Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

iPhone 5S disappoints with poor upgrades

The iPhone has returned this year with two new models: the iPhone 5S and 5C. Keeping with tradition, Apple has only slightly upgraded this year’s iteration of the iPhone. The new version has only added another gimmicky new feature to attract the masses.

The first major upgrade that Apple has provided the iPhone with since the iPhone 3G is the the A7-64 bit processor. The iPhone 5S is the first phone ever to feature a processor with a 64-bit architecture, which is an impressive feat. Since the A7 processor is of Apple’s own making there’s no way to know how much better or worse it is than last year’s A6 processor. The new processor will provide improvements but how much of an improvement it will be remains to be seen.

Apple hasn’t announced how much RAM the 5S will have. Previously the iPhone has had only 1GB of RAM. It is unlikely that Apple will start shipping the 5S with more than 4GB of RAM because of the strain on the battery, which would not be able to keep that phone running for more than 6 hours under those conditions.

What does this all mean? The only real reason to move to a 64-bit architecture without more than 4GB of RAM is to use power more efficiently. That in turn shows that Apple realizes their OS was draining battery and cutting down usage time. This is reflected by the 5S’s standby time of 250 hours, compared to Samsung’s Galaxy S3’s standby time of 370 hours.

The apps for the iPhone will not be improving with the release of the iPhone 5s. Developers won’t start exclusively building for 64 bit structures because all other phones, including past iPhones, have a 32 bit structure. The 64-bit processor is only good on paper. In practice, it provides little more than some minor improvements to battery life which is still below par compared to other phones.

In other gimmicks, Apple has decided that its customers need the ultimate in security: a fingerprint scanner. This new technology is likely less secure than a password.  How effective will it actually be at reading fingerprints? It could be another “face-unlock” situation where the system can’t distinguish between two fingerprints  and consequently unlocks for anyone.

The 5S also comes touting Apple’s newest mobile OS: iOS 7. Among the newest features are the command center, notification center and multitasking. Android has had these features for at least the last four years.

The 5C is a more minimalistic version of the 5S. It does not come with a fingerprint scanner, aluminum body or the new A7 64 bit processor. The tradeoff here is for the price as the 5C costs substantially less than the 5S.

The 5S offers nothing new aside from cheap parlor tricks and theoretically upgraded hardware. Aside from all of these gripes, the worst thing about the 5S is that it doesn’t come in black. Everyone should do themselves and their wallets a favor by staying away from yet another overhyped iPhone from Apple.

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iPhone 5S disappoints with poor upgrades