At its Town Hall Event today, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, announced the new iPhone 5S and its release date, 20 September.
The device, which looks largely the same as its predecessor, the iPhone 5, has some notable differences including new colour options, a new 64-bit A7 chip, improved camera specs and a fingerprint sensor in the home button.
The iPhone 5S will go on sale on in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK on Friday 20th September. The 5S will be available in over 100 countries by Christmas, which is always convenient.
As widely leaked and rumoured, the iPhone 5S’ headline feature is a fingerprint sensor embedded in the device’s home button, dubbed the Touch ID sensor. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given that references to a fingerprint sensor were found in the code of an early beta version of the 5S’ operating system, iOS 7. The sensor itself is 170 microns thin, senses 500PPI and scans your sub-epidermal skin. It’s protected by a layer of laser-cut sapphire crystal, the same used to protect the iPhone’s camera.
The fingerprint sensor itself will initially be used as authentication tool, mainly to lock and unlock your phone, but also to authenticate iTunes purchases.
Elsewhere, the iPhone 5S’ camera has received a small, but notable upgrade on its predecessor, the iPhone 5. The camera now features a dual-LED flash with different coloured LEDs – one cool and white, the other warm and amber – that selectively fire off depending on the lighting situation. The two flashes can produce 1,000 unique variations in lighting. The camera’s sensor has received with larger, 1.5 micron pixels, which Apple says will equal better pictures. iOS 7 has also been upgraded for iPhone 5S photography, too, with the Camera app now taking multiple photos and picking the best to use. There’s also a new 10-FPS burst mode and 120-FPS slow-motion video recording at 720p HD.
The iPhone 5S’ powerhouse is a new A7 chip which Apple says is the world’s first 64-bit used in a smartphone. All apps, as well as iOS 7, have been re-engineered to work in 64-bit mode, although backwards compatibility with 32-bit devices is still possible. The result is that graphics are over twice as fast as 56 times faster than the original iPhone, and CPU performance is 40 times faster, too.
A new chip has also been added to the device, the M7 motion co-processor, which contains the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass which Apple says will “enables a new generation of health and fitness apps” alongside a new CoreMotion API.
Battery life also sees an improvement, too, with 250 hours of standby time and ten hours of 3G talk time.
The iPhone 5S will ship running Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7.
New colours – Apple goes for gold…and graphite
As numerous leaks have suggested Apple’s new iPhone 5S now comes in gold, silver and ‘space-age grey’ colour options. The gold option itself is more subtle than initially suggested, more champagne, if you will. It’s a subtle change of pace from Apple, who usually opt to keep the overall look and feel of their ‘S’ updates exactly the same as the previous generation. Apple also appear to have dropped the Black and White options we saw with the iPhone 5 altogether.
Pricing and availability
The iPhone 5S comes as a 16GB, 32GB or 64GB model for $199/$299/$399, respectively, on a two year contract. There’s a new range of coloured cases for the 5S itself, for $39 each. All on sale 20 September.
In the UK, the iPhone 5swill be available in the UK for £549 for the 16GB model, £629 for the 32GB model and £709 for the 64GB model.