It’s September. The kids are back to school, the leaves are changing color, and Apple is ready to unleash its latest iPhone models on a tech-hungry public – and that’s exactly what they did today during the Apple Keynote in Cupertino, California.

Taking to the stage, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled not one, but two new models of iPhone for the discriminating smartphone shopper: the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.

Rather than lowering the price on the iPhone 5, Apple is trying a new strategy: replacing it with something better and cheaper. That’s a smart move – especially for a product line that’s always catered exclusively to the high-end market. Apple has never unveiled a budget model of the iPhone before now – people have either had to buy what’s hot or what’s old, with no options in-between. The newly announced iPhone 5C should fill that void nicely.

 

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Blue is one of five colors for the iPhone 5C, and Badland is just a great game

 

So what’s different about the 5C? For one, the back and sides are now made from a single piece of plastic – a cost effective move that should have little-to-no impact on the user experience, short of lowering the cost. The device will come in a variety of colorful colors (another first for the iPhone line), feature much of the same hardware as the iPhone 5 (A6 chip, 8-megapixel rear camera), as well as a few improvements (larger battery, improved FaceTime HD camera).

You’ll be able to pick up the 5C on a two-year contract for as little as $99 for the 16GB model (and $199 for the 32GB).

While this might be a great option for the few of you who are still on the fence about which smartphone to buy, its entirely likely that this move has very little to do with your habits as a consumer – at least if you live in North America and Europe. In other parts of the world like China, where affluence is the exception rather than the rule, Android phones have been dominating the market. By offering a low-cost alternative to their high-end model, Apple could be making a move to shift the balance of power outside of the West.

Of course, there may be other reasons that Android dominates in certain regions. Frankly, this topic is deserving of an article all its own.

On the higher end of things, Apple has also unveiled the iPhone 5S – their latest stab at being the biggest, brightest, sleekest and fastest.

Keeping with the color-trends of the 5C, you’ll be able to pick up the 5S in gold, slate, and silver. But that’s not really what you wanted to know, is it? You want to know what’s under the hood.

 

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iPhone 5S = A7 Chip = 64-bit = Infinity Blade III = MY HEAD A-SPLODE

 

The iPhone 5S will be sporting the brand new A7 chip, which has the distinction of being the first ever 64-bit chip on a smartphone. And just like when you upgraded your desktop to 64-bit, you’ll find that Apple’s own software will be the first to make the change, with developers following suit when they want to (don’t worry – the iPhone 5S will run 32-bit software just fine). This should translate into a 40x CPU speed improvement and 56x faster graphics (or so says Apple).

There are other new features on the 5S, ranging from camera improvements to fingerprint security – but for gaming, the A7 is really the one change worth noting. And it’s kind of a big one.

Moving to a 64-bit architecture could be a real game changer (pardon my pun) for smartphone gaming. When Infinity Blade III launches on September 18th, it will be the first 64-bit game on the device. It won’t be long until we know if the hands-on wow-factor is as big as it sounds on paper.

You’ll be able to pre-order both the iPhone 5C and 5S (16GB/$199, 32GB/$299, 64GB/$399) starting on September 13, with the phones available for purchase at retail on September 20 – so long as you live in certain countries: United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UK, and, for the first time…

…China.