After months of leaks and rumors, the iPhone 5s is finally real. Packing a fingerprint sensor, improved camera, and A7 processor, the revamped smartphone is a significant improvement over the 2012 iPhone 5. Wondering if you should make the jump to the $199 iPhone 5s or stick with your current model? Here’s a breakdown of what's new.
The iPhone 5s looks largely similar to its predecessor, with a few small tweaks. The home button has eschewed the square logo in its center, and is now simply a circular ring that utilizes the device’s new fingerprint scanning technology. The iPhone 5s retains the 2.31 x 4.87 x 0.3-inch, 3.95-ounce build of the original iPhone 5. Probably the biggest change to the design is that while the original iPhone 5 launched in Black/Slate and White/Silver, the 5S will be available in Silver, Space Gray and a Champagne Gold.
MORE: iPhone 5s: Full Review
The biggest upgrade to the iPhone 5s is the phone’s A7 processor, which Apple says has a 40 times faster CPU than the original iPhone. Apple claims the 64-bit mobile processor is the first of its kind and will have twice the graphics performance of the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5s has the same 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support as the iPhone 5. However, the new model is designed to deliver 10 hours of talk time on 3G, 10 hours of Web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE (8 hours on 3G), 10 hours of video playback and 40 hours of music listening. The 5 only offered 8 hours of 3G talk time and 8 hours of LTE Web browsing.
Like the standard iPhone 5, the 5s will have a 4-inch, 1136 x 640-pixel Retina Display screen.
The iPhone family now has its first fingerprint sensor with the 5s’ Touch ID technology. This new feature takes a high-res image of your fingerprint with a laser cut sapphire crystal, which allows the phone to store a detailed fingerprint image that can be read from multiple angles. Touch ID will be used to unlock the iPhone 5s, and can be used for confirming App Store purchases for those who’d rather not type their password in repeatedly.
With the iPhone 5s’s new M7 motion coprocessor (something the iPhone 5 didn't have), the handset can keep track of users’ motions more accurately than ever without overloading the CPU. The new coprocessor will allow for improved fitness apps, as the chip measures user movement even when the phone is in sleep mode.
The iPhone 5s has a significantly upgraded camera compared to its predecessor. The device still has an 8-MP iSight lens and 1.2-MP front-facing lens, though the new model packs dual LED sensors for unprecedented color balance. In a side-by-side demonstration picture at Apple’s reveal event, the 5s was able to show off varying skin tones much more clearly than the 5.
The device’s camera now has a 15 percent larger active sensor area, and will allow for auto image stabilization with the help of iOS7. The 5s will feature a Burst Mode for taking quick successive shots, and will allow users to shoot Slo-Mo video at 120 frames per second.
The iPhone 5s’ camera interface has been vastly altered for iOS 7, allowing users to switch between picture, video, panorama and the new square mode with a simple swipe. The new camera interface embraces the minimal iOS 7 feel, and places new camera filters such as Noir and Instant at the bottom right of your screen while taking a shot.
Overall, the Touch ID sensor, vast camera improvements and stronger A7 processor are the biggest reasons users might want to upgrade to the 5s. iPhone 5 users can still enjoy most of the new iOS 7 features, and aside from the new gold color, the phone’s overall design mimics last year’s model very closely. The iPhone 5s certainly takes the iPhone into some new and exciting places, but it has yet to be seen whether or not the device will become a must-have, especially with the $99 iPhone 5c and now-free iPhone 4s.