By: Zachary Harmuth
Well, today is iDay minus zero, finally.
The doors opened at 8:00 a.m. all across America at all the Apple stores, all the Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T stores and retailers, and let in all the waiters, the upgraders, the curious and the furious, giving them all their first taste (touch, look and listen) of Apple’s new version of the iPhone. Two new versions, in fact, as the iPhone 5S and 5C both became available in stores for the first time today.
The iPhone 5 “Color,” which of course comes in pastel green, piction blue, festival yellow, carnation red and gallery white, has been on digital shelves since zero-hundred hours last Friday.
Since then consumers have had the chance to pre-order this hard plastic-not glass- iPhone, which differs from the 5 in almost only physical design, online.
But that was just to purchase, basically, a guaranteed voucher for a phone that would not be delivered or available in stores before 8:00 a.m. on the 20th, when like candy out of the Wonka factory the iPhones 5S and 5C magically appeared overnight on the shelves of retailers all across the country.
Apple has only two store locations in the greater Nashville area, in the CoolSprings Galleria Mall and in The Mall at Green Hills. But the four wireless providers that can carry plans for the iPhone have plenty of locations in the Williamson County and general Nashville area. (See list below for addresses, hours and phone numbers).
Walking out of the Apple store in the Cool Springs Galleria mall, 24-year-old Dustin Kirby of Franklin looked down with satisfaction at his four-month old iPhone 5. He had shown up just as the store opened for two reasons: First, to see the new phones, especially the 5C, in person. Second, to confirm his feeling that he made the right decision when he upgraded from the 4 to the 5 a few months ago instead of waiting for the 5S.
The 5S- ‘S’ for security, storage and speed- offers inverse innovations to the 5C, such as a faster processor and new software features, despite looking very much like the 5 (though now gold adds a third color option to black and white).
Its most notable new goodie is probably Touch ID- a tool that replaces passwords and lock codes with the tap-and -touch of up to five fingerprints, which the phone scans and recognizes as yours. It is a supposedly safer way of protecting financial and personal data – online and in reality.
Speaking of quicker, the new AirDrop feature offers a faster way than text or e-mail to share files, photos, etc., though only amongst other Apple devices and/or users.
Otherwise souped up is the camera on the 5S, offering better pixelation and the capability to take slow-motion HD videos.
The phones’ release coincides with the unveiling of Apple’s latest Operating System, iOS 7, and both phones will run on it. The iPhone 4 and 4s can update to it, but not run all features- like AirDrop; the 5, however, can.
To Kirby, however, these improvements seem marginal in light of the price tag.
Also, the fingerprint scanning feature is “a neutral idea at best and dangerous at worst,” he said. He feels that if his four-digit PIN protects his bank account, it should be more than enough to secure his texts, e-mails and phone numbers. Having your fingerprints digitized seems like it just puts one more part of a person’s identity at risk, regardless of Apple’s intentions to improve security.
The Touch ID ethical questions aside, to him the 5C just feels like an imitation- it is “heavier, plastic, bigger, and just not quite right,” Kirby said. As for the 5S, he does not see why anyone would pay two, three or four hundred dollars for the 5S when the 5 is available for one or two hundred dollars less (starting at $99.99 with two-year contract).
The 5S sells, without a contract, for $649.99, 749.99 or 849.99, depending on whether you want the 16, 32 or 64 gigabyte-memory version. With a contract, carriers sell the 5S for $199.99, 299.99 or 399.99, for the 16, 32 or 64 gigabyte version. The 5C goes for $99.99 and 199.99, for the 16 and 32 gigabyte versions.
Employees at Apple and the four carriers were not allowed to talk to the media, as per orders from each of their corporate headquarters. But a few agreed to express their opinion if left unnamed.
An associate at a Cool Springs Sprint retailer said the difference between the 5S and the 5, released a year ago tomorrow, are kind of like the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero, only if Coke Zero cost twice as much. Sure, she said, Coke Zero tastes different, and has a newer, cooler-looking brand, but both offer basically the same product. The 5C, she said, was a plastic- not glass- bottle of Coke. You see one crumpled in dirty alleys, the other collected and cared for.
Those most likely to make use of this release are users with a couple- year old iPhone 4, or 4s, who are due for an upgrade. It seems unlikely that the fingerprint scanner adds enough value to entice non-Apple smartphone users to switch.
Each associate who was asked for information on pre-order sales said they did not have, and could not comment if they did have, any.
Where the new iPhone 5S and 5C will be for sale today, (business hours for Friday, September 20th) and phone numbers:
Apple Store locations:
CoolSprings Galleria Mall, Franklin, (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) 615-435-0620
The Mall at Green Hills, Nashville, (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) 615-514-2430
T-Mobile store locations:
2000 Mallory Lane, Suite 180, Franklin, (9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) 615-771-2754
CoolSprings Galleria Mall, Franklin, (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) 615-771-5888
4117 Hillsboro Pike #100 Nashville, (10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 615-386-2113
5759 Nolensville Pike #70, Nashville, (9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) 615-834-2489
1959 Mallory Lane, Franklin, (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) 615-771-6448
4044 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) 615-385-1910
5310 Main St Spring Hill, (8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) 931-486-2181
Sprint store locations:
CoolSprings Galleria Mall, Franklin, (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) 615-778-1971
116 North Royal Oaks Blvd Royal Oaks Plaza, Franklin, (9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 615-794-4150
1701 Mallory Lane, Suite 150, Brentwood, (9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) 615-376-1100 ·
1008 Crossings Blvd Spring Hill, (9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) 931-486-3559
AT&T store locations:
3021 Mallory Lane, Suite 110 Franklin, (9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) 615-771-7888
4825 Main Street, Spring Hill, (9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 615-599-8534
4106 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, (9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) 615-269-6563
Also, Wal-Mart will be carrying phones for customers who use AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.