iPhone 5s Announced, Available September 20

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Today in Cupertino, Phil Schiller (Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing) announced the iPhone 5s, an iterative upgrade to last year’s iPhone 5, along with the new iPhone 5c.

As anticipated, the phone is largely unchanged in design, with the same anodized aluminium back & chamfered edges pioneered by the iPhone 5. It also retains the same screen & dimensions, though it now comes in 3 colours; silver, gold & ‘space grey’.

The biggest visible hardware change for the iPhone 5s comes courtesy of a new fingerprint sensor called Touch ID, built into the home button. Touch ID is a security system that allows iOS to recognise your fingerprint and unlock your phone for you, as well as perform other security-related tasks (such as entering your iTunes password).

The sensor is also able to be used with multiple fingers (once set up) and will also work in any orientation. The biometric data is only stored on the device, and Apple made a point of reiterating that this data is never sent to them, backed up to iCloud or shared with other software.

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The iPhone 5s has been beefed up under the hood too. Apple introduced a new A7 chip which makes the iPhone 5s ‘the world’s first 64-bit smartphone’, as well as a raft of speed improvements. They claim this will double the speed of common tasks like saving videos, playing games, or launching the camera.

Along with the A7, they also included a new processor, called the M7. This is a motion co-processor, which continuously measures motion data, including information from the gyroscope, accelerometer & compass. Apple says the M7 is power-efficient, and will offload work that is typically performed by the CPU, allowing for better battery life.

This information can be relayed to 3rd-party apps, allowing developers to create more robust fitness & health apps on iOS. It can also help apps define what’s happening around you, like if you’re driving vs. walking.

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Another big improvement to the iPhone 5s is the camera. Apple introduced a five-element lens with an F2.2 aperture, and a new camera sensor that’s 15% bigger (though the megapixel count has stayed that same, at 8).

They’ve also introduced a range of software features in the new camera, such as the ability to shoot in burst mode, and intelligently select the best photo from the bunch. You can also now shoot slo-mo video, which captures 720p at 120 frames a second.

Lastly, they’ve also introduced an interesting dual-LED flash; one with a cool white light, and the other with a warm amber light. The combo of these two mean the iPhone 5s can take a photo by detecting the surrounding ambient light and adjust the flash colour temperature to suit. This should mean photos with the flash look more natural.

The iPhone 5S will be available in Australia on September 20th, and outright pricing starts at AUD$869 for the 16GB, $999 for the 32GB, and $1129 for the 64GB. No doubt we’ll see the major carriers announce plans & contract pricing very soon.

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

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