobile also shares TD-LTE technology and frequencies with Sprint’s TD-LTE system on the 2.6 GHz band (Band 41), but Apple doesn’t (yet) list that band on its spec sheet.
The two new iPhones were the main news from Apple, no new Macs, iPods or other devices. Apple has decided to keep the 4″ screen size and is apparently forgoing RFID/NFC chips for their new fingerprint reader which can also be used for purchases.
The new phones will ship with IOS-7, a major new release for phones and tablets, expected in the next few weeks. It will also work in earlier models down to the iPhone 4 (with some feature limitations). The most notable design changes in IOS-7 include refined typography, new icons, translucency, layering, physics, and gyroscope-driven parallaxing.
Both phones will ship on September 20, ($199 and $99), with the iPhone 5 dropped from the line and the iPhone 4s going free (on contract).
The iPhone 5C will run $549 for a 16GB and $649 for a 32GB model off contract, according to Apple’s store site. That’s hardly cheap. It will face fierce competition in emerging markets from an army of Android platforms at half the price.