CNET First Look
Apple's iPhone 5S: A close lookLots of new internal technology, but the same-sized screen: the new iPhone gets a big speed boost, new camera and fingerprint sensor, but looks identical (unless you pick gold).
Hi. I'm Scott Stein, and yes, sitting in front of me here are Apple's two new iPhones, the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. This is the first time that Apple has released two iPhones at the same time, but not really two new iPhones. One is a nice design shift away from the iPhone 5, really an iPhone 5 with a new paint job and a couple of new tweaks, but the new phone under the hood is the iPhone 5S. Let's talk about that one for a moment. This looks a lot like the iPhone 5. It looks almost exactly like the iPhone 5 except for a few new color schemes. This is space gray versus black because it's two toned. Of course, you know about the gold iPhone which kind of looks a little more like a light bronze and there's also a white/silver iPhone, the same exact look as last year. So, what's new inside the iPhone 5S? What you're really getting is a brand-spanking new A7 processor that's faster and also a 64-bit. Well, what does that mean? It's probably building towards the future of computing more than something you can appreciate right now. There are a lot faster graphics, and it's also got something called an M7 chip that allows for what Apple claims as better motion tracking. The iPhone 5S's biggest party-trick that you wanna show off to your friends is probably Touch ID. That home button has changed. There is no little square there anymore and it is still clickable, but built in underneath is a capacitive sensor that actually scans your fingerprint, any finger or even your toe, it worked. Now, that sounds kind of great. The technology is really fast, much faster than any other fingerprint sensor. But curb your excitement at the moment because what Touch ID does is pretty limited right now. It does allow you to bypass using a passcode on your phone. It also will store your iTunes password. So, if you wanna make a purchase, you just press and you buy. What it doesn't do right now is allow any other storing of other cloud-connected service passwords, remembering your Facebook or Google account, or allowing you to buy things with other services. Now, what's interesting is that your fingerprint is stored on the A7 chip itself -- it's not cloud shared or anything like that -- and it will allow you a certain grace period of log-in attempts, but then, it will default to asking you for your passcode if you don't scan enough times correctly or if you restart your phone. So, keep your passcode handy, keep your iTunes account handy. Now, the changes with the camera are multifold. Some of them have to do with the A7 processor. Some of them have to do with some changes in the sensor design and the flash. There's a larger sensor, although it's still 8 megapixels. The pixels are actually larger and the aperture is larger. Now, that means better light sensitivity. And there's now built-in image stabilization, so there's a little less blur. And the flash is a completely different flash system called True flash or True Tone flash. And it has an amber and a white light that it actually paints your environment and provides a complicated mix of up to a thousand different color tones to fit the moment when you use flash. What it boils down to is that, in testing it, flash actually looks a lot better, and in general, the clarity and the detail on pictures is a lot better if you blow it up and look at it. Now, there's some other tricks too in this camera. You've got a new video recording mode. It actually gives true slow-mo recording capability and that's a separately toggled mode from regular 1080p video recording. You have to trigger it and it records in 720p at 120 frames per second and then, at any time afterwards, you can actually toggle and adjust where the slow-mo effect kicks in. The A7 processor is, based on every benchmark that we've thrown at it so far, definitely fast, at least twice as fast, again, as the A6 last year. But what shows that off? In everyday operations with the current apps that are out there, you may not notice it, but you can definitely expect that there'll be games coming down the line fast and furious that take advantage of those better graphics. Of course, you're also getting iOS 7 that's pre-installed on the iPhone 5S. What hasn't changed is the screen. It's still a 4-inch, 1136 x 640 Retina display, and it still looks great, but it looks exactly like the iPhone 5 before it and the size is the same. Overall, the battery life also is performing about the equivalent of what the iPhone did. The iPhone 5S just looks a lot like the iPhone 5. It's definitely a better phone, but those improvements are really things you may have to wait for down the line versus stuff you can appreciate right now. If you're waiting for something to show off and get excited about, maybe, you wait for a future product. If you have an iPhone 5, maybe, you don't need to get the iPhone 5S. But if you're waiting or if you really care about camera technology or you're interested in the idea of a fingerprint sensor, this is a very good time to get aboard. You're basically future-proofing your iPhone. We'll see where that goes. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the new iPhone 5S from Apple.