Apple announced its new iPhones this week and upgrade time has come. With my 2 year contract up and my 4s looking a bit, shall we say, short, I’m ready for an upgrade and that upgrade is going to be to a 5s. Why not a 5c? A few reasons, actually. While I do like the color and I’ve read that the case is actually quite sturdy, I prefer the thin profile of the 5s. In addition, I always want the latest and greatest, so the faster CPU, better camera, and fingerprint sensor are must-haves. To top that off, I also need the most space. I have a 64 GB 4s now and I only have about 9 GB free. The 5c only comes in 16 and 32 GB varieties so it’s really off the table anyway. Bottom line: the 5c is just an iPhone 5 in a new case with a slightly larger battery. I want a two-year jump in technology, not one.
I’m pretty excited about the 5s. It isn’t a new design, but I’m used to that; I’ve been on the off-cycle ever since I got my first iPhone (a 3GS). I don’t mind getting Apple’s second generation refinements. For the 3Gs I got video recording, an oil-resistant screen, better graphics, and a CPU that would eventually run iOS 5 rather decently (in dramatic contrast to the 3G). So what if it used the same casing. The same happened with the 4s: faster chip, better camera, slightly faster cellular network, and no more “antenna gate”. To top that off I got a white one at launch instead of having to wait eight months.
I am particularly excited for the 5s because of its camera and its fingerprint sensor. I’m enrolled in something called Bring Your Own Mobile Device at work, which allows me to access my work email and calendar on my phone through the Mail and Calendar apps. It is really convenient for me and I’m pretty good at not getting overly involved in things when I’m not technically at work. In order for me be part of the program. I am required to use a pass code. The fact that I can just tap the home button and magically authenticate is simply amazing. The camera is another great upgrade. While it doesn’t add any more megapixels, it adds what matters: sensor size. The photo receptors are larger which improves light-gathering capabilities and reduces noise. Combined with a wider aperture lens, the camera can absorb about 30% more light. Add to that an improved flash and some of the software features such as image stabilization (finally), slow motion video capture, burst mode, faster autofocus, and variable panorama exposure and its a pretty fantastic camera upgrade. I use my camera all the time to take photos and videos of the boys so I’m always excited when there are improvements. Rounding out the new features are the faster CPU and GPU which work out to be around 4x faster than my 4s as well as the always-on motion sensing M7 chip. My 4s is running iOS 7 pretty well at the moment so a 5s will just scream!
In addition to new features I also get to inherit all of the things that debuted on the iPhone 5: the taller screen, thinner casing, Lightning connector, and access to the 4G LTE network. I still have unlimited data so I’m super excited to start using LTE wherever I can. I’ve used LTE on Sally’s Verizon phone and it’s super fast. AT&T is just as good according to one of my coworkers. I’m also hoping to get some slightly better battery life out of the 5s in comparison to my 4s. Constant push notifications from email combined with music listening bring my battery down to about 30% by the end of the work day. That doesn’t leave me much capacity if we go somewhere before we get home or even if I want to take some video once we get out of the car. The 5s has about 10% more battery capacity than the 5, which seemed to have a longer life than the 4s anyway.
Apple has also introduced a dock with a Lightning connector, an accessory that has only been available from third parties for the past year. I’ll certainly be picking up one of those as well as possibly a case. Apple’s new leather cases look really nice, especially the red one. I might hold off on it until I see it in person since I really like to keep my phones causeless and only protected by screen film to reduce bulk. Oddly the 5s is not available for preorder, so I will have to order mine on Friday 9/20. I’ve heard that supplies are constrained so I’m not expecting to get it for a few weeks and that’s OK. There isn’t anything that I can’t wait a couple of weeks to get. As for color, I think I’m switching back to black (no, I’m not getting gold). I really like the look of the iPhone 5’s black metal and even though Apple replaced it with “Space Gray” on the 5s, it still looks cool. I’m not a huge fan of the silver on the back of the white model, though I will miss the nice clean pop of the white face. In any case, it’s been two years and its time to upgrade. Now I need to figure out what to do with my 4s…