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The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c: What you need to know

Macworld staff | Sept. 12, 2013
While waiting for the new phones to know everything about them, here are some information about them that we have collated.

iPhone 5C

We're now in that funny in-between time: On Tuesday, Apple announced the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, providing some information about both. We had a brief hands-on session with both of them. But now we have to wait a week and a half before we can actually get our own new phones and find out everything we want to know. In the meantime, here are our answers to some of the most pressing questions about the new smartphones, based on what Apple has told us and our own investigations.

The basics

When can I get the new iPhone models?
You can pre-order an iPhone 5c starting on Friday, September 13; the 5c will actually be available on September 20. The iPhone 5s will also be available on September 20, but Apple isn't taking pre-orders for that model. These dates apply to the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK.

How much do the phones cost?
The iPhone 5c costs $99 for 16GB of storage or $199 for 32GB with a new two-year contract. Unlocked versions—without a contract—will cost $549 and $649, respectively. With the unlocked version, you can choose one that ships with a T-Mobile SIM card, or one without a SIM card at all. Both unlocked options work only with GSM networks.

The iPhone 5s costs $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, or $399 for 64GB of storage with a new two-year contract. Without a contract, those same phones will cost $649, $749, and $849, respectively. As with the 5c, you can get the unlocked model for use with T-Mobile. (Apple's site doesn't currently list a no-SIM option for the 5s.)

Which carriers are offering the iPhone 5c and 5s?
In the U.S., your contract-carrier choices are AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. As mentioned above, no-contract versions are available for use with T-Mobile or other GSM providers.

How much will it cost me to upgrade from my existing iPhone?
That depends on the carrier and type of contract you have. You can check your upgrade eligibility via Apple's website.

How they compare

How does the 5c compare to the iPhone 5?
From a hardware perspective, the 5c is very similar to the iPhone 5: It uses the same processor (Apple's A6), the same graphics circuitry, and the same screen. The main differences are that the 5c includes a slightly more capacious battery, compatibility with more bands of LTE, and an updated FaceTime HD camera that features larger pixels and a better backside-illumination sensor.


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