Apple has officially announced the iPhone 5S, which the company calls the “most forward-thinking iPhone yet”. There’s some case for such a claim too as the iPhone 5S features an all-new A7 chip, making it the world’s first smartphone with 64-bit desktop-class architecture for highly improved performance. 

The iPhone 5S will be available in the US for $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model. That’s the on-contract price, while the unlocked price is $649 for the 16GB version. The phone will be available from September 20 in select countries and Apple has promised to roll it out in 100 countries by the end of the year. 

The new iPhone is here

The new iPhone is here

In terms of design, there haven’t been too many changes in the iPhone 5S compared to its predecessor. The familiar dual-tone back is still there and there’s a new gold colour option that could be called polarising, but the overall aesthetic is the same as the iPhone 5. To complement the iPhone 5S, Apple has designed premium leather cases in six colours with a matching microfibre lining.

There are two LED flash units on the back now. The improved 8 megapixel iSight camera has a secondary True Tone flash, which improves colour tone in all lighting situations. iPhone 5S also comes with a new burst mode, slow-motion video at 120 fps, plus the enhanced Photo app from iOS 7. 

As rumoured, the iPhone 5S has a fingerprint scanner, which Apple is calling Touch ID. Users can unlock the iPhone with a swipe of the finger on the home button, which is covered with sapphire glass. All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely in the Secure Enclave inside the A7 chip on the phone and it’s never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud. It can also be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store.

iPhone 5S comes with iOS 7, and gets the new Control Center, Notification Center, improved multitasking, AirDrop, Photos, Safari, Siri and iTunes Radio apps.

The iPhone 5S has a new M7 motion coprocessor chip that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. This offloads work from the main processor for better battery life. Developers can also access new CoreMotion APIs that take advantage of M7, so they can create even better fitness and activity apps that go well beyond what other mobile devices offer. 

The 5S brings support for up to 13 LTE  wireless bands, more than any other smartphone in the world. It includes dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support for up to 150 Mbps and Bluetooth 4.0. In terms of battery life, Apple says the iPhone 5S can deliver 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks and up to 8 hours on 3G networks, and up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback. We’ll have to see which of these claims hold up to real world usage. 

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