A week with: iPhone 5s - undoubtedly at the frontier of what a smartphones is

 

What is it?

Depending on who you ask, the iPhone 5s is either the last word in must-have gadgetry or proof that Apple has finally run out of ideas. Launched alongside the 5c, its less expensive (I couldn't say cheaper) little brother, the 5s is a somewhat understated upgrade from last year's model.

Wait, so it's no good?

Of course not, it's absolutely amazing. It may be a cliché but Apple simply doesn't make bad phones: a new pair of processors means there's never any lag; the aluminium construction feels fantastic (I now know what "chamfered edges" are and have an urge to take a file to sharp corners everywhere) and even for an Apple novice such as myself, the operating system is intuitive to use.

That being iOS 7, the operating system that destroyed everything people loved about the iPhone?

Yep, that's the one – and not a moment too soon: the iPhone has been looking stale since 2011. The naff 3D effects and glossy finishes have finally been replaced with more minimalist icons and a somewhat Day-Glo colour scheme. The latter takes a bit of getting used to, but it's far from being the visual monstrosity that some bloggers labelled it.

The real important additions for iOS 7 have been features: there's a new control centre (swipe up anytime to get quick access to stuff like Wi-Fi and music playback); improved multi-tasking (double click the home button to see, and shut down, running apps); and a whole host of minor tweaks, many of which were long overdue.

So I should just update to iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 and call it a day then?

Maybe. The 5s is identical to the 5 in many ways but there are subtle changes, some of which, as it were, are bigger on the inside, including Touch ID (Apple's new fingerprint sensor that's integrated into the home screen) and a new pair of chips inside powering the thing – the A7 and M7.

Touch ID had most of the attention for its perceived security flaws but that's missing the point. It's a system that's about convenience rather than security and in that it succeeds wonderfully: using it to unlock your phone or authorize iTunes downloads soon becomes second nature, whereas determined hackers – well, they crack everything eventually.

The processors are possibly the more exciting bit of kit, but they've yet to come into their own. The M7 is dedicated to monitoring motion data and helps save on battery life (though you still only get a day's use), while the A7 is 64-bit; an architecture previously reserved for desktop computers that's 40 per cent faster than the A6. But both will require software written specifically for them to take full advantage of their power.

But what about now, should I buy it?

If you're on a top-end Android then probably not – there's nothing specific to tempt you over and if you're heavily embedded in Google's OS then there's quite a bite of inertia (your accounts, your apps) that makes switching a pain.

If you already own an iPhone then really it depends on your budget and how much you care. The 5s is undoubtedly at the frontier of what a smartphones is – offering a bunch of tiny ways to make your life just that little bit smoother – but it costs. It costs quite a lot.

And, as ever with Apple, although this is the best iPhone there is, that's only until the next iPhone comes out.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

    £70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - SQL Server, T-SQL

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Data Analyst (SQL Server, T-SQL, data)

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...

    Ashdown Group: European Recruitment Manager - Cheshire - up to £48,000

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: European Recrui...

    Day In a Page

    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
    Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

    Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
    General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

    All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

    The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
    How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

    How Etsy became a crafty little earner

    The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
    Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

    King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

    Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

    The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
    Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

    Don't fear the artichoke

    Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
    11 best men's socks

    11 best men's socks

    Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
    Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

    Paul Scholes column

    Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
    Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
    London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

    Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

    Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

    Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
    Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

    Khorasan is back in Syria

    America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
    General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

    On the campaign trail with Ukip

    Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
    Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

    Expect a rush on men's tights

    Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions