A lot has been written. A lot has been speculated. It was almost as if people were expecting the iPhone 5’s successor to have the capability to fly into outer-space, repair the International Space Station, and land on the desk. On a more serious and realistic note, the iPhone 5s is the true “s” cycle upgrade from Apple - no disappointments there. Let us look at the trend - the “s” upgrade always carries forward the same design as the non-”s” cycle, there is a power package boost, but all else pretty much remains the same. That is what has largely happened with the iPhone 5s. It carries forward with the same chassis and design as the iPhone 5, and you’ll be hard-pressed to identify if a person is carrying the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5s. Unless you notice the ring around the home button or the iPhone 5s he/she is using is the new golden version!
It is an honest assessment that the response to the 5s has been tepid, because people expected much more. And yes, like any new gadget, the iPhone 5s disappoints as well. But, (unrealistic?) expectations aside, there are certain rather cool features that the iPhone 5s sports. Let us tell you all about them.
LTE support: The iPhone 5s (and the iPhone 5c) supports more Long Term Evolution (LTE) bands than any other smartphone in the world. Just as a refresher - LTE is the 4G data network technology standard that is now being used in the newer 4G networks globally. The iPhone 5s supports 13 LTE bands, which includes TD-LTE, the one we use in India, at least will for the upcoming networks. The 13 band LTE support means both new iPhones will support TD-LTE in Band 40. This is the same band that Airtel and RIL’s Jio Infocom will use for the upcoming 4G networks in India. At least till we get any official confirmation regarding the support, either from the operators or from Apple, it's safe to assume that the iPhone 5s will be ready to get you connected to the 4G networks in India, the only flagship smartphone in the world to do so right now.
M7 motion co-processor: Working alongside the new 64-bit A7 processor is the M7 motion co-processor, that will take up some load on itself and free up the primary processor for other tasks. The M7 will handle data from the accelerometer, the magnetometer, and the gyroscope. With the popularity of the fitness apps, the performance and the battery efficiency of the system while the apps run in the background. An example of this is that the apps using M7 can run in the background even when the phone may be in sleep mode. Nike Move has already been updated to utilize the M7 motion co-processor. For the pedantic ones, the Moto X is the only other phone at the moment that has a processor dedicated to sensors and the apps that use them.
Biometrics: The fingerprint sensor hardware and the entire package is called TouchID. The idea behind this is to negate the need of remembering and punching in passwords every time you unlock your phone, or access an account or some secure data on the device. The sensor is integrated within the home button, which is now four layers - tactile switch, capacitive single touch sensor, stainless steel detection ring and the laser cut sapphire crystal. The ring detects the presence of a finger in the region, and makes the sensor active for screening. iTunes purchases, iBooks downloads can now all be validated using the fingerprint sensor. We do see a future for it, if the PassBook apps gain popularity and compatibility in India. TouchID is a fairly neat security feature, if used to the fullest, can also be a convenience feature.
True Tone Flash: Flash photography on cellphones has always been a nightmare thanks to how washed out it makes photos look. However, the True Tone flash on the iPhone 5S changes that up thanks to its two LED bullbs, one being warmer than the other. The phone measures the light conditions in a given situation and fires the two LED flashes with a proper mix of warm and cool lighting to give the optimum results. If it works as advertised, the True Tone Flash could make camera flashes useful again.
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(with inputs from Swapnil Mathur)