Apple has just taken covers off its newest flagship iPhone model. Like most tech-pundits out there predicted, it has turned out to be the iPhone 5S. There also exists the iPhone 5C – which is basically an iPhone 5 in a thicker and heavier (not cheaper!) polycarbonate shell. What has the iPhone 5S brought to the table this time round and does it really warrant an upgrade from your iPhone 5? Let’s find out.
Like every time, it was expected that Apple would bump up the number crunching abilities of its flagship iPhone considering the fact that Android powered rivals have been breathing down Apple’s neck with the all powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 based devices. To counter the push by the worlds fastest mobile processor – as claimed by Qualcomm, Apple had to certainly do something innovative. And they did.
Say hello to the Apple A7. A successor to the A6, this one throws old smartphone conventions out of the Window altogether! How? By being designed around 64-bit architecture. This is the first for any smartphone. Apple (rightly) claims that the A7 puts desktop-class processing power in the palm of people’s hands. The all new A7 is 2x faster than the previous generation A6 in both CPU and graphics performance. Much needed support for OpenGL ES 3.0 has been added too. The A7’s partner in crime happens to be the all new M7 coprocessor that the iPhone 5S comes with. The major duty of this chip is to take the load off the main A7 chip by interacting directly with the Apps without the main A7 chip having to bother at petty issues.
With the kind of innovation Nokia is doing when it comes to cameras, it was thought that Apple would definitely do something kickass this time round to make the Pureview look pedestrian. That however was not to be. While we’re not saying that there has been no improvement at all – (the iPhone certainly has one of the best cameras you would ever find on a mobile phone), most of the improvements are incremental. There is nothing wrong with this too – its just that the expectation from Apple is to deliver something unbelievable – every time it launches something. May be we’re simply too demanding?!
So coming back to the camera, the iPhone 5S features a 15% larger image sensor compared to the outgoing model. What this lends the iPhone 5S is the ability to make individual pixels larger – giving it an overall better picture quality.The aperture has been increased to ƒ/2.2 which endows the phone 33 percent greater light sensitivity. Another new addition is something known as the True Tone flash which is basically a single flash unit made up of two separate modules of LED’s – one white and another amber. When you click an image with the flash on, the flash fires – bit not in tandem. The iPhone 5S calculates the ambient light and decides the intensity of the flash vis-a-vis the white and amber flash and then fires away giving you much better pictures taken under flash. The camera also gets a panorama mode which can take an image 28 megapixels in size.
When it comes to the video, the same old 1080p at 30 fps mode is still there. The new addition however is better image stabilisation and the slow motion mode. The iPhone 5S can capture slow motion videos at 720p at 120 fps. Not bad at all!
This is perhaps the biggest update to the iPhone 5S features wise. Until now the usual way of securing your iPhone and its data from being misused was the lock screen password. With the iPhone 5S, Apple has introduced Biometric capability to a mainstream smartphone. Called Touch ID, this is a fingerprint identity sensor. That’s right, your fingerprint is now the password to your phone. Apple has placed the Biometric sensor on the Home button.
To do this, Apple had to go back to the drawing board and with the help of biometric experts, rebuild the entire home button and its internals. The Home button itself is now made of laser-cut sapphire crystal. The surface of the button hides a capacitive touch sensor underneath it which “checks” the image of your finger, registers it and stores it. Whenever you bring your finger close to the sensor, it reads the ridges of your fingerprint, matches it to the one stored in its ‘memory’ and unlocks the phone for you.
The iPhone 5S is interestingly the same size as that of the iPhone 5 – but now packs in more processing power, a better camera and much improved security credentials. The device would come in three colour variants – Silver, Space Grey and Gold. The pricing under 2 year contract are $199 for the 16 GB version, $299 for the 32 GB version and $399 for the $64 GB variant. Note that both the new iPhone models only support the Nano SIM format – so you might want to check that bit out before you go ahead and get one for yourself!
If you already happen to own an iPhone 5, unless you really want to experience the new features exclusive to the iPhone 5S, you should do fine with the year old smartphone. The iPhone 5S is a great phone but not the spectacular upgrade that you thought it would be. But hey, its an upgrade nevertheless.
What do you think?