Apple provoked the usual excitement on Tuesday when it unveiled its next flagship iPhone 5S handset.
Before the San Francisco iPhone unveiling there were rumours that Apple wouldn't add much new to its next flagship smartphone, but that it would focus mostly on the cheaper but still not particularly affordable iPhone 5C.
However, Apple revealed that the iPhone 5S will be the world's first 64-bit smartphone, having kept this quiet during the buildup to the smartphone's announcement.
We've never had any complaints about the speed and performance of the iPhone 5, which featured a dual-core 1.3GHz A6 chip, but Apple's new A7 chip based on 64-bit architecture might manage to convince gamers to splash out £550 on an early upgrade, as the firm promises that the new chip will offer "PC-quality" gaming capabilities with the iPhone 5S also boasting OpenGL ES 3.0 support. But it's still unclear how much RAM the iPhone 5S features under the hood, so it's impossible to know if users will be able to use this 64-bit technology to its full potential.
Although we have yet to test the iPhone 5S handset's performance, Epic Games' demo of Infinity Blade III for iOS seemed convincing, and it seems that Apple wants to lead a shift from dedicated consoles to mobile gaming.
Apple has also added Touch ID, its new fingerprint scanning technology, to the iPhone 5S, which is another feature that could help convince Apple fans to upgrade.
Fingerprint scanners are nothing new, but Touch ID shows Apple's aim to up its security game. The new feature will enable users to scan their fingerprint and use it to access their phone, offering an extra layer of protection against a potential data breach due to a lost or stolen device. The Touch ID sensor works by scanning the sub-epidermal fingerprint layers the iPhone owner to verify their identity before unlocking. As a safety measure the user's fingerprint is only stored on the A7 chip and is never uploaded to the cloud.
This feature alone won't convince everyone to splash out for an upgrade, but it shows Apple is looking to convince buyers that its device is more secure than its Android competitors – although we're yet to see whether that is actually the case. It also sees Apple trying to tempt businesses away from Windows Phone and Blackberry devices, although many are likely to be put off by the Apple handset's premium price.
The only other big upgrade found on the iPhone 5S is its camera. While it doesn't look like much of a revamp on paper, Apple boasts that it increased the sensor size by 15 percent, which should let more light and colour into images. It also has a dual-LED flash and a number of new photography tools on board, such as automatic image stablisation, burst mode and a new camera user interface in iOS 7 that enables users to add filters to images.
The upgraded camera looks impressive, but with rival phone makers such as Sony, Samsung and Nokia all bringing out smartphones with improved cameras, Apple is likely to face some tough competition when it comes to winning over budding photographers.
Overall, the iPhone 5S is an impressive upgrade, and despite numerous accurate leaks, the firm still managed to surprise at its unveiling on Tuesday. It's this element of surprise that has us excited about the iPhone 5S smartphone, mainly thanks to that 64-bit chip. But we're not sure that its £550 price warrants an early upgrade from the iPhone 5 – unless you really want a gold smartphone, that is.
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