iPhone 5S officially launched: all the details inside

Fingerprint scanning with Touch ID, a 64-bit A7 processor and a contextually-aware motion coprocessor. Oh, and it's available in gold – Apple's not being shy
iPhone 5S officially launched: all the details inside

Apple today announced the iPhone 5S, its new top of the line iPhone. And although it may look similar to the iPhone 5, the 5S is packed with new tech.

What sort of new tech? A 64-bit processor, contextually-aware M7 coprocessor and Touch ID fingerprint scanning tech, among other refinements – read on for all the improvements. Oh, and it comes in gold.

Spec bump

iPhone 5S cases

Under the hood there are a number of important upgrades: the iPhone 5's dual-core A6 processor has been replaced by a quad-core, 64-bit 1.5GHz A7 CPU (56 times the speed of the original 2007 iPhone!), the rear camera can now capture 1080p HD video at 120fps for ultra smooth slow motion playback, and there’s a bigger battery delivering up to 250 hours life in standby mode, 40 hours of music playback and 10 hours of 3G talk time.

There’ll be a special edition of iOS 7 for the 64-bit CPU, which is the first of its kind. It’ll also support OpenGL ES 3.0 (yes, we know that’s already available in Android 4.3) for improved graphical eye candy, particularly in games.

There’s also a “motion coprocessor” called the M7, which runs alongside the CPU and constantly measures motion data via accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. In conjunction with the phone’s GPS, Apple claims it’ll usher in a new generation of fitness apps.

Snap judgment

The camera sensor remains 8MP but is physically 15 percent larger. The bigger pixels, teamed with image stabilisation (digital rather than superior optical, but still…) and a new “True Tone” dual-LED flash should deliver better performance in low light situations. The flash also has over 1,000 colour temperature variations to deliver more lifelike skin tones etc. – hence the name. The camera also has a burst mode offering up to 10fps, which then analyses the shots to pic the best one (you can keep multiple shots if you wish, though).

You got the touch

iPhone 5S Touch ID

The Home button has also been improved, and now doubles as a “Touch ID” fingerprint scanner. That means you can unlock the iPhone 5S – or authorise iTunes purchases – without needing to do anything as old-fashioned as key in a passcode: you simply place your finger on the button (no need to press it) and you’re in.

The Touch ID sensor even scans the sub-epidermal skin layer for more accuracy and heightened security, and it can be set up to read multiple fingerprints. The fingerprint information, says Apple, is never backed up to iCloud or Apple servers, so presumably that means bad people and overly friendly government agencies won’t have access to it.

Gold (as) standard

iPhone 5S gold

There is one significant change to the exterior: in addition to the two finishes already available for the iPhone 5, the 5S is coming in a “champagne” gold colour. Given that gold has always been seen as a tacky colour for phones (at least outside of Russia), it’s a bold, perhaps bizarre, choice from Apple – and we’re itching to see how it performs on the market. We suspect we won’t be seeing too many blinged-out iPhones on the high street – but maybe we’re wrong.

The iPhone 5S will come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, priced at £550, £630 and £710 respectively. It goes on sale on 20th September in a group of countries that includes the UK.

Read our hands-on review of the iPhone 5S here.

For our iPhone 5S preview page, click here.