At a special media event held on its Cupertino, California campus, Apple has announced the iPhone 5S, after CEO Tim Cook called it, “The most forward thinking phone we’ve ever created.” The headline feature is the inclusion of a biometric fingerprint sensor called Touch ID, which is mounted inside the iPhone’s traditional Home button. It’s used not only as a new way to unlock the phone, but also for authenticating purchases in iTunes. It’s clever too, and Apple says it can read sub-epidermal skin layers and it has 360 degree readability. The ring surrounding the Home button is the detection sensor, and the button itself is made from sapphire crystal. As for your fingerprint, Apple won’t upload it to its servers, or to iCloud, so it remains as secure as possible.
The iPhone 5S’s screen is the same 4-inch panel with a 1136 x 640 pixel resolution fitted to the iPhone 5, and the design hasn’t been altered either. However, Apple (as promised) has brightened up our day by producing the iPhone 5S in three new colors, silver, space gray, and yes, gold. So, the question of whether it’ll be available in champagne has also been answered. Like it? A new case has been designed to go along with the phone. Made from leather with a microfiber lining, it’ll be made in black, blue, brown, yellow, beige, and a special red, priced at $40.
Going back to the tech, Apple has replaced the A6 processor in the iPhone 5 for the brand new A7, which is billed as the world’s first 64-bit chip. The benefits are considerable, as the CPU is said to be 40 times faster than the original iPhone, and twice as fast as the iPhone 5. It’s paired with a coprocessor called the M7, which deals with data from the iPhone 5S’s various sensors – such as the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass – to take some strain from the A7 chip, and help preserve battery life.
Now, on to the camera. The new five-element lens has a larger f2.2 aperture, and a 15 percent larger sensor area, which will allow in more light for better pictures. The flash has been updated to a True Tone flash with two LEDs, one for capturing cooler tones, and the other for warmer colors. Apple say’s it’s not just a smartphone world first, but a camera world first, and it has 1000 unique variations to capture the best image possible. Other features include auto image stabilization, a burst mode for capturing 20 photos in two seconds, and a slow motion setting where videos can be shot at 12ofps in 720p.
The iPhone 5S will come with iOS 7 pre-installed, which has been re-engineered to take full advantage of the new 64-bit processor. This new version has also been given a complete visual overhaul, while adding in various new features, gesture controls, a revised Control Center, AirDrop file sharing, and a new Camera app. All this was detailed during WWDC 2013.
Today, Tim Cook said the iOS team had been hard at work finishing the software ready for launch, and he anticipates it becoming the world’s most popular operating system. Apple’s Craig Federighi called iOS 7, “Alive with depth” as he continued to swiftly show off its new look, along with the improvements to Siri and its voice, new ringtones, and iTunes Radio.
So when can you get your hands on an iPhone 5S? You can place your pre-order on September 13, when it will cost $200 for the 16GB, $300 for the 32GB, and $400 for the 64GB model, provided you take out a two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. If you live in the UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, and China you’ll also be able to pre-order the phone on the same day. The release date for these countries is September 20, while 100 other countries will see the iPhone 5S released before the end of the year.