My thoughts on the new Apple’s iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5S

Apple iPhone 5s – Earlier today, Apple announced the most anticipated iPhone of this year, the iPhone 5s. The sad part is, almost everything comes as a no surprise, thanks to all the leaks we’ve got for the past weeks/months.

The good part is, if you like all the leaks, then you won’t be disappointed, knowing that the rumors about the new A7 processor, fingerprint sensor, improved camera, and the 3 color variants are true.

iPhone 5s has a similar design with the previous iPhone 5 (which will be discontinued by Apple, replaced by the colorful iPhone 5C), except for the changed Home button design. This is because they have integrated the new fingerprint sensor in there, with the addition of a sapphire layer on top, to make sure that it doesn’t get scratched or tampered with.

iPhone 5s

Some get excited about iPhone 5s, some don’t. Whichever side you are on, here are some of the improvements in iPhone 5s nevertheless. In my opinion, lots of improvements are “hidden” under the hood and not as obvious as they seem at first (such as how iOS 7 and the hardware works in synergy).

Improved Camera

iPhone 5S camera

The camera is still an 8MP camera, but with a wider f/2.2 aperture which means more light can come in to produce better low-light photography with less noise. It also automatically stabilises image + auto white balance, shoot 4 different pictures in a snap (automatically in the background) and pick the best shot for you.

With the True Tone Flash (comes from the new dual-LED flash – white and amber LED), this is probably the only time I will use a flash while taking pictures in a low lit environment. It’s too early to tell whether this works good, but we’ll see. It does sound amazing from the official keynote presentation by Phil Schiller. You can snap 10 photos in a second (burst shot) by pressing and holding the shutter button and also make a slow-mo video of 120 fps at 720p. I know some other smartphones can already do this, though I don’t have any quality comparisons to give my opinion about.

The front camera has also been improved to have a better FaceTime video call quality.

New 64-bit A7 processor

Apple’s latest A7 chip is a 64-bit processor, which will take advantage of iOS 7 (built specifically for 64-bit) and also apps that can utilise the 64-bit architecture. This does require developers to reprogram their apps for this, but the Infinity Blade III developer on the keynote mentioned that it only took him 2 hours to do. I assume other apps should be simpler to change? Let’s hope more developers go this path and fully utilise the 64-bit architecture for a faster and better performance!

I was in awe with the Infinity Blade III demo, which shows a marvelous real-time graphic rendering capability on the iPhone 5s. The details on the dragon during the fight are staggering (though I wonder how much battery it will chew while you play).

Infinity Blade 3

M7 coprocessor

The M7 chip is specifically in charge of measuring motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. Why does this matter? Because most smartphones use the core processor to do this and that takes battery power away little by little. It should also mean that having a dedicated coprocessor will bring fitness apps to a whole new level. We shall see.

One of the coolest parts is this (taken from the official iPhone 5s page):

M7 knows when you’re walking, running or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery.

Not too sure how much impact will this have on battery life but every saving counts.

Touch ID (Fingerprint sensor)

The most annoying part in having a smartphone is unlocking it, either by entering a passcode or using gestures (which I like a lot on Android). I always lock my phone because it connects to my Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and a few other online services. If someone steals my phone, at least they won’t be able to access my private information (or do terrible things I don’t want to imagine). The problem is, re-entering your passcodes 20-40 times a day is not a pleasant experience.

Buying or installing a new app on the App Store is not much better, especially when you are using longer and more complex password for security purposes.

Hence….. fingerprint scans! Yeah, it’s not a new concept but if Apple solution works 100% all the time, it’s good enough.

Fingerprint scans

Just by touching your finger on the new Home button, you can instantly unlock your device. I was worried about the time delay it would take to register the scan, but from the video, it seems really fast. You can also register your other fingers to be identified (not just your thumb – what if you cut yourself, right? Unless if you cut your whole fingers… but even then, you can switch to an “Enter Passcode”). You can register up to 5 identities on your device. Not sure if this means 5 different fingerprints (5 different people) with many fingers, or 5 fingerprints (either a different person or the same person with a different finger).

Fingerprints will be stored encrypted in the device only, will not be uploaded anywhere.

Free iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote

They are free, free, free! This is probably something that no one expects to happen. These apps will be yours for free when you purchase and set-up a new iOS device (iPhone 5C, iPhone 5s, the upcoming iPad 5, and more). These are high quality apps from Apple and costs around $10-ish each. Awesome, Tim! I only have an iPhoto so these powerful software will be a great addition to my core apps collection.

free iWorks

You can watch the whole Apple iPhone 5s release keynote here. Worth a watch, as it gives a much better overview than the product page.

Those are pretty much the highlights of iPhone 5S. What do you think? I won’t be bothered mentioning the iPhone 5C. I think it’s a meh.. not really a fond of the bright & colorful cases Apple make for it either. I’ll definitely be upgrading to iPhone 5S, so stay tuned for my reviews.

I’m definitely interested to see the comparisons between the new iPhone 5S camera with the other smartphones (I don’t think it’ll beat the Lumia 1020 though), battery life (with all the improvements between the hardware and software), and how useful the fingerprint sensor is.

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