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Summary:

Apple on Tuesday introduced the iPhone 5s, the world’s first 64-bit smartphone with a fingerprint sensor built into the home button.

Apple iPhone 5S 3 colors
photo: Apple

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 makes it 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.

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  1. I’d be willing to bet the fingerprint thing backfires horribly.

  2. I did not see or hear anything tht will make me buy an iphone this year. My nexus 4 gives me more of what I want in a phone. Larger (not huge) screen, customizable interface, icons, launcher etc. I have an ipad and I don’t mind the same old stuff on that device as I just use it for reading, watching movies and videos, email web surfing etc. I want to be able to personalize my phone as it is with me all the time.

  3. Great article, you hit a lot of major points right after it was announced! But as far as the new iPhone goes… I didn’t see a single innovation… I had a Motorola Atrix 2 years ago that had a fingerprint sensor built into the power button. It worked flawlessly and was a cool feature so this is old news not innovation.

    64 bit sounds interesting. We’ll see how much of a difference it really makes compared to quad core phones already on the market. I don’t think your average user will see a difference. Maybe if a super processor intensive app was used… but I haven’t had any issues multitasking or playing HD online multiplayer games connected to my tv with an hdmi cable with my galaxy s3. No lag, skipping, freezing, or dropped frames. And that’s on the dual core US version.

    “Motion chip”… really Apple? Every smartphone has had a gyroscope, compass and accelerometers for a very long time. Even to claim they are “better” would be the same as admitting that they screwed up the first time. I’ve never had an issue with any of those features on any smartphone I’ve used.

    Dual flash for more natural looking photos… you mean it can take pictures almost as good as the new Nokia phone?

    Car mode? Every smartphone I’ve used for the past two years has had that…

    Control center… had that for over two years too, except other phones have even more features in their “control centers”

    Sorry for the rant, but when I see Apple pulling the whole “most forward thinking phone” type quotes out I just have to let people know that it is a flat out lie.

    I do however think it’s great that Apple is making those changes. Those have been much requested updates for a long time for many people. I do think these will be great phones for people who just want a phone that can go on the internet and don’t want to customize anything or play with special features. My aunt, grandma, dad, and in laws would love this new iPhone. Unfortunately Apple is still behind everyone else in features by about a year. At least they aren’t three years behind anymore though.

  4. I would normally wait until the IPhone becomes free on contract before getting one, but, this time I may actually pay the £199. I do pretty much all my financial transactions on the move and given Apples present superb record for security (and reliability, my current phone has been used everyday for the last 3 years!) this ‘Print scanner’ intrigues me! And 64 bit!! I might just wait a couple of months to see how it performs though. Otherwise, looking good for power users. :-)

  5. I see that many say Motorola had the finger print thingy. Well that was as useful as a carrying case. This time the touch ID is a much well designed and with a lot of thinking behind the scenes. This is opening up the massive financial iTunes muscle for an ewallet in the future and even the end of long passwords. Of course those that can’t think for the future will say “there is no innovation” but really at this time in the game who in the entire industry is innovating? Nothing out there is innovation, but steady upgrades.

    1. Valid point that no one is really innovating, but instead making steady upgrades. That last innovation I saw was using nfc to initiate data transfer. That saves a ton of time and I personally use it daily. But aside from that it’s just incremental updates all around.

      Maybe I just don’t understand the fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone, I thought it just filled in passwords and unlocked your phone. The Atrix did the same thing, autofilled passwords, auto logged in, and unlocked the phone. By autofilling passwords you get a “one click payment” like the iTunes payments mentioned.

    2. Microsoft is totally innovative! Come on…

  6. At 10:36 AM local time during yesterday’s big event, Tim Cook publicly announced to the world that iPhone 5s is the first phone with a 64bit chip.

    This is one of several conspicuous falsehoods told during the event, but as usual tech journalists and websites lapped it up, suspending their usual powers of investigative reporting. The lie has now been re-told in countless headlines and articles, and has become a permanent part the picture built up by consumers about the device.

    The “first ever” claim is great marketing hype, but in reality we already had phones with 64bit chips such as the KV32.

    http://armdevices.net/2012/02/27/hisilicon-k3v2-quad-core-40nm-arm-cortex-a9/

    The real beauty of the “first 64bit” lie is that it’s all marketing hype anyway — this chipset will not in reality make much difference to the performance of the device compared to the previous iPhone model!

    http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/166244-iphone-5s-the-64-bit-a7-chip-is-marketing-fluff-and-wont-improve-performance

  7. Apple announced to the world that iPhone 5s is the first phone with a 64bit chip.

    This is one of several conspicuous falsehoods told during the event, but as usual tech journalists and websites lapped it up, suspending their usual powers of investigative reporting. The lie has now been re-told in countless headlines and articles, and has become a permanent part the picture built up by consumers about the device.

    The “first ever” claim is great marketing hype, but in reality we already had phones with 64bit chips such as the KV32.

    http://armdevices.net/2012/02/27/hisilicon-k3v2-quad-core-40nm-arm-cortex-a9/

    The real beauty of the “first 64bit” lie is that it’s all marketing hype anyway — this chipset will not in reality make much difference to the performance of the device compared to the previous iPhone model!

    http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/166244-iphone-5s-the-64-bit-a7-chip-is-marketing-fluff-and-wont-improve-performance

  8. Nikhil @ MobileJury.com Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Did you forgot Samsung Galaxy Note 3. According to pricing also it will beat Apple`s 5S

  9. Why would anyone use the fingerprint scanner, we already know we have no privacy and now fingerprint scanner No thanks.

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