iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5: 5 Things Buyers Need to Know

While nothing is confirmed, Apple is expected to replace the iPhone 5 with a new flagship, the iPhone 5S, sometime later this year. And while the iPhone 5 will be replaced, it remains, and will remain a viable option for consumers even after the arrival of the new iPhone, meaning, it will be a competitor to the iPhone 5S in the eyes of buyers.

Last fall, after months and months of leaks and speculation, Apple delivered the new iPhone 5 alongside its current mobile operating system, iOS 6, the software that the company debuted at WWDC 2012. The iPhone 5 was a landmark iPhone for a number of reasons.

Read: Why You Shouldn’t Buy the iPhone 5S Release Date Hype.

An iPhone 5S will likely compete against the iPhone 5 for attention.

An iPhone 5S will likely compete against the iPhone 5 for attention.

One, it sported a new design comprised out of aluminum and glass, something that came in stark contrast to the plastic and glass of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Two, it came with 4G LTE data speeds, something that had never been available on previous incarnations of the iPhone. And finally, the iPhone 5 debuted with a 4-inch display, larger than any of the previous iPhone displays which historically had been 3.5-inches in size.

Despite aggressive competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 and HTC One, the iPhone 5 remains one of the best smartphone options on the table for consumers, even after Apple replaces it later this year.

Apple is heavily rumored to be replacing the iPhone 5 with a new flagship iPhone, something that is unsurprising given that Apple releases a new iPhone every year. The device isn’t though to be an iPhone 6 with a redesign but rather, an iPhone 5S, an incremental update to the iPhone 5. The device is thought to have a number of upgrades from last year’s iPhone, upgrades that should make it an extremely appealing device to those looking for a new device in the months ahead.

The iPhone 5S won’t however completely replace the iPhone 5 as an option. No, even come September, or whenever Apple releases the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 5 will remain on shopping lists. So what should buyers know about this brewing match up between the old and the new?


Here, we take a look at the five most important things buyers need to know about the upcoming battle between the rumored Phone 5S and the aging iPhone 5.


The iPhone 5S could support Advanced-LTE which would benefit U.S. customers at some point down the road.

The iPhone 5S could support Advanced-LTE which would benefit U.S. customers at some point down the road.

Know this. The iPhone 5S will definitely be faster than the iPhone 5.

Apple’s iPhone pattern suggests that the company will keep the design, offer an upgraded camera, and install a new faster processor inside the next iPhone. The iPhone 5S’ processor has been rumored to be an A6X chip, same as in the iPad 4, or a new A7 CPU that could deliver enhanced performance. Whatever the case may be, look for it to be better than the iPhone 5’s CPU, the A6.


What this means is that the device will likely be snappier when it comes to software and specifically things like multitasking and more importantly, it should be able to better handle games. That’s not all either.

In addition, Apple is rumored to be putting support for Advanced-LTE on its iPhone 5S. And while that might not make a difference at first, will likely make a difference before the end of a two year contract as carriers like Verizon look to upgrade their LTE networks after deployment. As we’ve pointed out, Advanced-LTE allows for download speeds up to 150 Mbps while today’s LTE networks, on average, promise speeds up to around 10 Mbps on the download side.

It’s also possible that we’ll see Apple install the Wi-Fi 802.11ac networking standard on the iPhone 5S. If true, it would mean that the iPhone 5S could have internet speeds that are three times faster than they currently are over Wi-Fi.

With the processor and upgrade to 802.11ac extremely likely, we should see a device that is speedier than the iPhone 5, something that should be exciting for not only power users but those that love to stream content or play games on their iPhone.


Know this. While a redesigned iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S would be exciting, it isn’t likely to happen. But why? Well, history and rumors.

We can’t say for sure what the iPhone 5S will look like but given that Apple has kept a design around for two years and the next iPhone is rumored to be an ‘S’ iPhone, it’s likely that it will have a similar, if not identical design to the iPhone 5. And that’s not a bad thing.

A new Best Buy iPhone 5 deal starts on Memorial Day weekend 2013.

Expect the same design on both devices.

The industrial design of the iPhone 5 is top of the line featuring a frame that is one of the lightest (112 grams) and thinnest (7.1mm) on the market. Yes, Apple would be wise to introduce something to ensure more durability, particularly around its sides where the aluminum shows wear and tear, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Rumors also suggest that Apple will be keeping a similar frame with leaked parts and information suggesting that a redesign is unlikely. So for buyers that hated the design of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S isn’t likely going to be appealing. However, for those that can stomach one of the best smartphone designs in existence, the iPhone 5S should work out perfectly.


Know this. The iPhone 5S camera is likely going to put the iPhone 5 camera to shame.

Rumors suggest a number of things about the iPhone 5S but they all seem to agree on an upgraded camera inside the slim frame of the next iPhone. Whispering suggests a 13MP sensor, possibly from Sony, something that would likely make for better photos and video in noisy environments. Yes, the iPhone 5 camera is good, but there is certainly room for improvement.

The iPhone 5S will more than likely have an upgraded camera.

The iPhone 5S will more than likely have an upgraded camera.

In addition, recently, rumors have pointed to an iPhone 5S possibly coming with some unique software features for the camera. It’s said that it could arrive with slo-mo and 120fps video capture which would be a delight for those that often use their iPhone camera.

While the exact details haven’t been nailed down, Apple typically updates its iPhone camera year-after-year and it’s safe to bet on the iPhone 5S camera being one of the company’s focal and selling points when it arrives later this year.


Know this. Those that aren’t looking to spend a lot of money on their next smartphone will want to heavily consider the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 is and will be a great device for years to come thanks to Apple’s fantastic hardware and its insistence on keeping its software fresh for a number of years down the road. In fact, Apple tends to keep its iPhones updated for three years, case in point, the iPhone 3GS which received iOS 4 when the iPhone 4 came out, iOS 5 when the iPhone 4S came out and iOS 6 when the iPhone 5 came out.

This means that the iPhone 5 will remain a solid buy. So why is this important? It’s important because the iPhone 5 will be much cheaper than the iPhone 5S. Apple will likely start the iPhone 5S at $199.99 on-contract, dropping the iPhone 5 down to $99 or so.

What’s more is that retailers and carriers will likely be selling the iPhone 5 for much cheaper as they look to off-load their stock of the elder iPhone. Buyers who are looking for a deal should look no further than the iPhone 5 which will be a stellar buy at anything below $100.


Know this. The iPhone 5S should have all of the same carriers of the iPhone 5.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are all expected to have the iPhone 5S at launch because they all currently sell the iPhone 5 and below. However, there should be another major carrier involved at launch as well.

The iPhone 5S should have a wide range of carrier options, like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S should have a wide range of carrier options, like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.

U.S. Cellular, earlier this year, announced its intention to carry the iPhone. It did not specify which iPhone it would carry, only that it would carry an iPhone. At this point, given the close proximity of the iPhone 5S launch this fall, it’s likely going to wait to carry the next iPhone.

The nation’s fifth largest carrier won’t be as attractive as the other options for lots of people but there are people that will certainly be interested. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the iPhone 5 arrive as a cheaper alternative to the iPhone 5S.