iPhone 5S Comes in White, Gold and Grey

By Chris Mills on at

Apple's just shocked absolutely no-one by releasing their next flagship phone, an evolutionary update to the iPhone 5 oh-so-originally called the iPhone 5S. The details are looking so far to be more or less as we expected, with a few twists, like a new home button.


Take a look at all of Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C announcements here


Hardware first: the 5S has pretty much the same body as the iPhone 5: "This is iPhone 5S. It's made of a high-grade aluminum, with diamond-cut, chamfered edges." Tip-ex out the S, and that's pretty much what they said about the 5.

What's different, however, is the new home button. Capacitive, which is kinda a side effect of the fingerprint sensor (see below).

The other thing we expected was a new colour, and we're not disappointed. Unless we wanted anything with any class or taste, as the new colour is gold! Also, black is now something called "space grey". Here's hoping this one doesn't scratch like crazy.

 

Internals

As expected, the processor's got a bit of a bump. It's the A7 chip, and notably, it's got a 64-bit architecture. That's the same sorta thing as you get in higher-end computers these days, and in theory, allows the processor to do twice the number-crunching (because 64 is twice as big as 32-bit, which is the old standard).

To illustrate the point, Phil Schiller (the iPhone dude at Apple) has a big graph of computing power, which looks like one of those big exponential curves you saw in GCSE maths. Importantly, they're saying twice the computing performance, so twice the graphical prowess. Twice the Angry Birds!

There's also a new onboard motion-processing chip, called M7. It handles all the data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and the like, and should mean both improved battery life (because of less load on that A7 chip), and more always-on data.

Epic Games have taken this chance to announce the third version of their hit sword-waving game, Infinity Blade. The (not pre-rendered) visuals look pretty amazing; apparently, you can "not only kill dragons, but kill dragons four times as detailed, which might actually make you feel bad for the dragon". Word.

 

Battery Life

Time for one of the most important stats: battery life. Apple's claiming "better or equal" than the 5, which is a bit of a disappointment. Still, 10 hours of LTE performance isn't anything to sneer at.

 

Camera

Camera time! There's a new lens, with a f2.2 aperture (the smaller the f-stop number the better, for those of you keeping score at home), and a bigger sensor. The pixels are also bigger, because "bigger pixels=better pictures" according to Apple. Which is funny, because that's kinda what HTC said about their Ultrapixel idea.

Some software stuff, as well. More intelligent white balance, better metering, apparently "SLR-level stuff".

This is all balanced with a new flash, which is something we'd heard rumoured. Apple's calling it True-Tone, and at heart, it's two flashes: one white, and one amber. The phone looks at the temperature of the room, and varies the intensity of the two flashes to get a more natural tone. More details here.

There's also a 10fps burst mode, and 120fps slo-mo (which, slowed down to a normal 30fps, means 4x slower).

 

Security

Onto one of the biggest rumours: Touch ID! Also known as fingerprint sensor to the rest of the world.

It's in the home button, with sapphire crystal top, a stainless steel detection ring and an actual feedback switch under the top. Most importantly, it's touch-to-unlock -- say goodbye to swiping.

(The little Android under the table would like to point out that Face Unlock has been a thing for Android for over a year now.)

However, it's not just for unlocking the iPhone, either. Touch ID will be used for doing in-app purchases, which is both more secure, and might just put an end to the constant stream of sob stories about toddlers burning through a credit card or two.

That said, you can add multiple fingerprints to the 5S's memory. We now have a new stage in the relationship: when you scan your significant other's thumb. This truly is the future.

 

Pricing and Availability

One of the major details: you can pre-order the 5C  (NOT the 5S) from the 13th (that's Friday the 13th, lucky), and buy it in-store from the 20th. 5S starts from £549 for the 16GB, all the way up to £709 for the 64GB. 5C pricing (which was the big mystery before the event) is not actually very cheap, at £469 for the 16GB and £549 for the 32GB.

The new cheapest model in the range, actually, is the venerable 4S, which will now run £349 for a 8GB model.