Apple announces iPhone 5S: What you need to know

Apple announces iPhone 5S: What you need to know

Summary: Apple announced the much-anticipated iPhone 5S at a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Here's the run down of what you need to know.

TOPICS: Apple, iOS, iPhone
(Image: Apple)

Amid months of rumors and leaks, speculation (and more leaks), Apple finally announced what we all expected: the iPhone 5S.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook took to the stage at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, along with other senior executives and vice-presidents, to announce the seventh-generation iPhone since its inception in 2007.

For the first time in the company's annual release cycle, hundreds of reporters descended on the Apple headquarters to see and experience the brand new smartphone, which has taken the world — both consumers and enterprise customers — by storm. In spite of the leaks, the rumors, the speculation (and even more leaks), the media from the world over were still in for a few surprises, thanks due in part to Apple's tight-lipped philosophy. 

The new iPhone 5S, which lands in gold, silver, and space-gray colored versions, comes in three different flavors: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, costing $199, $299 and $399 respectively on a two-year contract.

Devices also come with additional cases, including one made of leather, at $39 each.

With the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 retired, the iPhone 4S (8GB version) will now become free on contract.

Pre-orders start on September 13, and consumers can buy in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, the U.K., and other countries, on September 20.  

The latest version of its mobile operating system iOS 7 will be released for free on September 18. It will be made available on iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, and 5th gen iPod touch.

Here's what Apple is serving up in the iPhone 5:

64-bit A7 chip: The world's first 64-bit mobile phone with over 1 billion transistors. According to Apple, it has 56-times the processing power in the new processor, which can make some apps run as much as five-times faster.

Fingerprint reader: Dubbed "Touch ID," users can now access their devices with the in-built fingerprint reader. Embedded in the device's home button, now a stainless steel "detection ring," it can now read fingerprints 360-degrees at a very high resolution of 500 pixels-per-inch. It can also be used to make in-app purchases. 

(Image: CNET)

Improved battery: The iPhone 5S' battery now has up to 10 hours of 3G talk time, LTE browsing and Wi-Fi browsing, and up to 250 hours on standby. According to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, this is still "better than the iPhone 5."

Better 8-megapixel camera:  The new iSight camera includes a five-element Apple-designed lens, and a new sensor with a 15 percent larger active area. The dual-LED camera will help get the right color balance out of the flash, making skin tones look far better. It also comes with a new "burst-mode" which takes 10 frames per second, while the video mode captures high-definition imagery at 120 frames per second.  

Included in the latest version of iOS 7, we have:

Radical new user interface: Now boasting blurs and layers, tucked-away features, and transitioning animations, iOS 7's visual foundation is built on three-dimensional effects and faux-perspective. With translucent, blurry layer sitting on top of all other facets of the platform, nothing ever feels as though it has "gone away." The software also features a dynamic, moving "parallax" wallpaper with "flatter" icons.

Control Center: The swipe-up "cheat-sheet" area of your phone or tablet, that will allow you to access the device's basic features and functions — ready and waiting when you need them quickly. Separated into four distinct panels (or five, when an AirPlay device is detected), each section offers different core device options, such as radio access or screen brightness.

Redesigned notifications: Swipe-down and you have a brand new, elegant full-display look at what is coming up, and what you've missed since you last looked at your device. Totally redesigned from the ground up, it's now easier than ever being briefed on what's come into your device at any given time.

Improved Siri assistant: The same old voice-activated intelligence assistant has grown up. Donning the same old voices but refined vocabulary, the on-hand helper now has much better speech recognition support. Siri is now refined and polished, and, above all else, it works when you need it most, and now accommodates a string of new, different features and services, including access to your device's hardware features.

Brand new business, enterprise features: iOS 7 now comes with per-app virtual private networking (VPN) so you can connect your email account to your office network while keeping browsing on your home Wi-Fi. It also comes with PDF support in email, enterprise single sign-on, and third-party app data protection that keeps data stored in a compartmented and secure way.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPhone

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  • Lotsa meat.

    NO gimmicks. Go, Apple!
    • 28 Megapixel Camera is FALSE its 8 Megapixels

      it has a Panorama Mode that allows you to take (piece together) a 28 megapixel shot.
      • Really? You're sure about that?

        That's certainly not what they said at the announcement.
        • Do you have a quote where apple said it was a 28 megapixel camera?

          Here is my proof that it is an 8 megapixel camera:

          "isight Camera 8 megapixels"

          But the site I listed above does lie a lot. What is your proof?
        • (What I get for watching the wrong live blog.)

          I apologize for my previous statement as watching the later feed confirmed yours.
  • Looks good

    Except for screen size and resolution, iPhone is no longer behind competition. I know others will follow, but as for now it's probably the best smartphone on specifications - even without 28Mpixels :-)
    • There are a significant number of folks who think the size is right.

      While it's true that Samsung has sold lots of large phones and phablets, many folks (including myself) believe that that iPhone is just about the "right size" for a mobile phone. I've used a Samsung and prefer the size of my iPhone.

      Screen resolution is also just about right; what's the point of more pixels-per-inch if you're observing the screen with your naked eye? It's just more work for naught by the GPU and every bit of work takes those picoJoules of power from the battery.
      • While I still like small phones

        Majority seem enjoying big and bigger displays. For heavy reading a 5inch it's already okeyish, much smaller will be far from good.
        I still believe Apple will diversify with a near 5 inch display iPhone - maybe later...
        • Really? Are the large screen models

          outselling the smaller screen models? Not just small screen iPhones, but smaller screen for ALL hardware manufacturers.
          • The majority of phones available for purchase are larger than 4 inches

            I don't know the sales numbers of phones by screen size but in the US market the pickens are pretty slim for
          • continued

            seems a less than sign signals the end of your message :-)
            Pickens are pretty slim for less than 4" phones. a few token kybd sliders, T-Moblie branded low ender and the older iphones.
          • Available for sale means "Not Sold"

            Now why would so many large screen phones be Not Sold if they were so popular?
        • And when they do all you anti-big screen people will convert

          Apple people don't need a 41 megaipxel camera, high density screen or NFC until Apple puts it in, then it will be necessary and anyone without it will be foolish.
          A Gray
        • I don't see any "majority" buying large screen models.

          Even the Samsung Galaxy S4 is not a "large screen model" and it's currently the best-selling Android phone on the market.
          • The S4

            Has a 5" screen. Like what has been stated, iphone is one of the few phones with a sub 4.3" screen. I don't know the number either (i'm just not that into it). But 4.3" seems to be the starting point for most other phones. With phones like the samsung mega as big as 6.3" I think? The note 2 which is becoming very popular is 5.5" and the new note 3 will be 5.7" 1080 screen. I was going to get the note 2 but the specs on the 3 look like it was be the everything killer.
      • Isn't this what the Apple fanobois were saying about the 3.5" screen?

        Right up to the point Apple released the 4" iPhone 5?
        • I could have still lived with a 3.5 inch screen.

          Couple that with a slimmer phone and reduced weight. However, with all the advances that the iPhone has accumulated since the iPhone 4 (significantly better camera subsystem, fingerprint sensor, 64 bit internal ARM SOC and significantly better battery charge duration times), I understand the increase in it's physical dimensions. The increased display size is just a side benefit, in a way.
        • The point is about the WIDTH of the phone

          So that you can use it comfortably with one hand. The iPhone 5 maintained that. But, you already knew that.
        • Screen got not wider

          The screen size increase didn't change the key feature of the form factor for most use.

          When I am standing in the street carrying coffees and shopping and texting then making a call it really matters.

          A wider screen would mean I couldn't do that.

          A longer screen did not prevent me from doing that.

          Real world use cases over specs and useless tech numbers any day.

          Fanbois is a weak argument
          • Screen got not wider (huh?)

            "When I am standing in the street carrying coffees and shopping and texting then making a call it really matters."
            Wow. Nice multitasking. Got time to breathe, too? Think that you're the odds-on favorite to be the next one caught in a video as you down the street, and then trip over the edge of the fountain that's in plain sight and fall in 'cause you had NO idea what was going on around you. Sheesh, put your phone down for a few minutes, smell the roses and enjoy the real world, and not the one on that whatever sized screen that's controlling your life(?).