iPhone 5s

Released in mid-September 2013, the iPhone 5s ($99 to $149 from the Apple Store) is a cosmetically minor but internally significant update to the iPhone 5. Featuring the same aluminum and glass design as the iPhone 5, including the same 4″ screen size, dimensions, and weight, the iPhone 5s introduced gold and space gray options to Apple’s product lines, while remaining available in the same white and silver combination as the iPhone 5.

From the outside, the most obvious change was the addition of Touch ID: a fingerprint sensor inside of the iPhone’s Home button. Ringed with metal color-matched to the iPhone 5s’s body, the sapphire-crystal coded fingerprint reader can unlock the screen by matching its scan to 5 distinct fingers, and similarly substitute a scan for a password when making iTunes purchases.

Internally, the iPhone 5s makes significant improvements over the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c in two main categories: processing and cameras. Replacing the iPhone 5’s A6 processor is a new A7 chip with twice the speed, much improved graphics, and a 64-bit architecture. The A7 enabled the iPhone 5s to be the first 64-bit smartphone, capable of enhanced gaming, video processing, and even more advanced apps in the future. It continues to support LTE cellular networks and 802.11n wireless.

The camera system benefitted from an all-new rear 8-megapixel sensor with improved light sensitivity for low-light photography. Also new is a True-Tone flash, a dual-LED flash that increases skin color accuracy when taking photos in the dark. Apple also added a Burst Mode feature to capture 10 photos per second, and a new Slow-Mo video capture mode to take 120FPS video.

As of 2015, the iPhone 5s is in the middle of the iPhone pack in performance, but still the best option available for users with small hands and/or small pockets. Everyone else should give serious consideration to the thinner, faster, and longer-running iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The iPhone 5s is sold only in 16GB and 32GB storage capacities, the former very small. If you’re going to buy this model, we’d strongly advise spending the extra $50 for the 32GB model.

Read our full coverage for details.

All iPhone 5s Generations

Release Date Age
September 20, 2013 1 year, 10 months, 12 days ago

iPhone 5s ▪ July 14

Pixelmator for iPhone and iPad has today been updated to version 2.0.2 bringing even more features to the popular image editor for iOS and Mac. This update adds a new kind of brush stroke called Dynamic Touch, which simulates pressure sensitivity by examining the size of the finger input that touches the screen. Larger surface area produces thicker strokes on the canvas. Similarly, using just the tip of a finger results in fine lines in the app.

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iPhone 5s ▪ July 1

Back when white earbuds dominated the market, Beats by Dre proved that mainstream customers were willing to pay $300 for large wired headphones and nearly $400 for wireless versions — even plasticky, overly bassy ones. The subsequent shift towards big headphones nearly killed makers of premium in-ear models, leading many audio companies to mimic Beats’ formula. But there were holdouts: iconic audio companies including Bowers & Wilkins refused to compromise their materials or change their sonic signatures to match Beats. Instead, B&W offered premium-priced headphones made from premium-quality materials, and let customers pick between plastic Beats or metal and leather alternatives.

Today, Bowers & Wilkins is debuting P5 Wireless ($400), a Bluetooth version of last year’s luxurious P5 Series 2 (and the since-discontinued original P5). Mixing chrome, brushed aluminum, and ultra-soft sheep’s leather, P5 Wireless is virtually indistinguishable from P5 Series 2 apart from its ability to operate with or without a 3.5mm audio cable. Classy in ways that even the top-of-line Beats Pro can’t match, P5 Wireless is the first Bluetooth headphone I would recommend to fans of classic premium audio gear…

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iPhone 5s ▪ June 18

iPhone 5s ▪ June 13

blueLounge isn’t a typical Apple accessory maker. If you look through its 15-year backcatalog of releases, you’ll notice that its products are markedly different from somewhat overlapping alternatives produced by rivals — intensely practical and cleanly-designed, yet sometimes so conceptually minor that they’re hard to review. Take CableDrop and CableDrop Mini, for instance, circular adhesive pads that each do nothing more than hold one cord in a fixed position wherever you want it. I use CableDrop Mini every day with my MacBook Pro’s power cable, but can’t justify a full review of something so utterly basic.

The simultaneous release of two new blueLounge accessories — Portiko ($25) and Pixi ($10) — gives me the rare opportunity to cover one of the company’s minor but practical items alongside one that’s more gadget-like. Portiko (shown above) is a wall- or table-mountable power source attractive enough to put on display between the four devices it can charge at once. It has enough USB and AC power outlets to handle a MacBook, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch at the same time, or other combinations of devices. Pixi is blueLounge’s latest cable management solution, a set of elegantly-built elastic and plastic bands that wrap around bunches of cables, tidying up your desk. Read on for more details and pictures…

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iPhone 5s ▪ June 10

Although Apple originally debuted Continuity in iOS 8, enabling iPhone calls and SMS messages to be received and answered on Macs or iPads, the feature only worked when the iPhone, Macs, and iPads were on the same Wi-Fi network. Today, T-Mobile announced that it is “the only mobile network operator in the world” with support for a new and previously unannounced iOS 9 feature: Continuity support has been added to T-Mobile’s cellular network, so a Mac or iPad can receive an iOS 9 iPhone’s calls even when the iPhone isn’t on the same Wi-Fi network.

This means that “T-Mobile customers will be able to answer that important text message or call on your Mac or iPad even if you left your phone at home,” explained T-Mobile, so “you can leave your phone on your desk and just take your tablet or your Mac to your meeting and never worry about missing anything.” Implicitly, the iPad or Mac would need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network for calls and SMS messages to come through. The feature is active as of the iOS 9 beta, so “customers will need the iOS 9 beta to use the new feature, and it will be available to every T-Mobile customer with an iOS device later this year when iOS 9 is publicly available.” And there’s more…

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With iOS 9, developers can cutoff younger devices in a way that was not previously possible. Although iOS 9 runs on every device that runs iOS 8, app developers are free to specify more restrictive compatibility requirements.

In fact, with iOS 9, developers can choose to make their apps exclude any non-64 bit architecture. This means all iPod touch models, all iPhones before the iPhone 5s and all iPads before the iPad Air will not be able to install apps where developers have required 64-bit CPUs.

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