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The iPhone 5S – a new ‘gold standard’

The iPhone 5S As predicted the new iPhone has a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home key. ©Apple Inc

The iPhone 5S
As predicted the new iPhone has a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home key.
©Apple Inc

(Relaxnews) – Apple’s latest flagship device offers 64-bit processing, a fingerprint scanner, and a new chip specifically for motion and fitness tracking.

Described by Apple during its specially convened launch event on Tuesday as “the world’s first and only 64-bit smartphone” thanks to its all-new A7 processor, the iPhone 5S is, in Phil Schiller’s words “the gold standard.” And the company’s head of marketing intended the pun as the new diamond chamfered handset will be available in Gold, Silver and “space grey.

And while the announcement of a 64-bit chip whipped the assembled crowd of tech journalists into a frenzy, what does it mean to normal people? Chiefly that graphics and processing performance will be doubled as it uses desktop architecture.

On its own that would be impressive, but in a move that no one saw coming, Schiller revealed that the A7 chip is also accompanied by an M7 processor aimed at those obsessed with the quantified self. It continuously measures motion data as well as the phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope and compass and it will allow developers to create a whole new generation of health and fitness apps. The processor is so smart it knows the difference between walking, running and driving. This contextual awareness sounds very similar to that found inside Google’s latest phone, the Moto X.

The first app looks like it will be developed in partnership with Nike which has been helping Apple test the processor with an app that counts a user’s strides and other movements through the day.

Proving that the phone is a new device in every way, the battery life is far superior to that of the current flagship, capable of playing 40 hours of music between charges or 10 hours of wifi browsing.

Camera specs have also had a serious workout in part thanks to the leaps and bounds that Nokia has made in this field with its incredible imaging technology. But as usual with Apple, all of the new features, from image stabilization to a dual color flash are designed to work in the background so that its users can “just take pictures.”

But of course the big news and the feature that was widely expected was the inclusion of afingerprint sensor. Called Touch ID, the biometric scanner is a concerted attempt by Apple to help its customers protect the increasingly valuable contents of their smartphones.

The problem, according to Schiller, is that the current best protection, the passcode or password, is often not up to the task. “A passcode…some people find it too cumbersome. In our research about half of smartphone customers do not set up a passcode on their device, and they really, really should.”

Capable of scanning at a resolution of 500ppi and able to read sub-epidermal skin layers, the reader is embedded in the home key under a layer of sapphire glass for the best possible protection; it means that iPhone 5S owners will simply have to touch the home key to unlock their phone or to prove their identity when logging into Apple services or making an iTunes or app purchase.

The iPhone 5S will come with a range of leather cases and will hit the shelves in the US, UK and China on September 20 but will be available for pre-order on September 13. In the US at least it will be priced at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB and $399 for the 64GB model with a contract.

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