iPhone 5s brings 64-bit ‘desktop class’ computing into the smartphone era

10 Sep 2013

Tech titan Apple has launched the world’s first smartphone with 64-bit desktop class architecture, describing it as the most forward-thinking device of its era. The device comes with the anticipated fingerprint sensor and yes, it comes in a ‘champagne’ gold variant.

The new device takes advantage of the A7 processor and the new iOS 7 operating system to enable hundreds of new features including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Siri and iTunes radio.

64-bit computing capacity delivers up to twice the CPU and graphics performance of the iPhone 5.

As expected the device will come in a new gold colour as well as silver or what Apple calls “space gray.”

Every iPhone 5s includes the new M7 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency.

Developers can also access new CoreMotion APIs that take advantage of M7, so they can create even better fitness and activity apps. The M7 motion coprocessor continuously measures your motion data, even when the device is asleep, and saves battery life for pedometer or other fitness apps that use the accelerometer all day.

Fingerprint sensor – just a touch

As expected the fabled fingerprint sensor is a reality. Built into the home button the Touch ID sensor uses a laser cut sapphire crystal, together with the capacitive touch sensor, to take a high-resolution image of your fingerprint and intelligently analyse it to provide accurate readings from any angle.

The Touch ID sensor recognises the touch of a finger so the sensor is only activated when needed, preserving battery life. All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely in the Secure Enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s; it’s never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud. Touch ID can also be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store.

The new smartphone comes with an 8 megapixel iSight camera features a larger f/2.2 aperture and a new, larger sensor with 1.5μ pixels for better sensitivity and low-light performance, resulting in better pictures.

iPhone 5s comes with the new True Tone flash that variably adjusts colour and intensity for over 1,000 combinations so photos taken with a flash appear more normal.

The device also comes with a new Burst Mode, Slo-Mo video with 120 fps, a new FaceTime HD camera for better low-light performance and audio-only FaceTime calls with iOS 7.

The iPhone 5s is the more expensive sibling to the lower-cost iPhone 5c which was also unveiled today. It will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of US$199 for the 16GB model, US$299 for the 32GB model and US$399 for the 64GB model.

The device will be out in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK on Friday, September 20 and the rest of the world by December. The iPhone 5s will then reach 100 additional countries by December.

The iPhone 5s is capable of working across 13 LTE (4G) bands and can support download speeds of 100Mbps.

It also includes dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support for up to 150Mbps download speeds.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years