The 5S: Apple goes for gold

New features of the tech giant’s latest smartphone, reviewed by Melissa York

APPLE unleashed its newest smartphone at an international launch in Berlin this week to an audience eager to hear about the latest innovations from the world’s most secretive technology company. Here, we unravel the hype and review the main new features of the iPhone 5S before it goes on sale on Friday 20 September.

As the top of the range product in Apple’s arsenal, this pocket dynamo comes with a relatively hefty price tag. To buy the handset without a contract, you can be expected to pay around £545 for 16GB, £629 for 32GB, and £709 for 64GB. But all major UK operators – EE (Orange and T-Mobile), Vodafone, 02, and Three – will be offering lower prices tied to two-year service contracts.

The iPhone 5S carries the honour of being the world’s first 64-bit mobile phone. Apple boasts it’s 20 times faster than its predecessor due to a chip upgrade from A6 to A7 with an added M7 motion co-processor. Paul Schiller, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Marketing, declared the 5S the “world’s most forward-thinking smartphone”.

Snapping away should be a similar experience to taking pictures on earlier models with the same sapphire crystal lens and eight megapixel camera. But Apple has enhanced the flash with True Tone software and created ‘Burst Mode’ which can take 10 frames per second. Apple also sneaked in a couple of new video features including a slow-motion edit and the option to take a still photo while recording.

Gone are the days of simple but stylish monochrome as Apple introduces new colours to its range. Designers have chosen colours that look classy on aluminium casing with high-end names to match. The iPhone 5S will be available in three colours; gold, silver, and “space grey”. The handset is the same size and weight as the discontinued iPhone 5 and the display is still four inches long with the same quality resolution.

Battery life, or lack of it, is a frequent complaint among smartphone users and many were hoping to see a dramatic improvement in the iPhone 5S. Talk time has been boosted from eight hours to 10 and the battery has an extra 50 hours standby time. But the phone stills lasts for up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi with the same amount of video and audio playback as the 4S. A step forward, certainly, but no leap for mankind.

Apple hopes its new fingerprint log-in technology will spell the end for passcodes. Built into the round “home” button, Touch ID is made from laser-cut sapphire crystal and a touch sensor to take a hi-res image of your print below the surface of the skin. Touch ID will also act as the security barrier every time you make a purchase from iTunes and the App store.