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15 iPhone 5S Features You’ll Actually Care About

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The iPhone 5S is official and while it looks like the iPhone 5, there is a brand new iPhone under the hood and there are a lot of new iPhone 5S features that iPhone users can look forward to when the iPhone 5S release date arrives later this month.

Apple announced a collection of new iPhone 5S features and over 200 iOS 7 features at the special event today in California, but without a live stream it was easy for potential iPhone 5S buyers to miss the new iPhone 5S features they actually care about. Many of these are iPhone 5S features not found on the now discontinued iPhone 5.

Read: iPhone 5S Release Date Confirmed in U.S.

The iPhone 5S puts a big emphasis on performance, on the new camera and on security with a fingerprint sensor built-in to the home button and a few other nice little additions to the new iPhone.

15 iPhone 5S Features You’ll Actually Use

Here are the best iPhone 5S features.

Here are the best iPhone 5S features.

iPhone 5S Fingerprint Sensor

The iPhone 5S comes with a built-in fingerprint sensor underneath the home button. The iPhone 5S home button is still a clickable button that offers access to Siri, the home screen and multitasking, but placing your finger on it will also unlock the iPhone with your Touch ID.

The iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor secures the iPhone with your fingerprint.

The iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor secures the iPhone with your fingerprint.

A stainless steel ring surrounds the Sapphire covered home screen. This ring detects when a finger touches it and will wake up iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor so it can read your fingerprint and unlock the iPhone 5S. This is unique to the iPhone 5S, and not something that will come to any previous iPhones with the iOS 7 update.

Apple does not upload the fingerprint to it’s servers and does not currently let third-party apps use the fingerprint.

New iPhone 5S Color Option

Apple just added a new iPhone 5S color option with the Gold iPhone. This is the third iPhone color for Apple, and it is only available on the iPhone 5S.

Apple is selling an iPhone 5S in gold for the first time.

Apple is selling an iPhone 5S in gold for the first time.

iPhone buyers looking for more colors will need to look at the iPhone 5C, which comes in five vibrant color choices. Unlike most Android phones, the gold iPhone 5S should come to every carrier that sells the iPhone 5S.

Better iPhone Camera All Around

The iPhone 5S still uses an 8MP sensor inside the iPhone 5S, but it is an improvement from the iPhone 5′s camera thanks to bigger pixels. The iPhone 5S camera also uses a f/2.2 aperture which combined with the bigger pixels lets more light in.

The new iPhone 5S camera offers better looking photos thanks to a bigger aperture and bigger pixels.

The new iPhone 5S camera offers better looking photos thanks to a bigger aperture and bigger pixels.

This means users can take better looking photos with the new iPhone. Specifically, the iPhone 5S should be able to take better low light photos, which is a pain point for most smartphone cameras.

Better Gaming on the iPhone

Apple is making a major play for mobile gaming with the iPhone 5S and iOS 7. The iPhone 5S features a new processor that supports OpenGL ES 3.0, which is a fancy way of saying it can handle stunning visuals that used to be limited to computers.

Infinity Blade 3 arrives with the iPhone 5S, taking advantage of the improved graphics performance.

Infinity Blade 3 arrives with the iPhone 5S, taking advantage of the improved graphics performance.

For example, games on the iPhone 5S will be able to deliver more realistic shadows and textures and in game environments can have sun reflect off water. Apple also claims the iPhone 5S processor can deliver twice the graphics performance of the iPhone 5.

Better iPhone Battery Life

The iPhone 5S is the same size as the iPhone 5, but Apple claims the iPhone 5S battery life is going to be better than the iPhone 5. Apple’s claims are typically spot on, though users will see different results with mixing usage on the iPhone 5S.

The iPhone 5S is no thicker, but it boasts better battery life.

The iPhone 5S is no thicker, but it boasts better battery life.

Apple claims two hours of longer LTE browsing, or two hours of longer 3G talk time and 25 more hours of standby time on the iPhone 5S. This is all while using a better processor with more power.

Apple A7 Processor

The Apple A7 processor is brand new for the iPhone 5S, delivering the boost in graphics as well as a speed boost in CPU of up to two times the iPhone 5 to deliver a better user experience.

The iPhone 5S is powered by a new 64-bit Apple A7 processor.

The iPhone 5S is powered by a new 64-bit Apple A7 processor.

The Apple A7 processor is a 64-bit processor, which Apple claims is a first for smartphones. iOS 7 is written specifically to take advantage of the power of this new chip. Even users that don’t care about iPhone 5S specs, should see a benefit from the new Apple A7 processor.

Slow Motion Video

The iPhone 5S can take slow motion video to make exciting moments just a little more exciting by slowing them down 3X to highlight a suspenseful moment or action.

Take slow motion video on the iPhone 5S.

Take slow motion video on the iPhone 5S.

Users can record the 120 fps video at 720P on the iPhone 5S, a feature that will not come to the iPhone 5 or other devices.

Motion Tracking

The Apple M7 processor is a co-processor with the A7 processor that is designed to gather motion data from iPhone sensors in order to deliver better battery life and smart actions.

The M7 processor helps deliver smart actions based on movement.

The M7 processor helps deliver smart actions based on movement.

The Apple M7 processor knows when you are driving in a car and won’t pop up alerts for open WiFi, automatically switches from driving to walking directions based on your movement and can slow network activity if it senses you are asleep to save battery life.

Official iPhone 5S Cases

Apple is back in the iPhone case game with new premium leather iPhone 5S case options. These iPhone 5S cases will also fit the iPhone 5, and there are already a number of third-party iPhone 5S cases, but many users will appreciate an official iPhone case from Apple.

Apple sells official iPhone 5S cases.

Apple sells official iPhone 5S cases.

The new iPhone 5S cases come in nine color options with a leather outer and a microfiber inner to keep the iPhone 5S safe from falls.

Burst Mode for iPhone 5S Camera

The iPhone 5S camera gains several unique features including burst mode with a boost from the Apple A7 processor. IOS 7 brings burst mode to both the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5, but the 5S has a few extra tricks.

Take 10 photos per second with iPhone 5S burst mode and the iPhone identifies the best photo or photos.

Take 10 photos per second with iPhone 5S burst mode and the iPhone identifies the best photo or photos.

The iPhone 5S can capture 10 frames per second, so holding the shutter button for two seconds takes 20 photos. This is great for capturing action shots. Like modes on Android phones, the iPhone 5S’ A7 processor will automatically identify the best shot then let users save it instead of all of them.

Fitness Tracking

Apple excitedly announced better fitness tracking on the iPhone 5S thanks to the new M7 co-processor. The same processor that helps the iPhone know when to do certain things is tracking your movement and making it available to apps that can track your fitness and health.

The iPhone 5S will work with a new Nike+ Movement app to track your health and fitness.

The iPhone 5S will work with a new Nike+ Movement app to track your health and fitness.

Nike is developing a new Nike+ Movement app that can help users stay active throughout the day to track activities during the day and uses the Nike Fuel points that are already a part of the Nike Fuelband accessory.

Better iPhone 5S Flash

Apple adds a new Dual-LED flash to the iPhone 5S which it calls an intelligent True Tone flash. The iPhone 5S figures out the color temperature of the subject or room in your photo to flash the two LEDs at the right intensity to deliver the best flash for that photo.

Sample showing the benefit of the iPhone 5S' True Tone flash.

Sample showing the benefit of the iPhone 5S’ True Tone flash.

Apple claims this offers over 1,000 combinations of flash colors which will offer better colors, more natural skin tones and it also works for iPhone 5S videos as well.

Better Panorama Photos

The iPhone 5S can also take better panorama photos than the iPhone 5. iPhone 5S owners gain a faster capture at up to 30 frames per second, but that’s not the best part.

Take better looking iPhone panoramas with the iPhone 5S.

Take better looking iPhone panoramas with the iPhone 5S.

The iPhone 5S panorama can use dynamic auto exposure to adjust the exposure of the panoramic photo so there aren’t super dark, or super bright points in the panorama.

Free iPhone Apps

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C both come with free iWork, iPhoto and iMovie apps, which users can also use on their iPad. These apps normally cost $40 in the iTunes App store.

Apple includes $40 worth of iPhone apps free with the iPhone 5S.

Apple includes $40 worth of iPhone apps free with the iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5 users that upgrade to iOS 7 will not get the apps for free, as they are only free on new iOS 7 devices sold after the iPhone 5S release.

Auto Image Stabilization

Rounding out the new iPhone 5S camera features is auto image stabilization. If you’ve ever taken blurry photos thanks to a subject moving or your hand shaking you’ll love this feature.

The iPhone 5S camera will help users take blur free photos.

The iPhone 5S camera will help users take blur free photos.

The iPhone 5S takes four photos at a short exposure time and then combines them into a single photo for a better overall result. The image above speaks to the benefits of auto image stabilization on the iPhone 5S.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

14 Comments

  1. murali

    09/10/2013 at 9:48 pm

    I feel 5s s a good one with the iOS7

  2. Jeremy West

    09/11/2013 at 7:39 am

    6 of the reasons have to do with the camera. Gotta pad the list at all cost, including one’s integrity.
    I’ll pass and anyone with a 4, 4s or 5 should do the same. Next year might be something to get excited about because of an all new design.

    • Zuni Carlton Smith

      09/11/2013 at 9:24 pm

      You’re spot on, mate.

  3. Supermax

    09/11/2013 at 2:41 pm

    Great article! A+++

  4. Zuni Carlton Smith

    09/11/2013 at 9:28 pm

    USA 1 : 0 Korea

  5. Reader/Writer/Blogger

    09/12/2013 at 7:33 am

    Totally bummed the new phones don’t have 128gb HD memory as I’d heard they would. 64gb is nothing to get excited about over the current 32. I can max out another 32 on a 64 in short measure. :(

    Questions for Mr. Josh, please (or anybody w/newer iphones):

    1. As for Fingerprint Scanner & M7, no thanks to tracking, scanning, biometrics, geo-tagging, etc.! What me & mine are doing at any time is no tech gadget’s business. Please tell us ASAP if the scanner & M7-sensor can be turned OFF permanently & never used/activated, ditto Location Services, GEO-tagging, etc.

    2. What is the SAR for 5s? Anyone know yet? The 3Gs had the lowest of all models to date at .79! (4-5 models were 1.11-1.18). Wondering how bad the 5s will be?

    3. Did Apple ever build FOLDERS into the Photo Library/Camera Rolls of the newer iphones/iOS’s? I’m talking the ability for us to create Folders by SUBJECTS/TITLES/PROJECT-NAMES that WE decide/create, & NOT by Apple’s auto-Date/Location “Photo Filing System” (which would be useless for what we need).

    4. Another reason I’ve yet to upgrade from 3Gs v. 3.1+, was due to photos I saw of the “Unified Inbox” (Mail) that came w/ v.4+. No thank you, Apple, leave my mailboxes alone! Is there a way to turn OFF in Settings that insane idea of “Unified Inbox”?

    5. Another reason I never upgraded was due to Apple axing the prior (pre-iOS.4) Excellent Memory Cleaning apps! which are “canNot live without” necessities!! If anyone uses their iphone as a strictly “handheld internet device” for online work 12-16-hrs a day, that sucker’s memory (“ram”) needs to be swiped & emptied 1-2 dozen times a day! & those prior apps did & still do an Excellent job in a few seconds flat. What does Apple expect, for us to do “soft resets” 1-2 dozen times a day instead, just to clean out the “ram” so we can keep going? Horrible stunt they pulled in late 2009 axing those memory swipe apps, so I never upgraded from then until now & continuing. Have they changed their mind since 2009 & allow memory cleaner apps again? Please tell us if you know.
    –(& yes, I see 5s will have 1gb of “ram”; but that’s only double what 3Gs has @524mb, so it’s not that big of an improvement 4-long-tech-years later!)

    6. Did they ever improve the Notes app with a legible font? & Folders? Or is it the same ghastly “magicmarker” font? w/no way to organize Notes-by-Subject/Project?

    Thanks for any info re these things!

    • bwulfe

      09/12/2013 at 12:54 pm

      Most of your location based concerns are quickly addressed via Settings. Your Unified mailbox is an OPTIONAL view within the Mail App. You can choose whether to view ALL inboxes; or back out and choose any individual mailbox you like. I do it all of the time. With the exception of RAM & Storage options; all of your other issues are addressed by iOS 7. You might want to consider watching the video stream of the WWDC 2013 Keynote; where many of the new iOS 7 features were highlighted.

    • Josh

      01/10/2014 at 10:46 am

      Mate the 3GS is a piece of shit.. Wake up

  6. jamesish

    09/12/2013 at 3:22 pm

    Lol, what a joke. The Note 3 and S4 have all these feature and more. What do you want Apple for again? Oh yeh, brand bragging rights. Come on people. Burst mode is just a copy of Drama Shot. A better camera? 8 MP is cheap on Apple’s part. Better Panorama? Lmao. No further comment.

  7. Shyne

    09/15/2013 at 2:12 pm

    Jamesish.. To answer your question about the 8 mp camera on iPhone 5s. Let me tell you that bigger mega pixels don’t necessarily mean you can take better photos. It all depends on the sensor and optics that is put together. If you know a bit about photography you would understand and wouldn’t compare bigger mega pixels with better photo.
    S3 never had better photos than iPhone 5. And we will see when iPhone 5s is compared head on with s4 in the near future.

  8. Casey

    09/17/2013 at 7:30 pm

    LOL. Apple is boasting over a 8 mp camera, When the Nokia Lumia 1020 HAS A 41 MEGAPIXEL CAMERA. Just saying.

    • Adam

      10/28/2013 at 9:44 pm

      Are you saying Nokia Lumia 1020 has a CAMERA (41MP) better than most of those DSLRs?
      Just asking.

  9. Reader/Writer/Blogger

    09/23/2013 at 12:06 am

    A belated Thanks to bwulfe for answering some of my Qs.

    Have had opportunity since then to see more photos of the ghastly ios7 UI’s “children’s toy.” An insult to aesthetics, beauty, & maturity. No thanks, Apple.

  10. Ken Warren Lagado

    03/02/2014 at 8:20 pm

    Its not lumia, its NOKIA 808 PUREVIEW, and yes it have 41 MP CAMERA. Check this http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/808pureview/specifications/ .

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