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It’s now widely accepted Apple will, for the first time in iPhone history, launch not one but two new iPhones this coming Tuesday. One, a flagship iPhone 5S, and the other a long-rumored budget iPhone that should help the company tap emerging markets where telcos rarely subsidize devices.
Critics assume the so-called iPhone 5C will somehow flop because it’ll have a plastic shell. In reality, coupled with Apple’s marketing prowess and brand power, the iPhone 5C will widen Apple’s price umbrella and replace the $450 off-contract iPhone 4S as Apple’s most affordable iPhone yet – without offering a two-year old hardware.
Basically an iPhone 5 redesigned around the polycarbonate plastic casing offered in a variety of bright colors, the iPhone 5C is meant to improve Apple’s standing in emerging markets like China, India and Russia while appealing to those who are looking for a more affordable alternative to Apple’s flagship iPhone.
Here’s what we think we know so far about Apple’s controversial plastic iPhone, based on the widely-accepted rumors, leaks and reports by reliable bloggers and credulous publications.The name: just don’t call it cheap
At first, journalists dubbed it the budget iPhone, with big media such as WSJ, Reuters and Bloomberg opting for the politically correct nicknames to refer to a ‘less-pricey’, ‘low-cost’ or ‘inexpensive iPhone’.
It wasn’t until chúng tôi published a set of photos showing a bunch of boxes with the label ‘iPhone 5C’ on the side that the blogosphere adopted the moniker.
Since then, a number of analysts and outlets have confirmed the name, including WSJ, Bloomberg and China Telecom. So, what does the ‘C’ in the iPhone 5C denomination stand for? A number of theories are floating around: some say the ‘C’ means Colors.
One thing is pretty certain: the ‘C’ does not stand for cheap. Apple’s never added the letter ‘C’ to an iPhone model before, leading some watchers to conjure the company might perhaps market the handset as an ‘iPhone C’. Which brings me to my question of the day.
iPhone 5C packaging render.
iPhone 5C packaging render.
Assuming Apple sticks to its mid-cycle S-upgrades, what is a 2014 plastic iPhone going to be called? An iPhone 5CS? An iPhone CS? An iPhone 6C? What about 2023? There should be an iPhone 6S in 2023 so what’ll they call its budget variant, an iPhone 6CS?
Perhaps Apple should think about rethinking its iPhone naming convention?Design: scratch-resistant plastic shell
Borrowing vague design cues from the iPhone 3G/3GS, the iPhone 5C ditches the two-tone aluminum iPhone 5 design for a rounded polycarbonate plastic casing that’s much easier to shape than aluminum. Even the lens cover appears to be plastic (the iPhone 5 uses sapphire crystal for added protection). The all-plastic casing obviously reduces parts and assembly costs, allowing for a more affordable device.
The backplate will be colorized and the front panel should be all black, though that’s inconclusive. Taking a closer look at the inside of the backpanel, the iPhone 5C uses both metal and plastic parts to support the internal components.
A leaked manual clearly depicts the Lightning connector and standard hardware buttons, including the mute switch and Home, power/sleep and volume up/down buttons.
The volume up and down buttons (below) are more of a pill shape, somewhat resembling the buttons found on the fifth-generation iPod touch. Now, even though it’s made from plastic, the handset’s casing is described as pretty thick and substantial, making the iPhone 5C slightly thicker, wider and heavier than its counterpart, as seen below.
According to a scratch-resistance video by Taiwan’s Apple Daily, the iPhone 5C has a surface hardness of 8H on the pencil hardness test, or three times stronger than the regular PET film used to protect the iPhone’s display from scratches.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pegs the plastic body between 0.4 and 0.6 millimeters thick versus the average plastic casing at between 0.7 and 1 millimeter. The mix of glass fiber and plastic allows for a stronger, thinner and lighter appearance compared to other plasticky casings.
Along the bottom (from left to right) there’s the headphone jack, the mic hole, space for a screw, the Lightning connector, another hole for a screw and the cutouts for the speaker – again, resembling more the fifth-generation iPod touch than the iPhone 5.
On the back, there’s an iSight camera, noise-canceling microphone and standard LED flash (leaving the rumored dual-LED flash exclusive to the iPhone 5S).
The expected cutout for the SIM tray on the left appears to be sized appropriately for the Nano SIM cards, like the iPhone 5. Like all prior handset models, the branding on the back simply says ‘iPhone’, with no model-specific moniker.The display: four-inch Retina screen
There’s no question the iPhone 5C will pack in a four-inch display, even if the less-informed analysts have conjured up that the screen won’t be Retina for cost-saving reasons. That couldn’t be further from truth.
Make no mistake about it, Apple’s 2013 iPhone lineup is going to be all-Retina. The same goes for unfounded talk of a 3.5-inch display, which can be easily disputed by a myriad of leaked back shells.
Will it be plastic with white or black front?
Will it be plastic with white or black front?
Bottom line: worst case, Apple could save a few bucks by outfitting the device with a non-IPS LCD technology, meaning poor man’s viewing angles like on the iPod touch.Cameras: no surprises here
By all accounts, the iPhone 5C features the same front-facing FaceTime camera with a rather paltry 1.2-megapixel photos and bearable 720p HD video with up to 30 frames per second. The back-facing iSight camera is thought to be of an eight-megapixel variety with full HD 1080p video capture at up to 30 frames per second – essentially the same as on the iPhone 5.
iPhone 5C protective case rendering.Internals: similar to the iPhone 5
The rumor-mill seemingly agrees that many of the internals inside the iPhone 5C will match up with the currently available iPhone 5. This totally makes sense: Apple’s been building the iPhone 5 for a year and they must have optimized manufacturing and parts costs by now.
I imagine Apple’s supply chain maestro Tim Cook opted to re-use the iPhone 5 components to keep bill of materials at a minimum as opposed to engineering brand new parts. Here is reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s view of iPhone 5C internals.
The iPhone 5 logic board (left) lines up nicely with the iPhone 5C screw holes (right).Networking: no Gigabit Wi-Fi, NFC and LTE+
The iPhone 5 logic board (left) lines up nicely with the iPhone 5C screw holes (right).
At a minimum, the iPhone 5C should support all flavors of fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology the iPhone 5 does. We’re not expecting support for up to three times faster LTE Advanced. LTE Advanced (also known as LTE-A or LTE+) allows for theoretical simultaneous download and upload speeds of 300 megabits per second, or up to three times faster than current LTE theoretical speeds.
While LTE Advanced networking is conceivable on the iPhone 5S, cost considerations and the currently very low penetration rate of this latest standard make the ultra-fast 150MBit LTE Advanced a no-go on the iPhone 5C.
On the other hand, if China Mobile will sell the iPhone 5C, the device must support the telco’s nascent TD-LTE 4G network. There could also be a special China Mobile version of the iPhone 5C, even if that runs contrast to Apple’s penchant for keeping things simple.
Whether or not the iPhone 5C supports 802.11ac – the latest in Wi-Fi networking – is up for the debate. Also known as Gigabit Wi-Fi, the standard promises three times the data throughput of the conventional Wi-Fi standard.
Now, only the 2013 editions of the MacBook Air family and the AirPort Express/Time Capsule wireless appliances sport 802.11ac networking . The upcoming Mac Pro will have it and it’s fairly safe to speculate that Gigabit Wi-Fi will be part of the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2, as well as Haswell-focused iMac, Mac mini and MacBook Pro refreshes.
AirDrop, one of the headline new iOS 7 features, is hardware-dependent. Even though AirDrop does not specifically require 802.11ac chips, the feature is currently supported only on the iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini and fifth-generation iPod touch.
That said, we imagine the same Wi-Fi networking capabilities from the iPhone 5 will be supported on the iPhone 5C, at a minimum. Chances of Apple giving the iPhone 5C LTE Advanced and 802.11ac capabilities are slim – it’s perfectly plausible these features are exclusive to the flagship iPhone 5S.
No, we’re not expecting NFC either.
Summing up, we think the iPhone 5C will feature Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi on 2.4 and 5GHz bands, aGPS and GLONASS, as well as DC-HSPA+ and LTE.Colors: five bright colorways
The iPhone 5C is expected to come in various colorways, some of them revealed by the frequent part-spotter Sonny Dickson. In total, the handset should be offered in five different colors: blue, green, yellow, white and red – the latter appearing to be more of a pinkish hue.
Sketchy reports have also called for a completely black iPhone 5C, though the leaked shots were later debunked as fake.
The fake iPhone 5C backplate.
The fake iPhone 5C backplate.
Here is a potential green variant without the sticker.
And the following image apparently represents a bunch of iPhone 5C units being warmed up at Pegatron’s Shanghai plant for quality assurance purposes.
Pegatron is Apple’s primary assembler of the iPhone 5C as Apple seeks to diversify risk after last year Foxconn manufacturing glitches with the iPhone 5 (hint: scratches, nicks and Scuffgate), according to WSJ.
The contract manufacturer, named after the mythical flying horse Pegasus, became a minor producer of iPhones in 2011 and started assembling iPad minis last year.Packaging: plastic box ala iPod touch
Apple’s never made a plastic iPhone box before so folks were taken aback when chúng tôi published photos depicting boxes with the label ‘iPhone 5C’ on the side.
Though we can’t vouch for their authenticity, a number of photos from various sources have corroborated that the device will come inside a transparent plastic box that looks a lot like the iPod touch packaging.
Here’s iPhone 5C packaging shared by chúng tôi in late-July.
And below is the current iPod touch plastic box.
And here’s apparently a blue iPhone 5C, still in its retail packaging.
Watchful readers could point out Apple since 2012 has been color-matching the external coloring of the iPod nanos with the wallpaper, as can be seen below.
Summing up, as the iPhone 5C is all about building a more affordable device for cash-strapped buyers. Therefore, it’s not entirely inconceivable that cost saving measures would extend to the product’s retail packaging. Another benefit of transparent plastic boxes: folks get to see the actual device right on store shelves.Pricing: think mid-range, not cheap
The iPhone 5C should be sold for a significantly lower price than the flagship iPhone 5S when purchased off-contract, with a full retail price pegged at $350-$450 or $400-$500, depending on whom you ask. At any rate, That’s considerably more affordable than the $649 price of the unsubsidized iPhone 5.
While Apple is believed to offer the iPhone 5C both on and off-contract from day one – unlike past iPhone releases where a contract-free variant arrived a few months following the launch – carrier subsidies should bring the upfront payment down to something like $99 for customers willing to sign on the dotted line.
Assuming the off-contract iPhone 5C starts out at $450 for the basic model with sixteen gigabytes of storage (or perhaps even 8GB?), the 32/64GB tiers should translate to $550 and $650, respectively. Sorry, we’re not expecting a 128GB iPhone 5C variant – yes, another iPhone 5S exclusive.
One caveat: should Apple drop the iPhone 5/4S/4 from the lineup come September 20, the on-contract iPhone 5C could just as well become Apple’s new “free” iPhone.
I’m only speculating here, but the aforementioned price matrix would be consistent with Apple’s strategy of discounting previous-generation iPhones. Oh, we also don’t expect the iPhone 4S to be offered shortly as its smaller 3.5-inch screen would feel oddly out of place in the iPhone 5/5S/5C four-inch Retina lineup.
Last but not least, it’ll be interesting what ad tactics Apple’s marketing wizards cook up to pitch a plastic iPhone to consumers without sounding like a lesser-buy.Availability: September 20, coming later to China Mobile and NTT DoCoMo
We’re expecting both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S to be available across Apple’s key markets beginning Friday, September 20, with iOS 7 preloaded. This should give Apple a period of ten days to collect pre-orders between the September 10 announcement and wider September 20 availability.
As evidenced by employee vacation blackouts – not only by Apple, but major U.S. carriers as well – the device is expected to launch simultaneously across AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks. Sprint hasn’t cancelled their retail employee vacations yet so we’re guessing the telco could land the new iPhones a bit later.
The iPhone 5 launched last September in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. By the end of 2012, the handset launched on 240 different carriers in a hundred countries.
WSJ all but confirmed that Apple has finally inked a landmark distribution agreement with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier. Two days ago, Reuters confirmed that Japan’s NTT DoCoMo will start carrying iPhones this Fall. Both are huge developments for Apple as the iPhone isn’t yet available on some of the world’s largest wireless carriers.
China Mobile has 700+ million subscribers, more than AT&T and Verizon combined! NTT DoCoMo is 60 million mobile users strong. Just adding these two carriers to the fold should add up significantly to iPhone sales and Apple’s bottom line.Sales predictions
According to one estimate, expanded distribution will help the company push 13 million iPhone 5S/5C units in the first ten days of sale – or more than a million units a day – per Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves. Those would be record numbers, in accordance with the ‘most successful launch in Apple’s history’ prediction.
All told, Hargreaves expects up to 13 million iPhone sales before the September quarter closes and some 31 million units during the Christmas quarter.iPhone 5C videos
If picture is worth a thousand words, a video may be worth a million.
• iPhone 5C mystery case by Macotakara
You’re going to love these hands-on clips.Signing off…
About the flagship iPhone 5S: two-tone iPhone 5 design, colorized backplate choices – including the controversial gold/champagne and graphite variants – at least a third-faster A7 chip and improved camera with much better low light shooting, 120FPS slow motion video capture, a 12 or 13-megapixel sensor and dual-LED flash.
And of course, the central feature: a redesigned Home button with an AuthenTec fingerprint sensor for user authentication (Slide To Identify?) and more. It should be the handset’s killer feature. If it means anything, insiders liken it to the seismic shift Siri was two years ago.
Apple recently began training its AppleCare support staff and retail employees on iOS 7 and iTunes Radio so we’re expecting both devices to hit Apple Stores and carriers simultaneously. Those of you looking to dump your old device, Apple will pay up to $280 credit for used iPhones.
So what do you guys think?
Did I miss anything?
You're reading Everything We Think We Know About Iphone 5C
Last Updated on July 22, 2023
Ming-Chi-Kuo is at it again with iPhone SE successor rumors this time around. MacRumors have a great knack for getting their hands on investors notes, with the latest one dropping some major iPhone SE3/pro bombs:
“We expect Apple to release a new iPhone SE in 2023 with a larger display than the 1H22 SE’s 4.7-inch and 4GB of memory support (vs. 3GB in the 1H22 SE). We predict that Luxshare-ICT will be the NPI supplier for the 2023 iPhone SE.“
The display is rumored to be Apple’s last iPhone shipped with an LCD display, however, it will feature a hole-punch front-facing camera instead of the cursed Apple notch. Overall, we’re looking at an iPhone XR-type design rather than anything resembling the current iPhone 13 line.
It’s hardly surprising that Apple is already preparing for an iPhone 14 release date, their yearly upgrade cycle is key to keeping the iPhone brand fresh in the public consciousness. It’s also key to keeping manufacturing costs down for Apple whilst providing better tech to willing fans.
In fact, we have a better idea than usual about how iPhone 14 and its various iterations will look thanks to a leak by Front Page Techs’ own Jon Prosser. Whilst he’s noted for leaking the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in July 2023, his leaks can sometimes be a bit iffy when it comes to specs. As usual, take any leaks with a pinch of salt until the real McCoy has been revealed. Here’s a gallery of images below that are reported renders of the iPhone 14 but may be subject to change with them not being an actual iPhone 14 unit:
Although it hasn’t been announced, we normally expect iPhone 14 release dates around September time every year. Worst case scenario, you can expect iPhone 14 to be on store shelves before Black Friday 2023 for sure. In terms of pricing, there’s nothing confirmed although we can assume Apple will be following on from their budget to premium offerings as they did with iPhone 13 too. Anywhere between $699 and $1499 is as accurate as we can be right now.iPhone 14 models and design
It’s safe to say that iPhone 14 will offer various models in its line-up to suit different budgets and tasks. It’s looking like the iPhone 14 Mini might not happen in 2023, with Apple opting for an iPhone 14 Max model with a larger screen and diminished camera specs to keep costs down. The plus side of a bigger phone is a bigger battery capacity, which may make the new iPhone 14 MAx a big deal when it comes to budget-busting. We can also expect Pro and Pro Max models too, although we’re not sure how this will look when it comes down to official announcements and launch day.
That glass and aluminum sandwich don’t quit, will it? Credit: Front Page Tech/Jon Prosser
It’s looking like Apple may be finally going all in for a selfie camera punch-hole instead of the fowl bar taking up precious screen space. With rumblings of Samsung going for an under-screen selfie camera with its next iteration of Galaxy handsets, Apple may go for similar technology to jump ahead of the curve. Under-screen fingerprint ID and Face ID are also rumored to make an appearance. iPhone 14 may feature a complete design overhaul, even though the last four generations of iPhones have more or less looked the same.iPhone 14 Camera
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is backed up Prossers claims alongside stating iPhone 14 will feature a 48MP camera in its setup. 9to5Mac speculated further on this statement by thinking Apple may use the same ‘four-cell merge output mode’ features seen in some Android smartphone camera setups. This technology takes the raw data captured by a 48MP camera to create a quality 12Mp image with more detail and less noise. Only time will tell, but the render leaks do feature an iPhone 13-esque camera array that is completely sunk into the handset.
As production of the antiviral Paxlovid, made by Pfizer, ramped up this spring, the drug became a cornerstone of the US’s COVID response. The White House has invested in test-to-treat infrastructure that connects people with COVID to Paxlovid instantly, and the government is now distributing close to half a million doses of the drug each week. And the pill, which attacks a key protein involved in SARS-CoV-2 reproduction, is genuinely life-saving. In clinical trials, a five-day treatment reduced the rate of hospitalization and death by 90 percent.
But for some people taking the pill, COVID still comes back. The phenomenon, called Paxlovid or COVID rebound, is relatively new and poorly understood. For a smattering of patients, rebound means a flare-up of fever, cough, or other symptoms. For others, the rebound is asymptomatic, but they begin testing positive after testing negative at the end of treatment.
Kami Kim, director of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine at the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine, spoke to Popular Science while in quarantine with a rebound COVID case. Last month, Kim tested positive for the virus for first time during the pandemic. Although she’s not at high risk, “I got reasonably sick and my boss insisted that I take Paxlovid, because you have to give it early,” she says. Her symptoms—congestion and GI issues—cleared up soon after she started taking it.
But two weeks after her first infection started, Kim started to feel like she was allergic to something. She didn’t think much of it, until she was exposed to COVID during a trip a few days later. She took a rapid test, and it was “screamingly positive,” she says. So, she went back into quarantine. If not for that exposure, she explains, she would have just thought the symptoms were allergies. “That’s sort of like the classic story of Paxlovid rebound. You become symptomatic, but not as seriously as the first found.”
[Related: What to consider when taking Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill Paxlovid]
Reports of widespread Paxlovid rebound in the US go back to early spring 2023. On May 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released revised guidance for people experiencing a relapse. According to the agency, patients should treat the rebound like a second round of the disease, and begin their isolation over again.
Clinical trials for Pfizer’s antiviral, which were conducted in people who smoked, were immunocompromised, or otherwise at high risk of severe COVID, saw rebound in only about 1 percent of patients. So far, there have been no comprehensive studies on the rate of Paxlovid rebound in the general public, but anecdotal reports make it more common than 1 percent. That difference could be in part because doctors are prescribing the pill to people at low risk of COVID—rather than the high-risk population included in the trial. It “could be because we’re simply not using it in the populations in which it’s been studied,” Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California at San Francisco, told STAT last month.
According to the CDC, there are so far no reports of anyone experiencing severe disease during a rebound case, meaning the risk is more about continued transmission of the virus rather than danger to the patient. “It’s not like these drugs aren’t working,” Kim says. “Even with Omicron, it’s keeping people out of the hospital.”
Because Paxlovid was only recently developed to treat COVID, it has some unknowns. At first, researchers worried that rebound was a sign that the virus was becoming resistant to the drug. But genomic analysis of rebound cases hasn’t found any mutations to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is adapting. Other possibilities are that the virus might survive the drug by hiding in some unknown organ reservoir, or that the body’s immune system doesn’t ramp up quickly enough to take down straggling viral particles.
[Related: An estimate of how many Americans have died from each COVID variant]
“If you think about how the drug works, it sort of mechanistically makes sense,” says Kim. Unlike monoclonal antibodies, which stop the virus from infecting cells, Paxlovid prevents SARS-CoV-2 from replicating. “But the virus is there, unless your immune system killed off all those cells that are infected. In theory, the virus could go silent,” Kim explains. “Then it wasn’t completely knocked out, and your immune system hadn’t killed off all the infected cells, in theory, it could start replicating again.”
Another reason why Paxlovid rebound has been so hard to diagnose is the unpredictability of untreated COVID infections. Some people have the live virus in their system and remain contagious well after 10 days. Early in the pandemic, here were even reports of patients recovering and relapsing repeatedly over the course of several months.
One study of those untreated relapses noted they were hard to count because they were largely self-reported. But it found that, at least in mildly ill patients, COVID rebound was unlikely to be caused by lingering virus particles. Instead, it probably had more to do with the individual’s immune response.
Immunologists are researching similar questions on long COVID, which for some people manifests as repeated flare-ups of infection symptoms. It’s likely that long COVID has a number of different causes, but one prominent hypothesis involves some kind of viral reservoir.
For individuals experiencing Paxlovid rebound, the biggest concern is that it could make them infectious once again. But at a scientific level, it’s not clear if it’s a feature of the drug, or the strangeness of COVID infections themselves.
What could be a better way of starting the new year but with a new Google Phone?Well, Google surely knows how to create the hype and the buzz to build the excitement over the Google Phone, which up to know is tentatively called Nexus One. What started out as a rumor, has been blown out of proportion.
So, are you excited about the Google Phone or Nexus One? I was telling Loren over IM that it’s one thing that’s making me excited about the new year simply because words on the street say that Google might actually ship the Nexus One outside the U.S. If that is true, I’ll make sure to be the first to have it here in Manila.
Anyway, in case you have missed the headlines, here are the major things that we know about the Google Phone aka Nexus One. These are all based on rumors and leaked information, so nothing is sure yet.
Of course we already told you before that the Google phone will run Android 2.1 and that the device itself will be produced by HTC. It will have Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, high-resolution display and will have full-touch control.
The “Unofficial” Official Carrier
The Launch Date
Almost at the same time that TmoNews was reportedly getting the Nexus One, some media people have started receiving invites from Google for an upcoming big “Android” event on January 5. The supposed event happens to be a week earlier than another important tech event in January – the CES 2010. Now, how sure are we that this Google event has something to do with the Nexus One? The invitation gave a hint about it by referring to the first Android phone released a year ago, saying that it was just the beginning of what is possible.
T-Mobile Pricing and Availability of Unlocked Nexus One
And this just came in via leaked documents as reported by Gizmodo. The Nexus One will be available through T-Mobile for $180 with two-year service plan. But the biggest surprise of all is that the Nexus One will be available unlocked and unsubsidized for $530. That price is of course a little cheaper than the unlocked, non-AT&T iPhone. Those who don’t want to be tied up with T-Mobile contract for two years can get the Nexus One from Google. A Google account holder can buy as many as five units of the Nexus One.
So, aren’t we all excited now? Are you getting the Nexus One unlocked or through T-Mobile? Or you’re not planning to get it at all?
The McLaren Grand Tourer: What we know about the breakout GT
McLaren is readying a new grand tourer, a brand new sports car that will step outside of the company’s existing Sports, Super, and Ultimate Series lines. Described by the automaker as “the McLaren of Grand Touring,” the new model will try to strike a balance between the speed and agility that the company is known for, and the very specific requirements of a vehicle intended for long road-trips.
That’s something McLaren has attempted before, in the shape of the 570GT. Launched back in 2023, the car joined the 570S in the Sports Series, keeping the engine but adding a larger glasshouse rear for extra cargo, and softening the dynamics a little with lengthier drives in mind.
While the 570GT was well-received, McLaren believes the time is right for an even more focused model. “It will be a car that combines competition levels of performance with continent- crossing capability, wrapped in a beautiful lightweight body,” Mike Flewitt, CEO at the automaker, said at the Geneva Motor Show 2023 this week. “It’s a car that has been designed for distance and one that will also provide the comfort and space expected of a Grand Tourer. But with a level of agility never experienced before in this segment.”
McLaren’s challenge will be balancing the performance focus it has become synonymous with in less than a decade of making road cars, with the realities of what people shopping for a grand tourer will prioritize. The risk there is that, if the new car is perceived as diluting that purity, it could end up turning off McLaren loyalists who have helped the automaker grow consistently year-on-year.
It’s a juggle that Flewitt is well aware of. “In addition,” he said of the new car, “it will be the lightest of Grand Tourers and by also having the best power-to-weight ratio, I promise it will be one of the quickest. In addition, it will be the only Grand Tourer to share its DNA with the 250mph McLaren Speedtail.”
Details are in short supply. McLaren has only released a single image, showing a heavily-camouflaged version of the car. We know it will be a two-seater, like the 570GT shown above, with a mid-engined layout. Unlike the Speedtail, it will be purely gasoline powered, not a hybrid. McLaren may well use the opportunity to roll out a new version of its twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
Cabin space will be greater, and there’ll be room to carry bulkier items like golf clubs or other sports equipment. While it may not be the first McLaren you choose to take to the track, that’s not to say it wouldn’t still be capable there.
What it isn’t, at least right now, is either fitting into an existing McLaren family or establishing a series of its own. The McLaren Grand Tourer will be a distinct model, separate from the Sports Series and Super Series. Unlike the 600LT and 600LT Spider, it won’t be a limited-run car either, but a regular production series car.
McLaren is clearly hedging its bets when it comes to how its range grows post-GT. The automaker won’t be drawn on whether this newest car will spawn a whole new family, with the Speedtail at its pinnacle. However, when pushed, company representatives pointed out that there was a significant gulf between this new Grand Tourer’s expected price tag in line with a 570S Spider – that starts at around $200k – and the nearly $2m a Speedtail will set buyers back.
Could a new, even more high-end Grand Tourer come to occupy that gap? That will likely depend in no small part on how this new car is received. We’ll know more when it gets its official name – and makes its full debut – in just a few months time.
What’s the weirdest thing you learned this week? Well, whatever it is, we promise you’ll have an even weirder answer if you listen to PopSci’s hit podcast. The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week hits Apple, Anchor, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts every-other Wednesday morning. It’s your new favorite source for the strangest science-adjacent facts, figures, and Wikipedia spirals the editors of Popular Science can muster. If you like the stories in this post, we guarantee you’ll love the show.FACT: Birds are real
By Purbita Saha
This fact might be blatantly obvious to listeners of a famous science podcast, but it’s important to clear the air with all the misinformation flying around the internet. In 2023, a student from Tennessee launched a national campaign called Birds Aren’t Real. He claimed that the CIA replaced every feathered creature, starting with rock pigeons, with drones during the Cold War. Apparently, these well-disguised machines are still used to surveil Americans today.
In recent interviews, the founder of Birds Aren’t Real says his movement calls attention to the harms and pervasiveness of real conspiracy theories, like QAnon. But whether it’s counterprogramming, clever marketing, or a big, fat joke, it’s raised the hackles of people who love and study birds. Avian evolution dates back hundreds of millions of years to a prominent group of dinosaurs that included T. rex, velociraptors, and the possibly flighted Archaeopteryx. Over time, the survivors have taken on diverse forms, shown stunning intelligence, and illuminated many natural phenomena.
But the best part about birds is that they’re accessible to everyone, everywhere. You don’t have to hike up mountains or paddle out to islands to experience their uniqueness—they will come to you. Giant flocks of passerines, raptors, and more migrate through the US and Eurasia in fall and spring. A tiny ruby-crowned kinglet might stop by on your windowsill (as one did while I was recording this podcast), reminding you that not only are birds real: They’re basically perfect.FACT: There’s way too much poop on Mount Everest
By Rachel Feltman
Let’s start with some basic stats to put things in perspective. Mount Everest, which sits on the border between Nepal and Tibet, is the highest point on Earth—its summit is 29,031 feet above sea level. That doesn’t actually make it the world’s tallest mountain, to be clear: Mauna Kea on Hawai’i is about three quarters of a mile taller than Everest from tail to snout, as it were, but a big portion of that sits below the surface of the pacific ocean. To make things even more confusing, there’s another mountain that, by certain definitions, could be considered the world’s tallest. Because Earth isn’t a perfect sphere, Ecuador’s Chimborazo mountain happens to sit at just the right bulgy spot below the equator to be particularly far from the planet’s core. The summit measures more than 3,900 miles from the center of the Earth, which is 6,798 feet farther than Everest. But Chimborazo isn’t even the tallest mountain in the Andes by more traditional measurements! But I digress.
As of July of 2023, around 6,100 people had summited Everest some 11,000 times since the first known success in 1953. It’s also one of just 14 peaks in the world that stretches into what’s known as the “death zone.” At around 26,000 feet, it’s no longer possible for the human body to acclimatize.
In a 2023 article by Weirdest Thing alum Eleanor Cummins, Pulmonary expert Peter Hackett put it this way: “You’re slowly dying at 18,000 feet, but when you get above 26,000 feet, you start dying much more quickly.” Over the last three decades, the researchers found, success rates among climbers have actually doubled, while the death rate has stayed pretty level. But it’s still super dangerous to climb, and at least 310 people have died trying to make it to the top. Their bodies are still there.
In addition to the bodies we’ve left on Everest, we’ve left a lot of trash—and poop. Like, a really problematic amount. Every year the Nepali government and an NGO run by the Sherpa people of Tibet work on clearing up the worst of the trash left by 700 or so climbers and the people that support them. It’s difficult to know exactly how much garbage there is, because some of it is basically impossible to get to due to hazardous conditions. One 2023 estimate suggested there’s more than 26,000 pounds of poop left behind each year in total, which says nothing of the ripped-up tents and empty oxygen tanks and all the rest of it. And in January of 2023, groups estimated that at Base Camp 2, there had been more than 17,000 pounds of human poop left behind in just the previous climbing season.
Rising temperatures mean that there are fewer deep ice crevasses to dump excrement into, by the way, which means it’s more and more likely for feces to contaminate the melting snow that people who live around base camp rely on for drinking water.
Consider this your friendly reminder that you really shouldn’t leave your poop behind on any mountain, even a chill one. Yes, you can dig a deep hole if you’re not close to a water source, but if you’re on a rocky trail or one that’s really populated, you need to admit to yourself that there simply isn’t room for everyone’s poop. Pack that crap out!Fact: In the 1970s, inventors tried to make a Ford Pinto fly
By Corinne Iozzio
In the 150 years Popular Science has been around, few concepts have gotten as much airtime as the flying car. Almost immediately after terrestrial autos hit the roadways, inventors began dreaming of them taking flight—and they never quite stopped. Some ideas seemed better grounded than others. Take, for example, the Mizar: Invented in the early 1970s by a pair of career aerospace engineers, it screamed practicality. At least on the surface. The car, which debuted to much press fanfare, married together a compact model of Ford and a Cessna plane. The driver, the concept went, would simply need to back his car into the tail-end of the craft, lock the two parts together, and get ready to take off.
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