Earlier this month, Apple announced the long-awaited iPhone 5S. For the first time in the company’s history, they also released a second phone at the same time: the 5C. Designed to compete witharchrival Samsung in emerging markets like India and China, the 5C opts for a plastic shell over the pricier aluminum, a variety of color choices and hardware components of a slightly lower grade than that of the 5S. However, at a steep $550, is the phone really cheap enough to attract consumers in the target markets?
Mobile companies in India and China typically do not subsidize phones when consumers sign a two-year contract as they do in the U.S. Customers in those markets will have to pay the price of the phone in full. Bargain-seeking consumers in these markets have a plethora of dramatically cheaper Android devices from companies like Samsung and Huawei, so will the price drop be enough to attract consumers that want an Apple device but are unwilling or unable to shell out the extra $200 for a 5S?
The Apple brand name has proven to be wildly successful in the past, and consumers have consistently demonstrated they are willing to stomach a high price to own an Apple device. Additionally, multiple color choices such as pink, green, blue and yellow are likely to appeal to a younger generation of smartphone users. With more than 400 million smartphone users in China alone, an increase in market share could mean soaring profits for the company. Provided the powers that be at Apple did not overestimate the value of their product, the iPhone 5C could prove to be just the catalyst needed to solidify Apple’s presence in developing markets.
Along with the new devices, Apple also released iOS 7. Unlike previous updates to the operating system, iOS 7 introduces a dramatical new look and adds a few new features as well. Many users may have been shocked by the change or even thought that their phone had some kind of problem. If you take the time to find your way around it, however, iOS 7 makes everyday tasks simpler, improves the iPhone experience and provides a much needed catch-up to competing operating systems.
The most dramatic change is the complete visual overhaul. The update changes the appearance of literally everything. Apple eliminated the elements that make icons look like leather or felt and the 3D bubble-shaped theme. Flat graphics and a bright, pastel color scheme bring an elegant look. Despite the changes, the operating system is easy to pick up, as it functions more or less the same as earlieriOS updates.
One of the new features to come to iOS 7 is the Control Center, which puts your most-used settings front and center and is available from any screen. In iOS 7, you can swipe up from the bottom of the display to bring up quick-access tools, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth access, brightness, airplane mode and music controls. The Control Center also integrates a flashlight tool and quick access to setting an alarm or opening the calculator or camera.
Other new features include a dramatic update to the outdated Safari, which adds useful features such as a unified search and URL field and more flexibility with open browser windows — instead of swiping left and right to view open tabs, they now preview as vertically scrolling rectangular cards. You’re no longer limited to just eight tabs, and you can swipe to the side to close them.
Apple also added a nice selection of new camera features, the peer-to-peer file-sharing service fromOSX called AirDrop, iTunes Radio and a great upgrade to Siri, making it even more feasible as an alternative way to navigate your phone with increased integration of Twitter, email, and other apps.
Overall, iOS 7 is a much needed update that provides users with the same functionality they would find on other operating systems. It was a big month for Apple, and this round of new devices and updates may turn out to be their most successful release to date.
Henry Parrott is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. TECH TALK appears every other Friday in the guide.