Hands-on with the new 64-bit A7-powered iPhone 5s with new M7, camera features & Touch ID

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Without any of Samsung's embarrassing show stereotypes and circus theatrics, Apple unveiled its "forward thinking" new iPhone 5s as not just "what's next," but "what should be next," advancing mobile devices into the 64-bit computing world for the first time.

iPhone 5s


The new iPhone 5s joins the previously considered iPhone 5c as a pair of new options that take the company's existing flagship iPhone 5 in new directions. While the 5c takes the 5 into the mainstream with iPod-inspired colors, the 5s raises the bar to create a new luxury tier (although not without color options of its own).

Like the iPhone 5c, the new 5s offers expanded support for new LTE bands, enabling support on additional carriers worldwide.

While there were three model variants of iPhone 5 (A1428 North American GSM; A1429 CDMA & Global GSM; and A1442 for China Telecom CDMA with UIM/WAPI but no LTE support) there are four versions of iPhone 5s (A1533 North American GSM/CDMA for both ATT & Verizon; A1453 Sprint/Japan CDMA with additional support for LTE bands 18&26; A1457 for Europe lacking LTE bands 4/AWS, 13, 17, 18, 19, 26 but adding 7; A1530 for Asia/Pacific, identical to Europe but adding support for China Mobile's TD-LTE bands 38, 39 and 40, which is also used in Australia).

Both models also now include $40 worth of first party, chart topping apps exclusive to iOS: Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto and iMovie.

iPhone 5s Camera, True Tone Flash

One readily apparent external difference on the iPhone 5s is its dual element flash (below), which Apple refers to as "True Tone." It incorporates both a cool white and warm amber flash that are used together in independently variable degrees to match the needed flash intensity and color temperature with the ambient lighting conditions when taking low light photos.

iPhone 5s


Apple notes the result is more accurate colors and more natural, flattering skin tones, illustrated in the example presented during the keynote (below).

iPhone 5s


While not evident on the outside (or even in spec listings, where the camera element is "still" rated as 8 megapixels), the camera sensor itself is also enhanced, using a 15 percent larger sensor with larger 1.5 micron pixels.

Packing more pixels into the same sensor size increases the "megapixel" number, but doesn't necessarily improve the image quality. Instead it may actually increase the noise due to crosstalk, and has the side effect of creating photos that take up significantly more space. To get better pictures, you need the largest possible sensor, not just more "megapixels."

The lens is also important, because a larger aperture means more light can hit the sensor for capture. iPhone 5s sports new optics with a larger f2.2 aperture. Apple has also enhanced its camera capture software, which begins automatically setting the white balance, generates a dynamic local tone map, and performs autofocus matrix metering across 15 focus zones, approaching the sophistication of a standalone point and shoot camera.

iPhone 5s

iPhone 5s Burst & Slomo features

A new Burst mode lets you hold down the capture button to take multiple "paparazzi" shots rapidly in sequence. The device analyses the captures and recommends the best ones, looking for faces, focused subjects and lack of motion blur, among other criteria.



You can also manually review the batch capture and select images to save, then delete the rest in one swoop. The new feature works in both standard photo and square modes.

A parallel new "Slowmo" video capture feature lets you record video at 120 frames per second, then pick a section of your video to present in quarter-speed slow motion, supporting a cinematic sequence where regular speed video enters a "Matrix-like" high frame rate slow period that you can adjust as desired, then share as a normal video.



Apple has also enhanced Panorama capture to account for differences in exposure as the image is captured, such as when taking a wide shot involving a bright window. The adaptive new Panorama works similar to HDR to present a better final result than the camera element physically can without advanced processing.

iPhone 5s and the new 64-bit A7

These new camera features aren't just fancy software; they are incredibly computationally intensive operations that earlier devices simply lack the horsepower to handle. Supporting these advanced camera features is Apple's new A7 chip, the first 64-bit processor in a smartphone.

iPhone 5s


While 64-bit desktop computing largely offered advantages to applications that worked with large data sets that needed to access more than 4GB of RAM (such as Photoshop), moving to 64-bit in the ARM world has other advantages.

Pundits have already started issuing shill contempt for Apple's "first to 64-bit" claim, but you can identify those that don't know what they're talking about much by how many times they repeat the idea that you need a 4GB boundary before you need a 64-bit processor architecture, while also noting that iOS devices haven't hit any 4GB frontier (iPhones and iPads have historically maxed out at 1GB of system RAM; iPhone 5s appears to have 2GB).

Today's 32-bit mobile ARM architecture began in 1990 in a joint project by Apple and Acorn aimed at creating a mobile processor for the Newton Message Pad. That device used a chip known as the ARM 610, using the third generation ARMv3 instruction set.

That was a long time ago, and in the more than two decades since, the ARM architecture has advanced significantly. The original 2007 iPhone was powered by an ARM1176 component using sixth generation or ARMv6 instruction set CPU core.

Apple's A-series chips


More recent iPhones have all used the ARMv7 instruction set. For last year's A6, Apple created a custom "Swift" core using an extended ARMv7 instruction set and based on the ARM Cortex-A9 architecture, incorporating some features of the ARM Cortex-15 architecture designed for server applications.

Since then, Samsung debuted its own chip for the Galaxy S4 using stock ARM Cortex-15 cores, and optimized to shine at benchmarks. Apple took a different tack with its own A7, jumping to the new 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set of the ARM Cortex-A50 series core designs.

The modern instruction set of ARMv8 not only supports running both 32- and 64-bit apps, but also expands the number of both floating point and general purpose registers, uses 64-bit addressing and allows 32-bit instructions to take either 32- or 64-bit arguments. These upgrades are a package deal, and each part of the jump is significant and noteworthy. It's simply ridiculous to maintain that Apple pulled off the first production use of the 64-bit ARM architecture just as a marketing ploy designed to fool its customers into thinking they were getting a faster device that wasn't really improved.

It's simply ridiculous to maintain that Apple pulled off the first production use of the 64-bit ARM architecture just as a marketing ploy designed to fool its customers into thinking they were getting a faster device that wasn't really improved.

Take notice of the fact that there wasn't criticism of Samsung's use of Cortex-15 cores (which didn't really yield any blockbuster, real world performance gains on the GS4 this summer), but there's no shortage of parade rainmakers for Apple's leap to ARMv8.

Advancing to a 64-bit instruction set essentially means that big math problems can be worked out faster in larger chunks, not just boosting performance but also allowing the processor to finish its work faster and drop back down into a lower power mode, contributing to energy savings even while delivering up to twice the computational performance.

In addition, Apple's experience in porting OS X to the 64-bit Power PC G5 and then again with the Intel transition to 64-bit has not only equipped the company to make a third 64-bit transition on ARM, but also affords a "seamless developer transition" for third party apps.

iOS 7 on iPhone 5s gets a native 64-bit kernel, libraries and drivers and Apple has ported all of its own bundled apps to 64-bit, but the device can run both 32- and 64-bit apps without users needing to worry about which they have.

iPhone 5s


As developers make the transition via Apple's Xcode support for 64-bit, App Store titles can be delivered in "fat binaries" with both sets of code, allowing users to run apps that automatically work correctly, depending on the hardware being used. And note that ARM code isn't what takes up space in typical iOS apps: its typically the graphics and other assets, making "fat binaries" really fat in name only.

Enhanced graphics cores now also support OpenGL ES 3.0 in iOS 7, and Apple says this can boost graphics performance by a factor of two as well. This is particularly important in console-style mobile games, a field that has been dominated by iOS, where developers can concentrate on a limited set of standard hardware rather than dealing with multiple fractions of Android versions each running on different GPU architectures.

iPhone 5s and the new Touch ID

Another enabling technology afforded by the A7's advanced computing power is the mathematically intensive task of the Touch ID sensor, a fingerprint scanner (pictured below) that essentially takes an extremely high resolution image of your finger and maps out the unique patterns of valleys and ridges on the skin's surface. This has to happen extremely rapidly to be useful and practical.

iPhone 5s


Apple has made configuring Touch ID extremely simple: you create a new fingerprint profile, then repeatedly touch the sensor as it collects a profile of a specific print.



You can do this for multiple fingers, even for multiple prints of more than one person. Each authorized print has the ability to unlock your phone. In the future, Apple will likely expand the supported features to enable tasks such as launching apps with different prints. For now, the fingerprint system is designed solely to authenticate unlocking the phone and to authorize purchases from iTunes (shown below).



No other apps have access to the fingerprint system and your fingerprints are only ever stored in a secure "enclave" on the device itself; they aren't uploaded to iCloud or otherwise backed up to Apple's servers, in order to prevent any security concerns related to leaks or shared access to identifying biometric data.

Touch ID


The new Touch ID sensor is surrounded by a distinctive metal ring that detects the presence of a finger. The sensor itself lies behind a protective sapphire lens and on top of a clickable Home button (show exploded, above).

iPhone 5s and the new M7

Another unique feature of the 5s is its new M7 coprocessor, designed solely to process motion data from GPS, accelerometers and gyroscope, the digital compass and other sensors.

iPhone 5s


"It takes advantage of all these great sensors and it continually measures them without having to wake up the A7 chip," Apple's head of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller noted, adding that even in sleep mode, the device could tell if a user is "stationary, running, walking, or driving."

By offloading motion-related tasks to a dedicated chip, the system avoids constantly activating the A7, allowing motion related tasks, including health and fitness apps, to efficiently run in the background without draining the battery as quickly. One of the first apps to take advantage of M7 is Nike+ Move.

iPhone 5s


M7 also helps adapt the iPhone 5s depending on how its being used. "M7 knows when you?re walking, running, or even driving," Apple says. "For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you?re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won?t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn?t moved for a while, like when you?re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 166
    Wow. Great article. Thank you so much apple insider staff. Go on.
  • Reply 2 of 166
    hydrhydr Posts: 146member
    DED, I got your fingerprint now. ;-)
  • Reply 4 of 166

    First, I want to note that I enjoy Apple products and plan to purchase the 5s when it gets released.

     

    That being said, why all of the Samsung bashing? A hands-on article like this on a pro-Apple website (nothing wrong with that) should focus exclusively on the phone itself. Instead, this "hands-on" article just seems to be trying to defend Apple's design choices against Samsung. Even the sub-header of the article states that, "Without any of Samsung's embarrassing show stereotypes and circus theatrics, Apple unveiled its "forward thinking" new iPhone 5s as not just "what's next," but "what should be next," advancing mobile devices into the 64-bit computing world for the first time". How does a header like that portray any sort of professionalism whatsoever? Few people would disagree that Samsung's Galaxy S4 unveiling was inappropriate, but how is that even remotely relevant to this article? Samsung shouldn't be mentioned at all on a pro-Apple website unless there is actual news about them that pertains to what is going on with Apple in some respect. There are ways to be in favor of one company or product without having to be against another. People who visit blogs like this have every right to their opinion, but they shouldn't be spoon-fed reasons not to like another company that makes millions of other people happy as well.

     

    ***Full disclosure*** - I used to own a Galaxy S4 and ended up not liking it. That is why I am switching to the iPhone 5s, since it is a product that works better for me. However, I can see why many other people enjoy the Galaxy series of phones so I do not hold hate for having diversity in the industry. 

     

    Am I the only person who follows this site that believes that Apple Insider takes things too far sometimes with the bashing of other companies? Am I wrong to ask for a more professional style of writing?

  • Reply 5 of 166
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    This phone truly looks like an incredible device. Superlative on all fronts. Don't see how someone can reasonable bash it, except for those that want phablets, and "open". The days of "lol iPhone doesn't have X or Y feature" are over. The only thing Apple bashers have left to cling to is "widgets", and convincing themselves the gimmicks that other manufactures shit out, that barely work, are useful and valuable.
  • Reply 6 of 166
    I am sure, an army of Samesungs copy slaves are right now day an night trying to retroengineer what's been shown here.
  • Reply 7 of 166
    slurpy wrote: »
    This phone truly looks like an incredible device. Superlative on all fronts. Don't see how someone can reasonable bash it, except for those that want phablets, and "open". The days of "lol iPhone doesn't have X or Y feature" are over. The only thing Apple bashers have left to cling to is "widgets", and convincing themselves the gimmicks that other manufactures shit out, that barely work, are useful and valuable.

    Absolutely right!

    Can't wait to get hold on one.
  • Reply 8 of 166
    "The days of "lol iPhone doesn't have X or Y feature" are over."

    You're smoking crack if you don't think there's a huge unmet demand for larger screened iPhones.

    They are losing their cachet big-time by having only one small form factor. Just because you and I don't need a bigger screen doesn't mean that everyone else feels that way. I meet people all the time who want a bigger screen so that they can see easier. Women, especially. They carry purses and handbags, and have plenty of room for a bigger phone.

    They've gotten way too conservative. They need to aggressively address their weak spots, not simply declare that they're actually strengths.
  • Reply 9 of 166
    What i dont get is why limit the fingerprint sensor function just to unlock and itunes.
    Why not allow me to associate all my passwords to my fingerprint ... So that i can use it to enter password protected sits and etc.
    that is where the real value would be for me.
  • Reply 10 of 166
    Thanks for your professional%u2014and principled%u2014articles. This is the clearest article re the Apple's announcements I have read do far.

    So no more unlocked global GSM on the Verizon iPhone 5s? Does the 5c use the same radios?
  • Reply 11 of 166
    Originally Posted by mutoneon View Post

    They are losing their cachet big-time by having only one small form factor.

     

    No, that's not true.

     

    They've gotten way too conservative. They need to aggressively address their weak spots, not simply declare that they're actually strengths.


     

    Yeah, Apple should make worthless trash to fill every niche with trash instead of gold. That's better¡

     
    Originally Posted by Yojimbo007 View Post

    Why not allow me to associate all my passwords to my fingerprint ... So that i can use it to enter password protected sits and etc.

     

    iCloud Keychain (Safari) already allows for automatic password saving and login, so you don't need to worry about that.

  • Reply 12 of 166
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Adam Foosaner View Post

     

    First, I want to note that I enjoy Apple products and plan to purchase the 5s when it gets released.

     

    That being said, why all of the Samsung bashing? A hands-on article like this on a pro-Apple website (nothing wrong with that) should focus exclusively on the phone itself. Instead, this "hands-on" article just seems to be trying to defend Apple's design choices against Samsung. Even the sub-header of the article states that, "Without any of Samsung's embarrassing show stereotypes and circus theatrics, Apple unveiled its "forward thinking" new iPhone 5s as not just "what's next," but "what should be next," advancing mobile devices into the 64-bit computing world for the first time". How does a header like that portray any sort of professionalism whatsoever? Few people would disagree that Samsung's Galaxy S4 unveiling was inappropriate, but how is that even remotely relevant to this article? Samsung shouldn't be mentioned at all on a pro-Apple website unless there is actual news about them that pertains to what is going on with Apple in some respect. There are ways to be in favor of one company or product without having to be against another. People who visit blogs like this have every right to their opinion, but they shouldn't be spoon-fed reasons not to like another company that makes millions of other people happy as well.

     

    ***Full disclosure*** - I used to own a Galaxy S4 and ended up not liking it. That is why I am switching to the iPhone 5s, since it is a product that works better for me. However, I can see why many other people enjoy the Galaxy series of phones so I do not hold hate for having diversity in the industry. 

     

    Am I the only person who follows this site that believes that Apple Insider takes things too far sometimes with the bashing of other companies? Am I wrong to ask for a more professional style of writing?


     

    Bashing? You have to be kidding. The article mentiond 'Samsung' three times; you, 5. Galaxy once; you 3.

     

    What sub-header?

     

    And Full disclosure, you have to be kidding. As far as I can see, you used to own a Galaxy S4 and will be getting an iPhone 5 when it becomes available? So what are you using since you tossed your Galaxy S4? And why? Now that would be full disclosure.

  • Reply 13 of 166
    pazuzu wrote: »
    My Precious!

    1000

    Why the samsung bashing!
    Becouse the are low life, shameless, lying, bribing , copycat thugs deserving every ounce of bashing they get.
  • Reply 14 of 166
    Interesting.
  • Reply 15 of 166
    This article answers the age-old question: How many specs can you cram into a headline? :lol:
  • Reply 16 of 166
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,797member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mutoneon View Post



    "The days of "lol iPhone doesn't have X or Y feature" are over."



    You're smoking crack if you don't think there's a huge unmet demand for larger screened iPhones.



    They are losing their cachet big-time by having only one small form factor. Just because you and I don't need a bigger screen doesn't mean that everyone else feels that way. I meet people all the time who want a bigger screen so that they can see easier. Women, especially. They carry purses and handbags, and have plenty of room for a bigger phone.



    They've gotten way too conservative. They need to aggressively address their weak spots, not simply declare that they're actually strengths.

     

    You are exactly correct. Apple will make a lrger screen next year. I think they felt it was just too much change to release yet another new model this year. Apple  tends to like to do things very incrementally. They always tend to leave a few things off to make you want to buy the next model that much sooner. This year it was all about the 5C and Touch ID. Next year, possibly as soon as April, we will see a larger display iPhone and it will also include AC wifi which they left out. When that happens I expect to see a lot of iPhone 5s go on sale on Ebay and other sites very quickly since a larger iPhone will be hugely popular. 

     

    Many people like me that want a larger iPhone will settle for the 5s because we like iOS and are locked into the Apple ecosystem.

  • Reply 17 of 166

    Cool.

  • Reply 18 of 166

    wow

  • Reply 19 of 166
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Adam Foosaner View Post

     

    That being said, why all of the Samsung bashing? 


     

    Meh. The site _is_ called _Apple_insider, after all, so some advocacy is not unexpected.

     

    I think the main reason is just a reaction to the frankly foaming-at-the-mouth fanboyism from the other side. Have you read any of the comments sections (or articles) regarding, say, the significance of the A7 being a 64 bit processor? Yikes! Be careful if you do - this has definitely got the Fandroids panties in a twist...

  • Reply 20 of 166

    I quoted the subheader of the article... and i returned the Galaxy S4 to the store. I'm using an old phone until the 5s comes out. Not sure how that would be so out of the question. And the Samsung bashing isn't limited to this article. There was a feature earlier today about how they announced they want to move to a 64-bit architecture for their phones and the article is written in such a way that they are only doing it because Apple did it, which is almost certainly not true seeing as moving to a 64-bit architecture is a nature progression in computing in the first place. It was inevitable. That's only one example. Apple Insider needs to focus on what Apple is doing, not on hating other companies. 

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