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Event Coverage

All You Need to Know about the Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C

By Sidney Wong - 11 Sep 2013

A Pair of New Apple iPhones

A Tag-Team Approach

Since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple had always announced one successor until today where it launched two iPhone models - the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. We can't say that the announcement caught us by surprise since leaks and rumors were aplenty in the past few months. Without further ado, let's take a quick look at the specs of the new iPhones and how they stack up against the iPhone 4S and 5:

 The pair of new iPhones.

Specs Comparison
Specifications iPhone 4S iPhone 5 iPhone 5S iPhone 5C
Operating System (At Launch)
  • iOS 5
  • iOS 6
  • iOS 7
  • iOS 7
  • Apple A5 Dual-Core 1GHz
  • Apple A6
  • Apple A7
  •  Apple A6
Built-in Memory
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • 3.5-inch TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen
  • 640 x 960 pixels / 326ppi
  • 4.0-inch TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen, 16:9 style
  • 1,136 x 640 pixels / 326ppi
  • 4.0-inch TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen
  • 1,136 x 640 pixels / 326ppi
  • 4.0-inch TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen
  • 1,136 x 640 pixels / 326ppi
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus /
    LED flash / 1080p HD video
    recording @ 30fps
  • 8-megapixel / BSI / f 2.4
  • HD front-facing
  • 8-megapixel / BSI / F2.2
  • 1.2-megapixel HD FaceTime canera
  • 8-megapixel / BSI / F2.4

  •  1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • 16/32/64GB
  • 16/32/64GB
  • 16/32/64GB
  • 16/32GB
  • 1432mAh
  • 1440mAh
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm
  • 140g
  • 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
  • 112g
  • 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
  • 112g
  • 124.4 x 59.2 x 8.97mm
  • 132g



What's New in the iPhone 5S

The Apple iPhone 5S comes in three colors: silver, space grey and gold.


A7 + M7 Chips

The rumor was right - the iPhone 5S sports the new A7 processor which is based on a 64-bit architecture. Dubbed "the first 64-bit smartphone in the world", the iPhone 5S is stated to deliver up to 2 times the CPU and graphics performance of the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5. The A7 chip supports OpenGL ES version 3.0, which means that game playing on the iPhone 5S will be brought up to the next level with more realistic effects and animations.

Apple still strongly believes in custom-designing its own chips to maximize performance and battery life on its devices. <br> Image source: Apple

Announced alongside the A7 processor is the new M7 chip, which Apple brands as a "motion coprocessor." Described as "a sidekick to the A7 chip", the M7 is designed specifically to track motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. This allows apps such as fitness-centric ones to access data from the M7 without having to engage the A7. The end result is more power efficiency and less battery drain.


Better Imaging

Although the megapixel count remains at 8, Apple made significant strides in its imaging capabilities in both the hardware and software aspects. In a nutshell, the improvements are

  • 15% larger sensor
  • Wider F2.2 aperture
  • True Tone flash (dual LED)
  • Slo-Mo (slow-motion video)
  • Continuous burst mode
  • Live video zoom
  • Auto image stabilization

You can expect better low light performance from the rear camera of the Apple iPhone 5S. <br> Image source: Apple

By increasing the area available for pixels by 15%, the sensor is able to take better images in low-light conditions. Moreover, the pixels are larger at 1.5 microns and there is a wider aperture of F2.2, which leads to an increase of 33% in light sensitivity.

As points of reference, the HTC One has a pixel size of 4 microns while the iPhone 5 and Nokia 808 PureView have pixel size of 1.4 microns. The Lumia 1020 has pixel size of 1.1 micron.

The Apple iPhone 5S is able to capture images with more accurate colors due to its True Tone flash. <br> Image source: Apple

The new flash on the iPhone 5S has two LEDs - one is white and the other is amber. When you activate the flash, it does not fire both LEDs simultaneously. Software algorithms are used to assess the color temperature of the scene, and lets the phone adjust the percentage and intensity of white light versus amber light. Apple claims that there are over 1,000 unique combinations that will give more true-to-life colors for your photos.

 The slo-mot and live video zooming may be minor features, but they certainly improve the overall camera user experience on the Apple iPhone 5S.

The slo-mot feature on the iPhone 5S enables you to capture HD videos at 120fps. This is more of a fun feature than a practical one. Live video zooming  (3X) is also enabled on the iPhone 5S via a pinch-to-zoom gesture.

Differences between having image stabilization and none when taking photos. <br> Image source: Apple

While competing camera phones are starting to incorporate optical image stabilization, Apple opts to include a less effective method - auto image stabilization. It takes four photos with a short exposure time, and combine the best portions of the photos into a single shot with minimal noise, subject motion and hand shake.

Perhaps the biggest hardware upgrade seen on the iPhone 5S is the inclusion of biometric security. Known as Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor is embedded in the home button. There is a stainless steel detection ring around the home button which activates the Touch ID sensor. The sensor is able to scan sub-epidermal skin layers in any orientation.

Touch ID makes it unnecessary for users to set passcodes and enables faster transactions on the iTunes ecosystem without having to key in passwords. <br> Image source: Apple

Apple states that Touch ID can be used to unlock the phone, approve purchases from the iTunes Store, the App Store and the iBooks Store. As an additional security measure, the fingerprint is stored on the device and not backed up or uploaded to the cloud. You can also enroll multiple fingerprints on the device so that people you know or trust can use the phone.


What's New in the iPhone 5C

The Apple iPhone 5C comes in five colors: green, blue, yellow, pink and white.

You can regard the iPhone 5C as the plastic counterpart of the iPhone 5. However, do not assume too quickly that the iPhone 5C is as plasticky as some of the Android phones in the market.

Apple asserts that the iPhone 5C is made up of a hard-coated polycarbonate material which has a steel-reinforced frame to provide structural integrity. The steel frame also doubles as an antenna. As a result, the iPhone 5C is slightly longer, wider, thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5S.

Specs-wise, the iPhone 5C is mostly similar to the iPhone 5 except for a larger battery capacity, a better FaceTime HD camera, a larger 1.9 micron pixel size and improved backside illumination. More importantly, Apple claims that the iPhone 5C supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world. 

Both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C support the two LTE frequency bands used by telcos in Singapore.

Pricing and Availability

You can pre-order the Apple iPhone 5C from Friday, 13 September.

According to Apple, pre-orders for the iPhone 5C will begin this Friday, 13 September, and the phones will go on sale in 9 countries on 20 September. The nine countries are the U.S, U.K, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and Singapore.

This is in line with what our sources told us two weeks ago! Since the launch date is a little over a week from now, we are expecting the telcos to roll out registration of interest for the phones soon!

It is strange that Apple discontinued the iPhone 5, but made the iPhone 4S (8GB) available for consumers to purchase. The iPhone 4S (8GB) is retailing for $588.

Storage Capacity 16GB 32GB 64GB
Apple iPhone 5S $988 $1,148 $1,288
Apple iPhone 5C $848 $988 N.A



iOS 7 Update for Existing iOS Devices

iOS 7 will be available for download on the following devices from 18 September :

  • iPhone 4 and later
  • iPad 2 and later
  • iPad mini
  • iPod touch (fifth generation)

If you want to know more about iOS 7, do check out our articles, "WWDC 2013: What You Need to Know about iOS 7" and "11 Details You Might Have Missed about iOS 7". Before we end off our article, here's a quick look at how the Apple iPhone 5S fares against the flagship devices of its competitors.

  Apple iPhone 5S Sony Xperia Z1 LG G2 HTC Butterfly S Samsung Galaxy S4 Nokia Lumia 1020
Apple A7 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz
Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.9GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.9GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5GHz
Operating System iOS 7 Android 4.2.2 Android 4.2.2 Android 4.2.2 Android 4.2.2 Windows Phone 8
Storage Capacity 16/32/64GB 16GB internal storage
micro-SD support up to 64GB
16GB internal storage 16GB internal storage
micro-SD support up to 64GB
16GB internal storage
micro-SD support up to 64GB
16GB internal storage
Display Size & Resolution 4-inch IPS
1,136 x 640 pixels
5-inch TFT
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
5.2-inch IPS+
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
5-inch Super LCD 3
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
5-inch Super AMOLED
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
4.5-inch AMOLED
1,280 x 768 pixels
Camera 8MP/BSI/F2.2 20.7MP/F2.0/27mm wide angle lens 13MP/OIS 4MP UltraPixel/F2.0 13MP 41MP PureView/Carl Zeiss Tessar Lens
Dimensions & Weight

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

144 x 74 x 8.5mm
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm
144.5 x 70.5 x 10.6mm
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm
130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm


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