Tech Column: iPhone 5S and 5C brings Apple back into the innovation game
Can I paint your iPhone gold?
Apple’s biggest innovation in smartphones since the original iPhone is here: the 64-bit powerhouse known as the iPhone 5S is finally here.
No other manufacturer had even discussed the potential of 64-bit phones, and even Windows only started the transition from 32-bit in 2001 with Windows XP.
The iPhone was launched a mere six years ago, and yet here’s Apple, boasting – rightfully – about leaving the competition in the dust with “the first 64-bit smartphone in the world”.
Manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and Microsoft’s new Nokia division are now left to scramble after Apple, but don’t expect to see Google’s Android or Windows Phone updated to 64-bit compatibility for about a year.
You might be wondering what this 64-bit revolution is going to matter to you. In the short run, not much. Sure, the iPhone 5S will be about 40 per cent faster than the iPhone 5, putting it on par with mid-range desktop computers, but so far only native apps like Safari will take advantage of this update.
Over the next year, however, expect to see an increasing number of developers create apps that will make use of the new 64-bit processor – apps that will be quicker, more powerful, and all-around better.
Another feature of the new iPhone 5s is the fingerprint reader. It’s not new – the Motorolla Atrix first featured a scanner back in 2011 – and there are lingering concerns about how secure the scanner really is.
Other than that, the iPhone 5S has the usual improvements in camera power – now with two flashes to help balance colours – and other minor innovations like a smaller processor dedicated to tracking movement to help with fitness apps.
This is in comparison with the iPhone 5C, which is really just an iPhone 5 with a price cut and a bright candy-coloured plastic shell. The only real innovation with this phone is its manufacturing process which, while neat, is still just about making a block of plastic look cool. However, what’s really interesting is that Apple has abandoned founder Steve Job’s ideal that there should be one iPhone for everyone.
With the 5c Apple has abandoned its history of selling older phones, like the 4s at a discount. Now Apple is starting to head the way of other manufacturers, with an up-market iPhone 5s and less-costly iPhone 5c.
Both the iPhone 5s and 5c come with the new iOS 7, which represents the largest update the design of iOS since it was first revealed in 2007. iOS 7 follows the flat design trend best exemplified by Windows 8, throwing out textures for bright gradients of colour. Entire apps have been overhauled, making the dated iOS design feel fresh again.
The iPhone 5S starts at $229 for 16GB on contract, or $719 without, while the iPhone 5C starts at $129 for 16GB, or $599 without. As usual, add $100 to double the memory.