Apple iPhone 5S launched with fingerprint sensor in tow
Apple’s 2013 launch has been very much on expected lines with most leaks turning out to be true. The iPhone 5S is everything it was made out to be. It will be available in three colors – silver, gold and slate. Apple calls it the most forward looking iPhone ever and says it has features not for the sake of having features. “It’s not just a product of what’s technologically possible. But what’s technologically useful. It’s not just what’s next. But what should be next.” Let’s take a look at what’s inside the iPhone 5S.
For the spec-starved, the iPhone 5S is the first smartphone with a 64-bit. Apple is using the latest A7 chipset, which it claims is twice as fast as the iPhone 5 and 40 times fast as the original iPhone. Apple has reconfigured iOS 7 to be able to run 64-bit apps and all preloaded apps have been reengineered. The iPhone 5S will be able to run both 32-bit and 64-bit apps.
The A7 chip will be accompanied by a new M7 “motion coprocessor” that will continuously measure accelerometer, compass and gyroscope and feed that data to any app that needs it. Nike has developed a new Nike+ Move app that would utilize this data. The idea being the phone in itself can become a health/fitness tracker device for most people.
The next big change is the camera on the iPhone 5S. While it still maintains the 8-megapixel resolution, it now has a 15 percent larger active sensor area, which means bigger pixels (1.5 microns in this case). Apple has also tweaked iOS 7 so it makes use of the new sensor. Everything is automatically set and the camera takes multiple photos and picks up the sharpest one. Apple has also introduced true tone flash – dual LEDs where one is cool and white, while the other is warm. Apple says it automatically tweaks the two to get the best possible tone. The camera also gets auto image stabilization and can shoot 720p videos in 120fps. The front-facing iSight camera also gets a new backside illuminated sensor but can still shoot only in 720p.
The headlining feature, however, will be what Apple calls Touch ID – the fingerprint sensor embedded within the home button. Users can choose to have their fingerprint set as the passcode as well as the Apple ID password for downloading stuff from iTunes and the App Store. The home button now has a metal ring surrounding it that activates the fingerprint sensor when it detects the user’s thumb on it. Apple says it can recognize fingerprints irrespective of which direction the thumb is placed. The home button is now covered with a layer sapphire crystal to ensure it doesn’t get scratched. Apple says the fingerprint data won’t be stored on its servers and won’t be available to third-party apps.
Apple will also sell leather finish cases that will retail at $39. As always, the iPhone 5S will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB for $199, $299 and $399 respectively on a two-year contract in the US. Apple has not revealed the unsubsidized price, yet. It will be available for preorder on September 13 and will launch on September 20 in a handful of countries. Apple did not reveal its India launch date or price.