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iPhone 5s: Apple's 64-bit smartphone

  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5s iSight
  • iPhone 5s

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 10 Sep 2013 at 20:42

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 5s, updating the camera, offering the unit in new colours and using a 64-bit chip for the first time.

The iPhone 5s was unveiled alongside a cheaper, plastic model, the iPhone 5c. The iPhone 5s runs the new A7 chip, featuring a 64-bit architecture, which Apple described as "desktop class".

The company promised twice the CPU and graphics performance of the previous handset. On the 64-bit front, Apple is making it easy for developers to make both 32-bit and 64-bit apps.

The other intriguing piece of the announcement is what Apple calls the M7 – a “motion co-processor” that captures data from sensors such as the accelerometer, compass and more. That means the A7 processor can do less work – which leads to better power efficiency – enabling developers to use the M7 in apps, such as those for health and fitness.

As expected, the iPhone 5s features a fingerprint reader to unlock it. Touch ID sits in the home button; tapping it automatically unlocks the phone. It can also be used to approve iTunes and App Store purchases. Apple said the high-resolution fingerprint image would be encrypted.

The iSight camera has been revamped. The 8-megapixel camera features a new flash, which uses dual LED flashes in different colours to try to capture more natural pictures. The camera also supports a new burst mode, takes slow-motion video, and has a larger f/2.2 aperture.

iPhone 5s iSight

Another major change is the colour scheme: the 5s will be available in gold, silver and “space grey”. There will also be six official Apple leather cases for those who aren’t keen on the new colours, available in black, blue, brown, beige, yellow and red – the latter being the official charity themed (Red).

For connectivity, the iPhone 5s boasts support for ten LTE bands, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4. Apple promises ten hours of battery life on 3G or Wi-Fi and LTE, and eight hours on 3G.

The handset will arrive on 20 September with a SIM-free price of £549 inc VAT for the 16GB model, £629 for 32GB and £709 for the 64GB unit. Apple will be discontinuing the iPhone 5, but will retain the 8GB version of the iPhone 4S.

Click here for the full specs of the iPhone 5s

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User comments

Most important release since...

"The iPhone 6 is arguably the most important iPhone release since..."

I suspected this has been argued for every release...

By halsteadk on 1 May 2013

The logic behind a cheaper version is that it can be sold only in markets where the regular one is unaffordable. It won't then impact on profits in existing markets (grey imports excepted).

By Mark_Thompson on 1 May 2013

Waterproofness

I know Sony has finally done something but I would really like to see smartphone manufactures give their devices a degree of waterproofness. I dont expect to take it swimming but I do nned to make calls outdoors in the rain with the without invalidating the warrenty!

By MiniEggs on 2 May 2013

No win situation

iPhone and iPad sales growth has been abnormal - that should have been factored into the share price, but it seems some people had a bizarre idea Apple could continue double-digit growth year-on-year.

But the backlash also seems bizarre - as if a company transitioning from high-growth to a steady-state indicates 'problems', rather than a common pattern as markets saturate.

It doesn't mean that current revenues are unsustainable either.

The problem is really that the markets still expect Apple to crash and burn (again) - and to be fair, the history of tech stocks says it is likely - for every IBM there are five Sun Corporations, and Apple is in a very similar position to Sony's run from the Walkman to Playstation.

By JulesLt on 2 May 2013

@JulesL

"But the backlash also seems bizarre"

Not exactly bizarre. Rather, what one would expect if the investors and analysts had, yet again, got overexcited and overvalued a stock on unreasonable expectations.

You can't blame Apple for not continually coming up with new products as innovative as the ipod and iphone were on release.

All the things people suggest they might do: iwatch, itv, icar(ecar?) are basically 'obvious' in that they would be evolutions that will occur with or without apple and are based on technology that being developed by specialist companies (i.e. not apple).

By qpw3141 on 2 May 2013

iOk

I'd be of the feeling that Apple are doing pretty well. How many times do I hear growth quoted as a measure of success. In a recession its a strange way to look at it.

Any company able to manage strong profits in the current climate is a good company.

As for idiots driving speculation and bubbles on the stock exchange, good luck with that. Buying up Apple or MS shares is not really where its at.

A low cost iphone and, as mentioned above waterproofing, and shck proofing / drop proofing are all excellent directions to take.

Maybe even trying to cram in a solar layer in the screen to boost daytime charging.

By Gindylow on 3 May 2013

Apple's Doing Fine

As an Android phone user, I have to admit that I am still drawn by the iPhone. My cellular carrier (in the U.S.) will begin offering an iPhone this fall, and I am seriously tempted by the 5s, particularly since my carrier doesn't have the new HTC One.

Apple's share prices have done pretty well in the last few weeks, up about 15% in the latest rally.

By eddetlie on 8 May 2013

to paraphrase

A regular comment on some reviews...
Put Windows Phone on it, and we might have something.

By nickallison on 17 May 2013

well, colour me stunned

They only went and did.

By nickallison on 11 Jun 2013

, innovation, innovation, innovation

Apple are in a strange situation but it is in part their own fault. If your perpetually market yourself as being innovative yet constantly offer little more than incremental upgrades it is reasonable to expect that those that swallowed the marketing spiel will eventually smell the proverbial coffee

By imaginarynumber on 1 Aug 2013

Mosty catch ups. But who will care.

My daughter took two months to discover that she had siri. Most iPhone owners don't give a jot about the specs. They just want the eco system and branding.
These plans are way behind the rivals and the google eco system. NFC? A sony quality camera? Customisable screens?
Still coloured cases and that super cool adapter. Wow.

By Jerryfanboy on 22 Aug 2013

Nobody really cares anymore....

As qpw3141 points-out, this market (high-end smartphones) is nearly matured.
Just as with PCs, but in only a few years, not decades, we've arrived at the point where there are fewer and fewer new customers out there. The same chill wind will be whistling around Samsung's top-end products shortly.
Consequently the halcyon days of multi-digit growth are over.

This isn't Apple's fault, any more than flagging PC sales is down to MS. It's life....
So all the analysts who puffed-up the Apple bubble based on limitless growth per annum\ per decade\ forever will start the process of adding a bit of 'reality' having first divested themselves at the top of the market.

The iPhone will still be a very good gadget, the iPad will too, but the 'magic moment' is now over. It'll now be the hard slog of flogging them like TVs and fridges, with similar 'growth' and returns.

By wittgenfrog on 9 Sep 2013

I think I have to agree with wittgenfrog. It's going to be a bit faster. Maybe have a new feature like a fingerprint sensor but its just another new phone now. PCs took so many years to mature but phones are there within 5 years. Tablets are pretty mature too now. I'm using an ipad 2 and I haven't found the urge to upgrade. Shame really because I want a new gadget

By TimoGunt on 9 Sep 2013

Who cares about specs?

For me it's usability that counts, and they still think 8 hours is enough. My iP5 only lasts a max of two days before needing a charge, while my five year old 3G lasts just as long.

I like the new fingerprint sensor though, the old swipe-then-PIN two stage method can be frustrating, unless you ignore the PIN setting and leave your phone open to all.

With the fingerprint recognising up to five people though, maybe they are going to have fingerprint-controlled permissions in future, maybe even multiple user accounts. When you switch on, it already knows who you are and opens your profile, not that of your child which has restricted privileges?

5s colours nice, not so keen on the plastic colours of the 5c - they're all a bit too 'candy floss' for me.

By SwissMac on 10 Sep 2013

"Apple said the high-resolution fingerprint image would be encrypted."

And what did the NSA/GCHQ say?

By martindaler on 11 Sep 2013

@swiss mac

Decent idea that. Using the finger print reader to open different accounts (and privileges) on the phone. Would help with the glut of in app purchase nightmares that seem to fill the non-tech media.
Would be a good innovation.
(Of course WP8 did it all a year ago, but hey ho)

By nickallison on 11 Sep 2013

Desperation sets in....

Well it's a widely predicted and quite bland offering from Apple. The only faux "excitement" is around on the "64-bit" processor.
After the "core wars" we are now witnessing the start of the "bit wars". Size clearly doesn't matter (to Apple anyways) but you can't be deficient in the "bits" department any longer. A meagre 32 no-longer cuts it.

I didn't realise that the "old" iPhone is so slow that it needed its speeds "doubled". Or have I missed the point?

Of course if you're one of the great unwashed, and can only afford £469, then there's the 5c, which still uses that crappy, slow old processor.

How's that for differentiation?

Honestly I'm quite surprised that Apple have launched two top-price 'phones.
One is last years model (near enough) with a new coat of lipstick, and nominally targeted at the mid top low end of the market. The other is a decent (but unsurprising) update to their current offering, and is only £90 more than the "cheap" one.
They're kidding, right?

I assume that they've done all the usual "marketing" things. I guess all the focus groups & clinics said this is a good idea, but on spec it looks like a disaster
More specifically, the 5c looks like it's doomed. Why buy a 5c (which looks a bit "weird" to my eyes) when you can have a variety of equally\better spec'd WP8\ Android 'phones (apart from "Retina")for less?

I haven't got my "Marketing 101" course notes handy, but I don't think this is how its done.

My guess is that this is really all about Apple's recent cosy deal in China.
I expect we'll see the 5c shipping there for a LOT less than £469, and that the UK\US pricing is all about not cannibalising sales of its "proper" 5S 'phones in the developed markets....

By wittgenfrog on 11 Sep 2013

@MiniEggs

I agree. The last time I visited the UK, I got caught in a torrential downpour that soaked me through, soaked all my luggage and swelled up my book and my passport!

I had to take the battery out of my smartphone and it still wasn't dry 8 hours later, when I was back home in Germany! Luckily I had all my travel documents in paper form which, whilst a bit soggy, were still readable and usable.

An IP65 or IP67 smartphone would have been very useful, especially if it is a sealed unit, where you can't remove the battery.

By big_D on 12 Sep 2013

i phone

Finger scan and 64 bit better than any oposition. Nice Apple. The rest so "trying" to catch up and overpriced.

By heldeman on 12 Sep 2013

Advert or article?

How come there is no critique? No insight? No opinion?

Just a warm description and pricing details?

Is this PC Pro or Greengrocer's Monthly?

The latter it would seem, given the writers' apparent love affair with all things fruity.

By GlynPress on 12 Sep 2013

I phone

I have just got the I phone and to be honest there is very little I can do with it than I couldn't with my Nokia N8. It proves that most people do not use the capability of all these modern handsets to their fullest potential and thus the upgrades they offer from one model to the next are kind of pointless unless you are in a business that really require it. As we live in a society of fashion and one up man ship they will sell in their thousands. I do like my Iphone as the sound is very clear when I make a call and it is very easy to navigate and the texting is also very easy, it is small enough to fit in my pocket and big enough to watch without having to squint at the screen. Is phone 5s or 6 going to be any different, I very much doubt it and in fact this is one area that Apple have been consistent throughout all of their models. it is because of Apple the other companies have had to radically change what they do and this is why we have this 'Who is better' competition each time a new model is announced. In summary your phone is only as good as the network coverage of your provider and without it all of these phones are just a fancy little portable games console.

By Ninja on 15 Sep 2013

Why the heading iPhone 6 when the post is talking about iPhone 5s / c?
There is no iPhone 6 yet
Also is 3G going to get 10 or 8 hours of battery life?

By curiousclive on 6 Dec 2013

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