Apple last week announced its highly-anticipated iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. While the iPhone 5c has been touted as a mobile device for emerging markets, the iPhone 5s will become the brand’s new flagship model until the release of the iPhone 6 sometime next year.
The iPhone 5s might not have generated as much hype as previous versions, but IT News Africa today takes a look at the top ten features of the newly-announced smart device, which includes stricter security, a new processor and a better camera.
- 1. Touch ID
Security on mobile devices is a hot commodity – most users want to keep their data private and safe from the prying eyes of strangers. For this reason, Apple has developed Touch ID for the new model. While a traditional PIN may still be used to unlock the device, Touch ID allows users to unlock a device by simply placing their finger on the screen. The phone uses a fingerprint reader to recognise the user and unlocks the device. The user’s fingerprint can also be used to authorise the purchase of apps in the Apps Store and for other security related functions. The great thing is also that more than one fingerprint can be linked to the device.
2. 64-bit Architecture
The iPhone 5s is the first smartphone in the wold to make use of 64-bit architecture, which makes the device pretty fast. The new A7 chip (which is the source of the 64-bit) doubles the speed of CPU and graphics performance, making it twice as fast as the A6 chip. Apple describes it as a desktop-class architecture in a superslim phone. “A7 supports OpenGL ES version 3.0 to deliver the kind of detailed graphics and complex visual effects once possible only on Mac computers, PCs, and gaming consoles,” Apple said. According to the company, the new iOS 7 operating system was also developed according to the new 64-bit architecture.
3. iOS 7
The iPhone 5s was designed and developed with iOS 7 in mind, so the device makes the most of the new operating system - and vice versa. While it changes the look of the user interface, “iOS 7 introduces great new features, such as smarter multitasking, AirDrop, and Control Center, that make the things you do every day even easier, faster, and more enjoyable.” It is the heart and soul of the new iPhone range, and it is this feature that allows the device to function at a peak rate.
4. M7 motion coprocessor
The new M7 motion coprocessor works in tandem with the A7 chipset, in the sense that it was designed specifically to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass — a task that would normally fall to the A7. In essence, it is a processor dedicated to sensing motion, which takes the load off the A7, allowing the device to operate at optimum speed and performance. Apple also highlighted that the inteligence of the M7. “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 by.”
5. iSight camera
The new iSight camera has a 15 percent larger sensor than previous models, makes use of bigger pixels and has an aperture of ƒ/2.2, which lets in more light, allow users to take the same quality pictures in low light as they would in ideal conditions. The camera also makes use of a number of features to enhance the photography experience, such as the True Tone flash. It makes use of a white and amber LED to work with intelligent software algorithms to adjust the flash intensity and colour temperature. Besides taking still images, the camera is also capable of taking full HD videos at 120 frames per second at 720p – which allows for slow-mo playback.
Size for many users is a major factor when selecting a new mobile device. While some users enjoy using a larger device, such as a 5-inch screen, the iPhone 5s makes use of a 640 x 1136 pixels, 4.0 inche display. The unit also only weighs 112 g, and its overall dimensions are 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm.
It might not strictly be a feature, but many potential iPhone users have shown interest in the variety of colours available. While the cheaper iPhone 5c is available in green, blue and other bright colours, the iPhone 5s will be available in silver, gold and grey. “The iPhone 5s is precision crafted down to the micron. And it’s evident throughout. The beautiful aluminium housing. The sleekness of metal and glass. Sapphire crystal in the Home button. Design and construction of this level is unmatched,” Apple stated.
Making use of the 4.0 inch display with 640 x 1136 pixels, the unit uses the same Retina display technology as the previous iPhone 5 model. The Retina display has 326 ppi, and while it is also implemented in the iPhone 5c, the unit as a whole is slightly bigger than the iPhone 4S – which was 3.5-inches diagonally, with 960×640 resolution and 326 ppi.
Besides being able to connect to a host of Wi-Fi ranges, the iPhone 5s is also capable of connecting to 13 LTE bands. This means that users of the iPhone 5s will be able to connect to more LTE connections around the world, as different countries operate on different bands. The device also features 3G connectivity, Bluetooth version 4, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band and Wi-Fi hotspots.
- 10. Apps
As with any smartphone, apps play a vital role in the overall experience. The iPhone 5s with iOS7 is no exception. Built-in apps include iPhoto, iMovie, Pages and Keynote. In addition, the Appstore currently houses over 900 000 apps.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor