Two new iPhones, the 5C and 5S, in an array of colors and a redesigned operating system to run them were among the major announcements from Apple Inc on Tuesday.
Tellingly, this is the first time a new iPhone has been available right away in China, one of the world's fastest-growing markets, while India is not on the agenda as yet.
Apple will make its iWork package of apps – Pages for word processing, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations – available on iPhones.
It's also the first time Apple Inc is releasing two iPhone models at once. In the past, Apple Inc simply offered one new model targeting the high-end market. This time, there's a slightly cheaper iPhone as well, the 5C. The change comes as Apple faces growing competition from Samsung, HTC and other makers of phones that run Google's Android operating system.
Here are the highlights of Tuesday's event at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.
Apple is discontinuing the iPhone 5 released last fall. It's being replaced with the cheaper iPhone 5C and the high-end iPhone 5S.
The iPhone 5C has many of the attributes found in the iPhone 5. It has a screen measuring 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) diagonally and sports an 8 megapixel camera. The new phone, however, is largely made of plastic and doesn't have the aluminum side and glass back found in the iPhone 5. The 5C also is more colorful. It comes in a choice of green, blue, yellow, pink or white, rather than the traditional black or white.
The iPhone 5S has an identical screen, and its camera is also 8 megapixels. But each pixel is larger. That means it's better at capturing light, which should translate into better photos indoors and other low-light settings. The new camera also has a dual flash, which Apple calls True Tone. The flash fires two bursts of lights at once, each slightly different in color. The iPhone will adjust the combination of the two automatically to bring out more natural skin tones and other colors in images.
The iPhone 5S also has a faster, 64-bit processor, which lets it handle more data simultaneously compared with traditional 32-bit systems.
Also available with the iPhone 5S: a fingerprint-recognition system that lets you easily unlock phones without having to type in a four-digit code.