With reports from industry insiders that FoxConn has started production on the new iPhone 5S line, the internet is abuzz with rumors. Photos and rumors have been flying since late last year, but it finally seems that some concrete facts have surfaced about the 5S.
The iPhone 5 rocked the Apple-sphere when it was announce that the device would finally be conforming to a more normal 16:9 aspect ratio for the screen while still retaining its ultra-high 326 pixels per inch retina resolution. This created a longer phone, which for some was hard to get used to, but was much more conforming to the rest of the mobile market in regards to the screen size and shape.
Unfortunately, the 5S won’t be introducing anything new in the screen, but it is rumored to be shaving off some excess weight (down to 112 grams) and just over .6 mm of thickness (down to 7.6 mm). We were expecting that to be weight for the 5 to begin with, but it looks like we’ll actually get it with the 5S. Reports are also coming out that Foxconn hasn’t had to retool almost any production lines, meaning that the rest of the phone will likely be nearly identical.
The one visible exterior difference might be the inclusion of an extra LED for the camera’s flash. Expect to see both a white and yellow LED on the back of the phone—using both colors, the flash will bring out more natural color in dark photographs. Also new to the outside will be a near-invisible fingerprint pad just below or merged with the home button on the bottom of the phones face.
Expect a bump in performance from an A7 processor, and with its smaller architecture, extended battery life, though we’re still expecting a 1600 mAH battery built in. The rear camera lens will be improved, with a wider aperture (f2.0 versus the 5’s f2.4) meaning brighter images for the user. We’re hoping to see an increase to 2 GB of RAM, though it’s a toss-up along with the inclusion of NFC. NFC (near field communication) has become the standard for rival T-Mobile HTC phones, but largely ignored by the Cupertino giant.
The iOS package probably won’t look or function very differently from how it sits on the 5, but because of the new hardware features, it will likely have some key differences. The camera app itself may offer more options when it comes to how it lights dark photos, as the better lens and additional LED will change its performance ability. We aren’t expecting a new camera sensor in this build of the iPhone, so the megapixels and grain will probably be the same as the 5.
With the addition of the fingerprint scanner, the unlock screen may be the most drastically different portion of the phone. Instead of the standard “Slide to Unlock” we might see a prompt for a finger print, or depending on the ability of the fingerprint reader, it may just remove the usefulness of the lock screen altogether.
Pricing and Availability
Apple has told us how it will price most new models of every device it has, and how the previous generations of products will be subsequently priced. For carriers that supplement phone cost in exchange for a 2 year contract, expect the phone to be priced between $199 and $299 USD with unlocked phones costing around $599 for the base model. With production ramping up this month, it’s unlikely we will see any of these phones before July and more likely into the August or September range for worldwide release.
To Wait or Not To Wait
Like all ‘S’ models of the iPhone, it represents only a small improvement over the previous phone, and thus causes questioning of whether the purchase price warrants the sparse upgrades. With rumors of the 6 already floating around claiming a lighter builder, faster processor, new version of iOS and an upgraded camera sensor, it might be worth it to wait a year. Ultimately, if your 2 year cycle coincides with the ‘S’ versions, I’d say keep getting them when they roll out. If your 2 year is closer to the launches of the next generation, then hold out for that instead. However, if you’re like us and are an Apple-fanatic and upgrade with every release, nothing would likely stop you from purchasing the newest version anyways.
This is a guest post contributed by Tara Wagner. Tara Wagner is a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She’s fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.