After months of rumors and speculation, Apple on Tuesday took the wraps off of two new smartphones, the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. This is the first time Apple has unveiled two new phones at once. The iPhone 5s is Apple’s follow up to last year’s iPhone 5, the world’s first 64-bit smartphone with a fingerprint sensor built into the home button.
Upon taking the stage, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller called the iPhone 5s “Perhaps the most forward-thinking phone anyone has ever made.” Physically, the 5s is made of high-grade aluminum with chamfered edges. It comes in three colors, including silver, the oft-rumored gold, and what Apple refers to as “space gray.”
The phone features a brand-new system-on-a-chip A7 processor, which is the world’s first and only smartphone with 64-bit architecture. This means that both iOS 7 and Apple’s apps have been reengineered for 64-bit, but older 32-bit apps will run fine as well. It’s over twice as fast as the iPhone 5, with graphics performance up to 56 times faster than the original iPhone.
Apple has also included a new M7 chip, which is the “Motion coprocessor.” It continuously measures motion data, including the accelerometer, compass and gyroscope, so it can tell apps if you’re stationary, driving or walking, which will allow for more a much more advanced level of interaction with future fitness and health apps.
The 5s features a new, five-element Apple-designed camera lens with F/2.2 aperture. It has a 15% larger active sensor area than the iPhone 5 and uses bigger 1.5-micron pixels to render images. iOS 7 has been optimized to take advantage of the camera by automatically setting white balance, exposure and other a number of other settings automatically. There is now a dual-flash as well, one that shines white while the other is amber. This will allow the 5s to combine the two colors and create a much more natural-looking flash. There are a number of other new features, including 120fps slo-mo recording at 720p.
As expected, Apple has also implemented Touch ID, which uses a fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone. That means no more unlock codes or swiping to unlock. The sensor is built right into the home button, and covered by a scratch-proof laser-cut sapphire crystal outer layer. It scans the sub-epidermal skin layers on your finger to verify your identity. You can also use your fingerprint to authenticate purchases instead of having to enter a password. For security purposes, your fingerprint is never available to other software and it isn’t even uploaded to Apple’s servers or backed up to iCloud.
The phone features up to 10 hours of 3G talk time and 10 hours of LTE web browsing. It should also be able to last for over ten 10 days on standby.
The iPhone 5s ships with iOS 7, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. iOS 7 contains the biggest changes to iOS since the original iPhone. In addition to a completely fresh look, it introduces new features like Control Center, which allows you to swipe up on any screen for quick access to the controls and apps you want to access. It will also include iOS in the Car next year, which essentially turns your phone into an in-dash system to make calls, access music, get directions and send and receive messages while driving. Apple announced that iOS 7 will be made available to download for the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, as well the fifth-generation iPod touch and all iPads (including the mini) minus the first generation starting September 18.
This is the first iPhone release that will see the phones go on sale at all four major U.S. carriers are the same time, and it also marks the first time Apple has sold an iPhone from the start in China. The iPhone 5s starts at $199 for 16GB, to $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB, all with a two-year contract. It will be available for preorder on Friday, September 13 and begin shipping a week later, September 20.