Apple have lifted the covers off the iPhone 5S, the successor to the iPhone 5 and the premium option over the newly-revealed cheaper iPhone 5C.
The headlining feature is the smartphone’s new (and long-rumoured) fingerprint scanner, which Apple calls Touch ID. It’s 170 microns thin and sits within the Home button, scanning your sub-epidermal skin layers with a definition up to 500ppi.
Reading in any orientation, it can be used to unlock your phone or used instead of an iTunes password when making purchases. Made from sapphire, it should be safe from scratches which could otherwise affect its readings. All fingerprint scans are encrypted, and “secured inside a secure enclave”, for tinfoil-hat wearers worried about the prints falling into the wrong hands.
Sporting the brand new A7 processor, Apple claim the chipset inside the iPhone 5S is the first 64-bit chip available in a smartphone, with the new iOS 7 operating system and all native apps now optimised for 64-bit performance. It boasts over 1 billion transistors.
Overall, the A7 chip will give a 40x boost to CPU performance, with a 56x leap in graphics performance. Apple showed off the graphically demanding Infinity Blade 3 to hammer home the point. OpenGL ES 3.0 will also be supported by the chip.
The iPhone 5S will also sport the M7 chip, a new addition to the iPhone line that continuously measures motion data through the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, and will enable all-new experiences in health and fitness apps.
In terms of camera specs, the iPhone 5S will sport an 8MP sensor, with redesigned five-element Apple-designed lens with an F2.2 aperture. The sensor has a 15% larger active area, packing in pixel 1.5 microns, going for the “bigger pixels is better than more pixels” approach that HTC took in the HTC One’s Ultrapixel camera system. A dual LED flash system (one LED being cool white, the other a warm amber), also features. When combined in over 1,000 variations, the flash can dish out just the right colour balance straight off the bat. Auto image stabilisation will also feature, as will a new 10 fps burst shooting mode. Slow motion shooting at 720p / 120fps will also be supported for the first time.
Though looking almost identical to the iPhone 5, it will be available in three different colours – silver, “space grey” and gold, just as was rumoured. The chassis will be made of a high-grade aluminium – far more durable than the glass-backed days of the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Battery life for the iPhone 5S is said to be 10 hours of 3G talk time, 8 hours of 3G web browsing, 10 hours of LTE or Wi-FI browsing, and a whopping 250 hours of standby.
In terms of pricing, you’re looking at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB daddy. UK pricing is £549 for the 16GB model, £629 for the 32GB model and £709 for the 64GB version. New cases will also be available at $39 a go, £35 in the UK.
The phone will be hitting stores on September 20. No pre-order available this time around, so better dust off your queuing shoes.