FCC filings hint at larger battery for iPhone 5s, 5c handsets

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Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 07:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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If you were hoping for a larger, longer-lasting battery on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets, it looks like it’s on its way.

Per AnandTech and 9to5Mac, the FCC filings for the new iPhones to reveal that the iPhone 5s battery offers approximately 10 percent more capacity than its predecessor, while the 5c battery offers a more modest 5 percent gain.

Actual battery-life for the iPhone 5s will be interesting to see. While the handset’s beefier A7 CPU will consume more power, the M7 coprocessor that handles some of the background tasks should reduce battery consumption. How the two balance out is not yet known, though Apple did promise better battery-life than the iPhone 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts iPhone 5s/5c event keynote online

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 11th, 2013, 08:19
Category: iPhone, News

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If you missed Apple’s iPhone event yesterday, it’s been posted online.

And it features about three minutes on updated ringtones.

Per AppleInsider, Apple posted the full stream of the event.

The stream of the event is now available via this link on Apple’s official website as well as from within the Apple Events app on your Apple TV. Tuesday’s presentation included Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, marketing chief Phil Schiller, and Software Engineering head Craig Federighi.

Apple used the event to introduce its new flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5s, which features a Touch ID fingerprint scanner and 64-bit A7 processor. It will go on sale next Friday, Sept. 20, and will be available for starting at US$199 with a new service contract.

The company introduced the new iPhone 5c, which has similar specifications to last year’s iPhone 5, but comes in a new polycarbonate plastic case that’s available in five new colors: red, green, yellow, blue and white. The iPhone 5c will run US$99 for a 16-gigabyte model with carrier subsidy, or US$199 for a 32-gigabyte capacity, and will also debut next Friday. Preorders for the iPhone 5c begin this Friday, Sept. 13.

Apple also revealed that iOS 7, its redesigned mobile operating system, will launch for compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices next Wednesday, two days before the new iPhones become available. Like the previous incarnations of its iOS operating system, it will be available as a free download.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces iPhone 5s, 5c handsets, sets release date for September 20th

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, 12:15
Category: iPhone, News

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The iPhone you’ve been hankering for has arrived.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday unveiled two new iPhones: the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

During the presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller pointed out that the iPhone’s A7 chip uses desktop-class architecture, with a modern instruction set and over a billion transistors—and it’s the same size as the A6.

“iOS 7 already supports a native 64-bit kernel,” Schiller said. “All the built-in apps from Apple already have been reengineered for 64-bit, and it will be easy for third-party developers to compile their apps for the iPhone 5s as well.”

“The benefits are huge,” Schiller said. The A7 is up to twice as fast at CPU and graphics tasks, he said. The iPhone 5s offers 40 times the performance of the original iPhone—with half of that improvement just coming since the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5s and Touch ID:
The iPhone 5s also comes with a nifty new security feature: A fingerprint scanner built right into the Home button. That sensor can read fingerprints with incredible detail, and even supports multiple fingers. Support for that scanner in iOS 7 means you may never need to tap in your passcode again.

Touch ID uses your fingerprint to gain access to your phone. It does this by reading the fingerprint at an incredibly detailed level using the Touch ID sensor. Touch ID scans sub-epidermal skin layers with 360 degrees of readability—meaning you can hold your finger in any orientation.

“The sensor lives beneath the Home button on the iPhone 5s. That button is still tactile, but includes a stainless steel detection ring and the Touch ID sensor, with a laser-cut sapphire crystal on top. Touch ID is built deep into iOS 7,” Schiller said.

You can simply touch the Home button to unlock your iPhone. You can use the Touch ID to authenticate anywhere you’d otherwise need to provide your Apple ID password, too.

Touch ID also supports multiple fingerprints. So, you can unlock your iPhone with multiple fingers, or theoretically let a family member add their fingerprint to unlock your device, too.

The iPhone 5s camera:
Schiller said that the camera on the iPhone 5s is dramatically improved over its predecessor. He cited what he called “huge advancements”: There’s a new five-element, Apple-designed lens, with a larger 2.2 aperture, and a 15 percent larger active sensor area.

“The pixels on the sensor are 1.5 microns,” Schiller said, and he said that bigger pixels lead to better pictures. The camera also includes a new True Tone Flash.

The iPhone 5s camera also adds automatic image stabilization. It combines multiple photos taken simultaneously in real-time to stabilize and sharpen images. The camera includes a burst mode, too.

There’s a new video camera option, too: a Slo-Mo camera, which shoots 120 frames per second in high definition.

Other features:
There’s another completely new part in the iPhone 5s called M7: a motion co-processor. It continually measures motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, without waking the A7, which Schiller said would enable new fitness accessories and apps.

In conjunction with a new CoreMotion API, Schiller said that developers could create apps to measure and track fitness in ways that weren’t possible before.

The iPhone 5s’s battery life is equal to or greater than the iPhone 5′s, Schiller said, with 10 hours of 3G talk time or LTE browsing.

The iPhone 5s is available in 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299, or 64GB for US$399. Apple is also offering six leather cases for the iPhone 5s at US$39 each. Orders for the iPhone 5s start on September 20. The unlocked prices for the 5s are US$649 for the 16GB model, US$749 for the 32GB model, and US$849 for the 64GB model.

Though the iPhone 5 will be retired, Apple will continue to offer the iPhone 4S in a free 8GB model.

The iPhone 5c:
“The iPhone 5c is made with all the incredible technology customers have loved with the iPhone 5,” Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said.

The iPhone 5C is available in a variety of colors: blue, green, white, pink, and yellow. The fronts of the phones are black, while all the rest of the body uses the new color, including the buttons and switches.


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When you turn on the iPhone 5c, the default wallpaper is color-matched to the phone’s body. There’s also a new line of custom cases, made of a soft-feel silicon rubber with microfiber internals, and cutout patterns of circles on the bottom two-thirds of the case. “You get this amazing combination of color between the iPhone 5c and its case.”

The iPhone 5c is made of a hard-coated polycarbonate, with a steel-reinforced structure for added rigidity — doing double duty as an antenna. The phone uses the iPhone 5′s 4-inch Retina display. It’s powered by an A6 chip, and offers higher-capacity battery performance, with a larger battery than the original iPhone 5. It also offers an 8MP iSight camera.

On the front, the iPhone 5c sports a new FaceTime HD camera that Schiller said is improved from prior iterations. And the phone supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, Schiller said.

The iPhone 5c costs US$99 for the 16GB model, or US$199 for the 32GB model, with a two-year contract. The cases are also available in the same six colors; they’re available for US$29 each. You may pre-order the iPhone 5c starting on September 13. The unlocked prices for this model are US$549 for the 16GB version and US$649 for the 32GB version.

Please let us know what you make of the new iPhones in the comments and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to built biometric fingerprint sensor into more expensive iPhone 5S units

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Date: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, 07:12
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

This is just about the last rumor before Apple hopefully unveils its long-awaited next-gen iPhone(s) today, so here we go.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, sources close to the story last week stated that fingerprint scanners will be built into the “more expensive of two iPhones” Apple plans to announce at a media event on Tuesday, seemingly confirming a long stream of rumors regarding the feature’s inclusion.

The publication speculates that Apple’s entry into the biometric security segment will spark interest from other handset makers to find similar solution. Another source claims at least one smartphone running Google’s Android will incorporate fingerprint security, though it is unknown if the device will be marketed in the U.S.

Apple is expected to field a fingerprint sensor built by AuthenTec, a biometric security firm the Cupertino company purchased for US$356 million in 2012, and plans to place the module under the iPhone’s home button. While other handsets and computers have tried to use fingerprinting methods in the past, Apple’s solution is thought to be much more intuitive and less prone to error.

Instead of swiping a finger across a small sensor strip, the AuthenTec package uses RF field attenuation to map a user’s print. This static means of capture would allow iPhone owners to authenticate by simply pressing the home button as they would when waking the phone from sleep.

Most recently, rumors of a “silver ring” surrounding the “iPhone 5S” home button surfaced, with some claiming the part was added as an aesthetic flourish. AppleInsider, however, reported that Apple’s patent applications suggest the component likely serves a functional purpose in the fingerprint sensor’s design.

All should be revealed at today’s event, which is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPhone 5 “silver ring” around Home button could be part of fingerprint reader system

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Date: Monday, September 9th, 2013, 09:20
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

You know that rumored cool “silver ring” that’s been rumored for the upcoming iPhone 5S handset?

It might be part of a fingerprint sensor.

Per AppleInsider and Fox News’ This Week in Tech, reporter Clayton Morris proposed the ring is merely aesthetic, possibly added so users can easily distinguish an iPhone that has a built-in fingerprint sensor from those that do not.

However, given recent patent filings, the metallic ring may be a functional component necessary to the sensor’s operation.

There stands a variety of ways to accomplish biometric fingerprint readings, including the stereotypical “swiping” motion made famous in movies, as well as methods using optical, thermal, pressure and capacitive measurements, among others. AuthenTec, which Apple purchased in 2012 for US$356 million, uses a few different capture methods in its products, though the tech most likely to be used in the iPhone doesn’t involve swiping.

Typical methods of swipe authentication, usually direct capacitance, involve a thin “strip” sensor that captures and stitches together multiple images of a fingerprint as a user sweeps their finger across the sensing plate. With direct capacitance, an electrical field is applied to the sensor, which detects ridges and valleys — the skin structures that form fingerprint whorls — by measuring variations in capacitance at the sensor plate. Lower capacitance denotes skin that is farther from the sensor, or valleys, while higher capacitance is associated with ridges.

A more accurate and robust method of capture is called radio frequency field sensing, or AC capacitance. Like direct capacitive sensing, this technique also measures capacitance of a sort, but the similarities end there. Instead of measuring the effect on an electrical field, a low frequency RF signal is inserted into the finger and received by the sensor. In this case, RF signal strength captured by the pixel traces are measured and the corresponding data is translated to form an image of the print.

Benefits of RF field/AC capacitance sensing include static non-swipe readings, resistance to dust and capability for the sensor to operate even when covered by layers of protective material. These types of sensors are usually larger in size to allow for a wider capture area.

One patent, filed by AuthenTec cofounder Dale R. Setlak and subsequently assigned to Apple, goes into detail about a technology based on mechanics which are very similar to RF field sensing. The property also relates to the company’s “Smart Sensor” — also based on RF field sensing tech — which has been used successfully in at least one phone, the Japan-only Toshiba REGZA T-01D.

As noted in Setlak’s patent, along with other similar inventions credited to his name, electrodes need to be in contact with the finger to pump the drive signal that will ultimately be measured by pixel traces on the pixel plate.

In nearly all RF field sensors, a ring disposed around the sensor array acts as the electrode that drives the low frequency RF signal into the finger, which is attenuated by ridges and valleys in the print and finally captured by AC sensors as a high quality image.

As a type of bonus side effect, the tech can also be used as a form of input. By analyzing slight movements or changes in attenuation over time, the system can interpolate gesture behaviors like scrolling, cursor control and, when combined with a physical or virtual button, drag-and-drop operations.

Embedding this type of package in an iPhone’s home button is likely quite challenging as the part moves up and down constantly, which would put undue wear on the sensing module’s interconnects. It is possible that Apple has found a way to separate the finger ring from the sensor array in order to isolate the integral components from wear and tear. Such a system would also be less apt to fouling or misreadings due to debris.

As for utility, the sensor design wouldn’t force users to swipe the home button to authenticate, but would have the module read the print while a user presses the button to wake the phone from sleep. In other words, the security factor would take place seamlessly. No new gestures to learn, just enhanced functionality, transparent to the user.

It remains wholly unknown if Apple has incorporated this particular fingerprint technology into the next-gen iPhone, though circumstantial evidence seems to point in that very specific direction.

Further, a non-functional aesthetic bezel rimming the home button, which has seen nary a design tweak since the first iPhone launched in 2007, simply to demarcate new biometric capabilities seems to go against Apple’s design sensibilities. When the company introduced a front-facing camera with the iPhone 4, it buried the feature just above the earpiece. No special decorations or embellishments to note that the handset sported FaceTime capabilities.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and be sure to check in tomorrow for coverage of Apple’s September 10th iPhone press event.

Leaked internal document shows Vodafone Germany slimming down iPhone 4S, 5 options following next-gen iPhone release

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 6th, 2013, 07:29
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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Come the next generation of iPhones, your Vodafone iPhone 5 and 4S choices in Germany could be limited to the most basic models.

Per Flo’s Weblog and MacRumors, an internal email has noted that the 32 and 64GB iPhone 5 in both black and white will be discontinued, along with the black/white 16GB iPhone 4S.

This confirms an inventory leak from Canadian carrier Telus, which also suggested that Apple would discontinue the higher end iPhone 5 models. Both carrier leaks indicate that Apple’s upcoming product lineup will consist of the flagship iPhone 5S, the low-cost iPhone “5C”, and the 16GB iPhone 5.

Apple’s iPhone lineup has been in question over the past several months, and it has been unclear whether the iPhone 5C will serve as a replacement for the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 4S. The cost of the iPhone 5C remains unknown, and speculation has suggested that the phone, which is said to use many of the same parts as the existing iPhone 5, may not be truly low-cost, necessitating the inclusion of the lower-priced iPhone 4S in the product line.

An August note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that Apple would discontinue the iPhone 5 in favor of the iPhone 5C while continuing to sell the iPhone 4S through the end of of the year, but the information from Vodafone Germany contradicts this theory.

It is unclear where the iPhone 5 will fit into Apple’s iPhone line in terms of price. Estimates have suggested that the iPhone 5C will retail for US$400 to US$500 off-contract, and it is likely that the iPhone 5 would have a similar price tag. The iPhone 4S, though, could be priced below the iPhone 5C if it remains in Apple’s product lineup.

Apple plans to unveil the iPhone 5S and 5C during a September 10 iPhone event. The phones are expected to ship to a number of countries shortly after, on September 20.

If you’re in the German marketplace and have heard anything to this extent, let us know in the comments.

Apple pins down September 11th for China media event, speculation surfaces

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Date: Thursday, September 5th, 2013, 06:09
Category: iPhone, News

A recent announcement that Apple will hold its first-ever iPhone media event in China has indicated some huge things, such as a sooner-than-expected launch of new models in that country, or perhaps a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has repeatedly identified China as a crucial market that will play a key role in his company’s future growth. But competitors such as Samsung and Lenovo have had more success in China recently.

For that reason, it’s been speculated that the Chinese market is one of the key reasons Apple is planning to release a new, more affordable iPhone model with a plastic back. And this week, Apple sent out invitations to members of the press for a media event on Sept. 11, a day after Apple is set to debut its new iPhones in the U.S.

While that event is expected to simply be a rebroadcast of the company’s keynote presentation, the fact that Apple is holding a media event in China for the first time has fueled speculation that the company may be planning something big for that market.

Two theories making their rounds include a day-and-date launch of new iPhone models matching their debut in the U.S. and other large markets, as well as the possibility of an agreement with mega-carrier China Mobile. The latter has been an obstacle for Apple for some time, as China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with more than 700 million active subscribers.

Cook himself is said to have traveled to visit with the head of China Mobile on a number of occasions in an effort to forge a deal. But sticking points have remained, including the fact that the carrier would like to receive a cut of software sold on the iOS App Store.

Some have suggested that Apple may even be willing to make concessions in order to make the iPhone available on China Mobile. In particular, China Mobile is interested in keeping the devices it offers affordable, as it serves hundreds of millions of poor rural subscribers.

As for the launch date, Apple is expected to make its new iPhones available on Friday, Sept. 20, based on past release schedules. One rumor from last month claimed that government regulation could hold up the launch of new iPhones in China until late November, but now market watchers are hopeful that Apple could make those devices available in China much sooner.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked internal document shows Telus’ possible discontinuation of 32GB, 64GB iPhone 5 units after September 28th

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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If you’re up north, here’s your moderate heart attack for the day.

Per MobileSyrup and 9to5Mac, a leaked document from Canadian carrier Telus shows that the carrier has plans to discontinue the iPhone 5 on September 28 just days after the next-generation iPhones are rumored to launch. Although it would lend weight to the theory that Apple could get rid of the iPhone 5 since the rumored iPhone 5S and especially the lower cost iPhone 5C are so close internally to the current device, the doc only shows that the 32GB and 64GB models will be discontinued, which might be a clue the 16GB iPhone 5 will stick around as an entry level model.

Keeping the 16GB iPhone 5 seems to line up with what we’ve been hearing at Verizon and adds even more weight to the theory that Apple will keep the iPhone 5 around as a lower cost option perhaps in between the 5S and the 5C in much the same way that the last-gen iPhone 4S currently occupies the US$99/plan spot in Apple’s lineup.

On the other hand, often-accurate KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this month that he thinks Apple will stop selling the iPhone 5 at the end of Q3 2013 and continuing selling the iPhone 4S until the end of the year.

Apple yesterday sent out invites to the September 10th event and is expected to start selling the iPhone 5S and 5C starting around the 20th of September.

If you’re currently a Telus subscriber and have noticed any changes up north, please let us know via the comments.

Apple confirms September 10th media event, hints at next-gen iPhone handsets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 06:12
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

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It went official yesterday.

On Tuesday, Apple sent out invitations for a media event next Tuesday, Sept. 10, at which the company is expected to show off its next-generation iPhone models that will come in a new range of colors.

Per The Loop, the event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, according to The Loop. It will be held at Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Though the invitation itself makes no mention of the iPhone, it does say that the announcement “should brighten everyone’s day” — a likely reference to the fact that Apple is expected to offer its next iPhones in an array of new colors. Specifically, leaked parts have suggested “iPhone 5S” will be available in a new “champagne” shade, while a low-cost plastic “iPhone 5C” will potentially be available in white, green, red, blue, pink, and possibly more.


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Colors featured in the invitation include yellow, green, orange, white, red, pink, and shades of dark and light blue. Apple’s forthcoming iOS 7 update is also a more vibrant and colorful update to the company’s mobile operating system.

The company may have some surprises in store for fans and observers when Chief Executive Tim Cook presumably takes the stage next Tuesday, but the event is widely expected to center on the company’s largest revenue generator: the iPhone. It will likely see the unveiling of the successor to the iPhone 5, currently thought to be named the “iPhone 5S.”

The company’s next-generation premium smartphone is expected to include a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. Last year, Apple purchased AuthenTec, a biometric security firm, potentially setting the stage for the defining feature of this year’s iPhone.

Integrating a fingerprint sensor — a move that would largely negate the need for passwords and lock-screen codes — could give Apple an edge that its competition could not likely soon address.

Apple’s “S” series iPhones have typically been refinements of the models immediately preceding them, and most of the rumors surrounding the “5S” have been in that vein. Leaked cases for the device have shown that it will retain the same form factor as the iPhone 5, though it may be available in a “champagne” color option, as well as the existing black and white models.

Analysts expect a 31 percent faster “A7″ chip that could be 20 percent more power efficient than the A6 seen in the iPhone 5. It may also feature a dedicated motion-tracking chip to enable a new range of user interactions.

Apple is also rumored to offer a model of the device with 128 gigabytes of storage, while the camera is expected to be upgraded with a dual-LED flash component for better low-light pictures. It’s likely that the camera itself will also see improvements.

Perhaps the most widely leaked device, though, has been the expected lower-cost plastic iPhone. That model is believed to be called the “iPhone 5C,” and recent leaks of an apparent user manual seem to confirm that name.

Observers believe that Apple will largely repackage the internals of the existing iPhone 5 into a polycarbonate shell to lower manufacturing costs. To differentiate the device, the “5C” would be available in a range of colors.

The move back to polycarbonate for the chassis would allow Apple to offer the “iPhone 5C” at a much lower price point than the premium-built iPhone 5 or anticipated “iPhone 5S.” That lower price could give Apple a better chance of picking up mid-range smartphone customers, who often choose Android phones when upgrading from feature phones simply due to price.

Most importantly, though, a lower-cost iPhone would give Apple a much better chance of competing in the world’s largest smartphone market: China. Investment firm UBS opined in August that an affordable iPhone would move more than 11 million units on China Mobile alone.

The Sept. 10 event will also mark the announcement of a release date for Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 7. The new platform, revealed at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, features an almost complete visual overhaul, with many of the features of previous iOS versions giving way to a “flatter” aesthetic spun out of the leadership of Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief.

Aside from the new look, iOS 7 will also feature iTunes Radio, a new music streaming service that will take on Pandora, Spotify, and other services. It will also come with improvements to Siri, allowing Apple’s digital assistant to display more information and control phone settings, and tweaks to the Camera app, giving users access to more editing options.

The media event is likely to offer final – and long-anticipated – release dates for the next-gen iPhone handsets as well as iOS 7.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked internal memo shows Apple blocking AppleCare employees’ vacation time between Sept. 15 – 28, next-gen iPhone, iOS 7 launches cited

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Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 06:18
Category: iPhone, News, retail

When a company blacks out employee vacation days, they’re up to something.

Per AppleInsider, AppleCare employees have been restricted from taking time off for a two-week period, from Sept. 15 through 28 — a span during which Apple is expected to launch its new iPhone lineup, as well as the revamped iOS 7 mobile operating system.

An internal company document purportedly shows time off available for AppleCare employees for the latter half of September. As can be seen in the calendar, available time off drops off significantly starting Sunday, Sept. 15, and continues through Saturday, Sept. 28.

The image provided shows the calendar being accessed via virtual private network from an internal Apple employee domain. Potentially identifying portions of the picture have been cropped out.

Apple is generally expected to make its new iPhone models available for sale on Friday, Sept. 20, just over a week after the company is gearing up to hold a media event to introduce the new devices. Based on prior years’ release schedules, it’s likely that iOS 7 a few days prior, perhaps on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Between the debut of new iPhones and the launch of a different-looking operating system in iOS 7, AppleCare telephone support will likely have their hands full. As such, Apple has restricted employee time off for a two-week span covering not only the expected launch, but a full week after.

Developers have had their hands on iOS 7 since the new platform was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The platform has a cleaner and more colorful look than its predecessor, with simpler icons and graphics, but it also packs in new features and functionality, such as a revamped Notification Center and quick-access Control Center.

Built-in apps and functions such as Photos, Camera, Weather, Safari, multitasking and Siri also sport new designs that may initially confuse new users once they are prompted to update to iOS 7.

As for hardware, Apple is set to hold an event on Sept. 10 that will focus on the company’s new iPhones. Specifically, Apple is expected to introduce a new high-end “iPhone 5S” with an integrated fingerprint sensor under the home button, as well as a more affordable “iPhone 5C” with a plastic back available in a range of colors.

The iPhone is Apple’s most popular product, and 2013 is expected to be the first time the company launches two new models at the same time, which sets the stage for the company’s biggest product debut ever.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.