I don’t understand why Apple released both the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. What’s the difference? Which one is right for me?
It’s true: If you want a new iPhone at this point, you must choose between the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5C is the colorful one—it’s available in green, blue, yellow, pink, and white. Apparently, there are folks who need a phone of a particular color (Doug and Ken don’t fall into that category.) The iPhone 5S is the one with the fingerprint reader, the better camera, and the faster processor. In other words, it’s way more advanced than the iPhone 5C. They’re both available with multiple storage options; both are available with 16 or 32GB of storage, and the 5S offers a 64GB option, as well. These sizes have nothing to do with the speed or power of the phone—they simply indicate how much “stuff” you can store on the phone. If you use your phone to watch videos (Ken does this for hours every day at the gym), you’ll have to consider how much space you need: If you stream your video from iTunes, Netflix, Amazon or Hulu+, then you won’t need much storage space. If you tend to download videos from iTunes to keep with you, you’ll need as much storage space as you can afford.
Doug and Ken both sprung for the iPhone 5S, which is $100 more than the 5C in every configuration. Not only is its camera and processor better, but the fingerprint reader provides quick access to the phone when it’s locked (and it should be, whenever you’re not using it).
There’s no “right” phone for everyone, and we can’t recommend the right one for you, as well. Apple’s web site allows you to compare the phones: http://www.apple.com/iphone/compare/. It’s useful to note that you can still get the iPhone 4S for free on a new contract. You can only get the 8GB model, but note that it’s quite a step down from the 5S or 5C—but it is free. Also note that if you already have an iPhone 5, it’s hard to justify the upgrade to a 5C, because they’re essentially the same phone except for the colors. The upgrade from an iPhone 5 to a 5S is a little less hard to justify, but it’s probably worth waiting for the inevitable iPhone 6.
If you need a new phone now, and if you’re sold on the Apple/iOS world, you can’t go wrong with either the iPhone 5C or 5S. We suggest looking at the 5S if you can afford the $100 premium, and think carefully about how much space you’ll need. We both went with the smallest size, since neither of us tends to carry a lot of music and video content around with us.