iPhone 5S: Evolution or revolution? What to expect

Will the iPhone 5S make history as a completely new device, or is it just an iPhone 5 Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2013 ― Nowadays it is almost inconceivable that a year would pass without Apple releasing at least an incremental revision of its popular iPhone and iPad. Last year, the Cupertino-based company released three iPads: the third and fourth generation of the full sized tablet and the iPad Mini. That kind of blistering release schedule is why most Apple iPhone fans, or smartphone enthusiasts in general, are curious to see what Apple has up its sleeve this year: will it be the iPhone 6? The iPhone 5S? A cheaper (lower cost) device? Stay with us and find out.

NOTE: Please be aware that what we’re describing as the iPhone 5S has not been officially announced by Apple. Every bit of info that we’re going to discuss today comes from various rumors, patent filings and leaked pictures. Nothing is official until Apple says so and therefore we advise you to take everything here with a grain of salt.

Apple iPhone 5S

If we are to look at Apple’s history of releasing smartphones, the biggest chances are that iPhone 6 will only arrive next year, with iPhone 5S to hit store shelves sometime later this year.

iPhone 5S Concept

iPhone 5S Concept. (Unofficial)

The iPhone 3G was a redesigned iPhone. The 3GS, one year later, brought updated internals to the existing model. iPhone 4 brought a new design to the table, while iPhone 4S was, again, only a hardware refresh. And as history usually has a way of repeating itself, this year we’ll most probably witness the release of an iPhone 5S, adding more powerful hardware than last year’s iPhone 5 but with minimal design improvements.

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However, our assumption that Apple will release the iPhone 5S this year is not only based on looking back at the company’s way of doing business but also relies on numerous alleged leaks and rumors that have surfaced during the past several months.

Early last week, several pictures purporting to be the new device surfaced on the Internet, allegedly showing iPhone 5’s and 5S’ display assemblies side by side. Unfortunately, those of you expecting some changes or improvements will be disappointed if this information is true, as the two display assemblies are virtually identical. Only the flex cable that powers and transmits information to the display seems to have gone through some level of redesign.

So it would seem that the front of the iPhone 5S will be almost identical to the previous iPhone (if the leaked images are accurate). But what about the back of the device? As expected, the story repeats itself as several new pics allegedly showing the back of the iPhone 5S (with and without the back panel) are hinting that the smartphone will closely resemble its predecessor. It appears that the logic board is somewhat narrower and features a new layout for connectors and other internals. In addition, it appears that the battery will have a larger capacity, 5.92 Whr as opposed to the current iPhone 5’s 5.45 Whr battery.

Another area in which the iPhone 5S will apparently differ from its predecessor is the camera department,  the LED flash, to be more specific. According to the leaked photos, the iPhone 5S will feature a dual LED flash, confirming earlier rumors. Check out how the upper part of the iPhone 5’s back compares to the one of the iPhone 5S.

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iPhone 5 by Apple

iPhone 5 by Apple.

As some of you might know, it has been rumored that the iPhone 5S will feature a next-gen Apple A7 CPU which would provide a serious boost in processing power. Unfortunately, leaked pics of iPhone 5S’ mainboard show no sign of the A7 processor. This doesn’t mean that the new Apple CPU will not find a home inside the company’s upcoming device. Yet the recent Apple Developers Conference would have been the perfect opportunity to confirm its presence and bring some piece of mind to Apple’s fans. If the A7 fails to materialize inside the 5S, the device will most probably feature the A6X CPU found powering last year’s iPad 4.

Other rumored iPhone 5S specs:

  • A 12MP or 13MP (depending on the rumor) rear-facing camera with better low-light performance and an improved HDR mode.
  • A 2MP front-facing sensor (or FaceTime camera, as Apple calls it), with improved auto-focus in variable lightning and dual shot, a feature also found on Samsung’s Galaxy S4.
  • A fingerprint sensor embedded in the smartphone’s home-button. We wouldn’t place to much faith in this one, however, as the fingerprint sensing technology has been rumored for a couple of years now but has failed to materialize.

Well, this is it folks. Even though we are not exactly sure which hardware internals will power the iPhone 5S, it’s almost unanimously accepted that Apple’s next smartphone will be nearly identical to the iPhone 5 as far as the overall design is concerned.

In case you’re wondering what OS the iPhone 5S will run on, we’re 100% sure it will be the recently announced iOS 7.

Are you interested in Apple’s upcoming iPhone? Would you rather wait for the iPhone 6? Is the iPhone 5S shaping up as a let-down? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.



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Vlad Andrici

Vlad writes about the mobile industry after cutting his teeth on gaming. A technology fan, a telecom and IP engineer in the real world, Vlad made his online debut writing about games as founder and editor of G4games.com from which he has transitioned towards the mobile industry (smartphones and tablets). 

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