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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.

Apple says the performance of the 5c will be similar to that of the iPhone 5, except that the FaceTime HD camera offers better images. Indeed, in our brief hands-on with the iPhone 5c, the phone felt exactly as snappy and responsive as the iPhone 5 units we've been using for the past year. (We'll of course be putting the 5c and the 5s through more rigorous testing when we get them.)

The 5c is also close to the same size and weight as the iPhone 5, but the 5c uses a very different exterior. Instead of an aluminum enclosure, the iPhone 5c features a plastic unibody design reminiscent of the old white-plastic MacBook. This body is molded from a single piece of polycarbonate that gives it a solid, rigid feel (part of that also stems from the steel frame that Apple uses inside). Even the volume buttons, mute switch, and Sleep/Wake button on the 5c are plastic. "Unapologetically plastic," as Apple puts it.

How does the 5s compare to the 5c and the 5?
Apple calls the 5s its most "forward-thinking" phone. Though its aluminum body is almost the same as the iPhone 5's, there's a bunch of new hardware inside. Most impressive is the new A7 processor, which Apple touts as the first 64-bit processor available in a phone. The iPhone 5s also includes a new M7 "motion coprocessor"; some big camera upgrades and capabilities; and the Touch ID fingerprint-authentication system. (More on these below.)

Other improvements over the iPhone 5 include a slightly larger battery, expanded carrier support, and a new color. Speaking of which...

What colors can I get?
That depends on which iPhone model you purchase. The lower-cost iPhone 5c, constructed of hard-coated polycarbonate, will be available in candy-like light blue, light green, pink, yellow, or white. Each—including the white version—has a black bezel surrounding the screen.

There is one tiny—and we mean tiny—difference between the iPhone 5c models: On the blue, green, yellow, and white models, the Ring/Silent switch shows an orange line when flipped to the Silent position. On the pink model, the line is white. Details, people.

If you splurge on the aluminum-body iPhone 5s, your choices are different: "space gray" (with a black screen bezel and back trim), silver (with white screen bezel and back trim), or gold (also with white screen bezel and back trim). The gold is subtler than it sounds; it's more of a champagne color. A nice touch on the 5s is that the metal ring around the Home button on each phone matches its main color: gray, silver, or gold.

I hear Apple also makes cases for the new phones?
Yep, Apple is also offering two lines of cases, one set for the 5c and one for the 5s.


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