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iPhone 5S breakdown

Published on September 10, 2013 by in Apple, iPhone, News

The big day has finally arrived!  Apple’s media event today went off without a hitch and the company did indeed announce two new next-generation iPhones.  Most of the rumors that have been circulating recently have been proven out.  The iPhone 5S release today saw the advent of biometric security for the device, as well as the A7 64-bit CPU and the new champagne (gold) color option.  This new paragon of smartphones is scheduled to hit stores on September 20th.

iPhone 5s breakdown

Touch ID

The iPhone 5S is the first smartphone to offer biometric security with a Touch ID sensor that allows the phone to be unlocked with just the touch of your fingertip.  This is one of the most noticeable changes to the new generation of iPhones.  The sensor is built into the Home button.  It measures just 170 microns thick and can sense 500 pixels per inch in order to scan the sub-epidermal layers of the user’s skin.  The sensor is capable of reading fingerprints from any orientation in 360°.  The Home button has been upgraded to be composed of sapphire crystal in order to prevent scratches and damage that could impair the sensor.

The sensor has the ability to recognize multiple fingerprints, meaning that specific device parameter may be able to be attached to individual prints, giving parents and others a better way to control access on the device.  The data collected during use of the Touch ID sensor is not exposed to other software nor backed up on Apple’s internal servers.  These precautions give the device a very reliable security feature that cannot be stolen unless the device itself is somehow accessed (unlikely with biometric security).

A7 Processor

The new top-of-the-line iPhone 5S is outfitted with a 64-bit chip that has been used in the past as an exclusive desktop-class chip.  The A7 makes the iPhone 5S the first-ever smartphone to have such capabilities.    The processor contains over one billion transistors, double the amount available in the A6.  The next generation of the operating system, iOS 7, has been designed to take advantage of the new, faster processor with 64-bit capability on libraries, drivers and other aspects of operation.

The new A7 processing powerhouse is roughly twice as fast as that found in the A6.  Graphics performance is also much better, about twice as fast as was available with the A6.  Some Apple higher-ups have boasted about the faster speed of the iPhone 5S, saying that it is about 40x faster than was possible in the original iPhone.

M7 Motion Processor

The iPhone 5S also got a whole new piece of hardware, the M7 motion co-processing chip.  The chip carries out measurements of motion data on a constant basis, meaning that a whole new world of health and fitness apps have opened up for the device.  Some companies, like Nike, have already signed up to take advantage of these new capabilities.  Its app, Nike+Move will utilize both the M7 chip and the internal GPS to track user activity.

Camera Upgrades

The iPhone 5S sees upgrades to its camera, too.  The new design offers an f/2.2 aperture and an Apple-designed 5-element lens.  The sensor area is about 15% larger, allowing larger pixels and higher-quality photos.  With iOS 7, the camera offers automatic white balancing, exposure levels, stabilization and autofocus matrix metering.  It will also automatically choose the photo with the sharpest focus out of a series.

The flash also got an upgrade and has been dubbed as a “True Tone” flash by the company.  The new flash sports dual LEDs and will address issues with color temperatures that have clashed in the past.  The new flash helps improve the quality of low-light photos.

The camera has also been upgraded to offer both a “Burst Mode” that can capture ten FPS (frames per second) and a slow-motion video capture capability that functions at 120 FPS in 720p high definition.  Both new features are easy to access and use, as they are integrated parts of the camera software.

Overall Design

The design of the iPhone 5S is not much different from that of the previous incarnation, the iPhone 5.  The 5S still employs a high-grade aluminum back and cut, chamfered edging.  The new iPhone 5S doesn’t look much different, but it has very different capabilities.  It is also going to be offered in different colors than previous versions, including “space gray,” white with silver accents and the all-new gold option with white accents.

Talk Time and Battery Life

Apple insists that the increased processing power won’t be a huge drain on your battery.  The company claims that the iPhone 5S will be capable of up to ten hours of talk time on 3G and about 250 hours of standby time.  You’ll be able to listen to 40 hours of music in playback and have around ten hours of LTE browse time.

Pricing and Availability

The iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C (also unveiled Tuesday) are expected to be available in stores in the US, Canada, France, the UK, China, Australia and others as of September 20th.  Even with the new capabilities, the iPhone 5S will stick with the price point of its predecessor at $199 when purchased with a two-year service agreement.  This applies only to the entry-level 16-gig model.  If you want to get the 32-gig model, it’ll run you $299 and the 64-gig model will be $399 if purchased with a two-year service agreement.

 

 

 
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Anticipation of iOS7

Published on September 8, 2013 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, News

It looks like Apple’s newest version of its popular mobile operating system is ready to face the public, possibly being unveiled at the media event planned for September 10th.  Currently, almost all iPhones and iPads are operating on iOS 6, the last version to be offered from the tech giant.  Users are looking forward to the release of the new system because it means faster processing and new features to play with.

Usage Varies by Device Type

Chitika, an ad network, has recently posted its findings regarding iOS distribution among current iPhone and iPad devices.  They found that iOS 6 is currently installed on approximately 92% of iPhones, with iPads lagging slightly behind at 82%.  The older version of the system, iOS 5, barely accounts for any usage.  It is currently being used on about 13% of iPads, but a paltry 5% for iPhones.  The differential could be due to iOS 6 being a bit more “mobile friendly” than iOS 5 and therefore better for iPhones but not so much better for iPads.

Chitika analyzed data collected on iOS-based ad impressions during the period of August 15 through August 21.  The company states that it analyzed data from “tens of millions” of these impressions in order to have a solid basis for its numbers.  These numbers are pretty much what was expected by Apple ahead of its iOS 7 debut but slightly lower than the numbers found in and identical study carried out in June.  The drop is generally thought to be due to iOS 7 Beta making an impact with developers.

Anticipation Runs High for iOS 7

The next generation of iPhones, being unveiled September 10th, will be pre-loaded with the new iOS 7.  Apple followers also expect the new operating system to be released for use on iPhone 4, 4S and 5 devices at the same time that iOS 7 is unveiled on the next-gen handsets.  This will cause major changes in the distribution of operating systems on the company’s devices as occurred last year when iOS 6 was released.

As previously reported here, iOS 7 is looking at some small changes that make a big difference.  Many users are anticipating the release just so they can get their hands on the new updated features.  Folders, Safari, lock screen accessibility updates and other small tweaks in the system promise to deliver a more user-friendly iOS.  While some fans are disappointed that Siri doesn’t get an update, they are more than happy to explore the differences offered by the new iOS version.

 

 

 
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Amazon’s Free Smartphone?

Published on September 8, 2013 by in Apple, News

Amazon may be in the process of figuring out how to offer their smartphones in a way that could make other smartphone providers (like Apple and Samsung) curl up their toes.  The wildly popular online marketplace is rumored to be making preparations to offer their highly-anticipated smartphone to consumers for a very reasonable price – free!  Amazon has designs on grabbing a valid share of the growing market for smartphones by undercutting the giants in the field.

Forcing Competition

Whether Amazon will actually offer its new smartphone for free remains to be seen.  However, should the company succeed in luring consumers away from other smartphone makers by doing so, it could very well change the whole game in the smartphone field.  If Amazon offers a free device and draws market share from the likes of Apple and Samsung, it would make those companies reevaluate their own pricing structure for their offerings.  Those larger companies might even have to take the drastic action of reducing their process across the board or offering devices for free in order to compete with the online retailer.

Rumors and Speculation

It’s not clear exactly how Amazon would recoup its costs on such a project, but as always, there is ample speculation running rampant online.  Sources close to Amazon have confirmed that the company is considering offering its smartphone for free, but there are also murmurs that the online retailer could require consumers who take them up on the offer to enroll in (and pay for) a loyalty program like Amazon Prime.  The sources have said that Amazon wants to be able to provide free smartphones even for consumers who do not sign up for a wireless contract.  Most wireless providers will provide deeply discounted or free devices when a consumer signs up for a one- or two-year contract when the purchase is made.  The whole point of Amazon’s “free smartphone” plan is to make such restrictions less prohibitive for those who cannot or choose not to sign up for a long-term service contract.  The company has reportedly been in talks with various wireless carriers in an effort to discern which ones might be willing to get the Amazon smartphone into their lineup.

Planning for the Future

While Amazon has not yet tossed its hat into the smartphone ring, it’s highly likely that they will announce their intention to do so at some point in the near future.  With Apple getting ready to roll out the next generation of iPhones and Samsung having just unveiled the Galaxy Note 3, a nudge from Amazon that causes the companies to rethink their price points could prove to be a nightmare in both the near- and long-term outlooks of both tech giants.

No part of the plan is currently carved in stone, but Amazon’s smartphone would probably appear on the Amazon.com site and be offered directly to consumers.  The company still has lots of logistics to work out before they could even begin to offer their version of a smartphone device.  Financial considerations for manufacturers are still being hammered out and the device may or may not be available anytime soon.  There is a lot of speculation among tech bloggers that Amazon even having such a strategy is indicative of how the online retailer plans to get into the smartphone market, and that they are more than willing to undercut the other guys to start making a mark in the field of smartphone devices.

 

 

 
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Apple’s Experimentation with Phablets

Published on September 6, 2013 by in Apple, Rumors

Apple’s Experimentation with Phablets

There has been a definite trend among Apple’s competitors in recent years to provide their users with ever-expanding screens for their smartphones.  Apple’s 4-inch screen for the iPhone looks positively puny in comparison to the offerings from Samsung, HTC and others.  These larger smartphones have earned the moniker “phablet.”  Apple has been conspicuously absent from the phablet arena, but that may be about to change.

Sampling Screen Sizes

Apple may be toying with the idea of giving the iPhone a larger screen, putting it in competition with Samsung’s Galaxy phablets and HTC’s One.  These phablets feature large screens with resolution that rivals that of the iPhone 5’s screen that comes in at just four inches.  The iPhone 5 can also still be held in just one hand, while some phablets have gotten so large that they are uncomfortable to try to hold in one hand for calls or other actions.  Apple purportedly wishes to avoid this problem, and while they’ve been looking at screens ranging up to six inches, it is most likely that the larger screen would still be less than five inches.  The screen size that is reportedly drawing the most attention from the company’s developers appears to be around 4.8 inches, meaning that the larger iPhone would fall somewhere between the size of the Galaxy S4 and that of the HTC One.

How iPhone Might Measure Up

Samsung recently released its Galaxy Note 3 at the Unpacked Episode 2 event in Berlin.  That phablet features a 5.7 inch screen.  The Galaxy Mega could be considered as just a smaller tablet with smartphone capabilities.  It’s huge, sporting a 6.3 inch screen.  Apple won’t cross the line of a five inch screen, though.  Avid followers point to the company’s commitment to keeping one-handed use possible, meaning that Apple is inherently limited in the size increase it could employ on future generations of the iPhone.

No Murmurs for September 10th Event

While Apple is expected to unveil the latest generation of iPhones in just a few days, there has been little-to-no speculation that they will sport larger screens.  Rather, the unveiling of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C is expected to focus on the new biometric security features of the 5S and the lower cost and redesigned case for the 5C.  There is also a lot of speculation that the new iOS 7 will be introduced and discussed in detail.   That’s not to say that the new iPhones won’t have a larger screen, but from what we’ve seen and heard recently, I’d say the chances of such a change are pretty slim during the September 10th media event.

 

 

 

 
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Another Day, Another Leak about iPhone 5S

Published on September 6, 2013 by in Apple, News, Rumors

Another Day, Another Leak about iPhone 5S

We’ve seen lots of leaks regarding Apple’s upcoming media event, where the company is expected to introduce the next generation of its flagship handset, the iPhone.  The latest leak purportedly shows a detailed view of the biometric scanner that may be employed in the iPhone 5S.  The photos show a component that will sit under the Home key of the handset.  It is widely believed to be a fingerprint scanner that will add an additional security layer to the device.

The high-resolution photos popped up online today, published by Australian teen, Sonny Dickson.  The images show hardware with a circular area that would incorporate the actual scanning mechanism within its center.  Lower-quality images were floating around at the beginning of the week, and while the earlier images cannot be matched 100% due to the difference in quality, they do appear to be of the same component.  These new images show the part in much better detail.

Leaked photos from August showed a definite change around the Home button of the purported iPhone 5S and rumors of other internal design changes have been flying through the online grapevine.  This makes sense, as a fingerprint scanner would be much more complex than the traditional Home button mechanism.

Developers who have been working with the Beta version of iOS 7 have found evidence for a “Biometric Kit” within the code, giving credence to speculation that the next generation of iPhones will employ some form for biometric scanning.  Also within the code was a description of an image showing someone being “recognized” by the device after placing their thumb on the Home button.

Rumors of biometric scanning have been circulating since Apple acquired AuthenTec last year.  AuthenTec had been developing semiconductor-based sensors that could detect the ridges and valleys inherent in a fingerprint in enough detail to be used as a security device.  The company had already developed much of the needed technology and had constructed a very small device for biometric identification when Apple acquired them for around $350 million.

With the September 10th media event just around the corner, speculation about Apple’s plans and new devices seems to grow as each day passes.  Today was no different, and I’m sure tomorrow has more tidbits in store.  Stay tuned for the latest news from Apple and keep up on all the latest on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Siri, iOS and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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