After a year of leaks and rumors, the iPhone 5S is finally here. Is it everything that we were expecting, or did Apple manage to surprise us?
At today’s Apple event, Phil Schiller announced the iPhone 5S after showing off the cheaper iPhone 5C. Schiller says that the iPhone 5S represents “the most forward thinking phone anyone has ever made.”
Schiller began by showing off the three new colors for the iPhone 5S – Gold, Silver and “space grey.” As expected, the case is made of aluminum.
Next, Schiller announced the chip inside the iPhone 5S – the A7. He revealed that the A7 is the world’s first 64-bit chip for a smartphone. This will lead to enhanced performance in apps and games. In fact, he says that the CPU is 40 times faster and the GPU is 56 times faster.
He says that iOS 7 has been completely reengineered to support 64-bit apps. Developers will be able to easily upgrade their apps to the new 64-bit architecture. It also supports OpenGL|ES version 3.0 which will allow for greater graphical flourishes in games. To showcase that, they brought Epic Games to talk about Infinity Blade III. It will launch alongside the iPhone 5S.
The iPhone 5S is getting another smaller processor called the M7 that will help process motion data. In short, it will keep track of the accelerometer, compass and gyroscope so the main A7 CPU can focus on core processing tasks. The M7 processor uses the new CoreMotion API to detect if the user is sitting, walking, driving, etc.
As for battery life, Schiller says that it can provide 10 hours of 3G talk time, LTE browsing, Wi-Fi browsing and video. For 3G browsing, you’re looking about 8 hours of life.
The camera has received an upgrade with a “five-element Apple-designed lens” that can capture a 15 percent larger active area. Instead of going for more pixels, however, Apple will instead of going for bigger pixels. To that end, the iPhone 5S captures photos in 1.5μ pixels. For panorama shots, it can capture images at 28 MP.
The camera software has also been revamped to automatically apply all the settings needed for the best photo. As for the flash, there’s two – a white and amber flash – to help provide the best lighting. A new burst mode has also been added to take pictures at 10 frames per second.
For those who like to record video, Apple is implementing slow motion software that can capture 720p video at 120FPS. Now you no longer have to buy an expensive camera to record video of your friends smashing watermelons in slow motion.
Next, Schiller moved onto security. He says that most iPhone users don’t bother with setting up a passcode for security so they’re implementing the oft-rumored fingerprint scanner. It’s called Touch ID and it scans sub-epidermal skin layers to make sure that you’re you. It can be used for both logging into your phone as well as making purchases on iTunes.
For those worried about the privacy implications of handing over your fingerprint, Apple says that all scans are encrypted and placed inside a secure enclave. That means that your fingerprint will never be stored on Apple’s servers.
The iPhone 5S starts at $199 for the 16GB variant, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB on a two year contract. The cases will be $39 each and will be available in multiple colors.
You can start pre-ordering the iPhone 5S on September 13. It will be available to purchase on September 20. By the end of the year, it will be available in 100 countries on over 270 carriers.