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iPhone 5S: First impressions

Small updates could mean big things for Apple
Wed Sep 11 2013, 13:29

GADGET DESIGNER Apple surprised no one on Tuesday when it unveiled its next flagship iPhone 5S handset, but it might have managed to get some people excited, as the latest model has some improved specifications.

Ahead of Apple's San Francisco iPhone unveiling there were murmurs that the firm wouldn't add much new to its next flagship smartphone, instead focusing most of its attention on the cheaper but still not very affordable iPhone 5C.

Apple iPhone 5S in spacey grey gold and silver

However, Apple surprised us and everyone else when it revealed that the iPhone 5S will be the world's first 64-bit smartphone, with no rumours having alluded to this in the build-up to the phone's announcement.

While we've never had any complaints about the speed and performance of the iPhone 5, which featured a dual-core 1.3GHz A6 chip, Apple's new A7 chip based on 64-bit architecture might manage to convince gamers to splash out £550 on an early upgrade, with the firm promising that the new chip will offer "PC-quality" gaming capabilities with the iPhone 5S also boasting OpenGL ES 3.0 support. However, with it still unclear how much RAM the iPhone 5S features under the hood, it's unclear if users will be able to use this 64-bit technology to its full potential. 

Still, although we have yet to test the iPhone 5S handset's performance, Epic Games' demo of Infinity Blade III for iOS seemed convincing, and it seems that Apple wants to lead a shift from dedicated consoles to mobile gaming.

The iPhone 5S also debuts Apple's new fingerprint scanner known as Touch ID, another feature that could help convince Apple fans that an early ugrade is worth the £550 asking price.

Fingerprint scanners are nothing new, but Touch ID sees Apple looking to up its security game. This new feature will enable users to scan their fingerprint and use it to access their phone, offering an extra layer of protection against a potential data breach due to a lost or stolen device. The Touch ID Sensor works by scanning the sub-epidermal fingerprint layers of the person holding the iPhone to verify their identity before unlocking. As a safety measure the user's fingerprint is only stored on the A7 chip and is never uploaded to the cloud.

Although this feature won't convince everyone to splash out for an upgrade, it sees Apple looking to convince buyers that its device is more secure than its Android competitors, although we're yet to see whether that is actually the case. It also sees Apple trying to woo businesses away from Windows Phone and Blackberry devices, although many are likely to be put off by the Apple handset's premium price.

The only other big upgrade found on the iPhone 5S is the camera. While it doesn't look like much of a revamp on paper, Apple boasts that it increased the sensor size by 15 percent, which should let more light and colour into images, as well as added a dual-LED flash. There are also a number of new photography tools onboard, such as automatic image stablisation, burst mode and a new camera user interface in iOS 7 that enables users to add filters to images.

Apple iPhone 5S camera

The iPhone 5S's upgraded camera does look impressive, but with rival phone makers such as Sony, Samsung and Nokia bringing out smartphones that are all about their cameras, Apple is likely to face some tough competition when it comes to winning over budding photographers.

Overall, the iPhone 5S is an impressive upgrade, and despite numerous accurate leaks, the firm still managed to surprise at its unveiling on Tuesday. It's this element of surprise that has us excited about the iPhone 5S smartphone, mainly thanks to that 64-bit chip. Saying that, we're not sure that its £550 price warrants an early upgrade from the iPhone 5 - unless you really want a gold smartphone, that is.

Check out our iPhone 5S price, release date and where to buy roundup. µ


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