Besides its alleged fingerprint sensor and slow-motion camera, the upcoming iPhone 5S from Apple won't look too different from its predecessor, the iPhone 5, when it sees its release date next month. But what the iPhone 5S may lack in substance could be made up in style, which is why Apple will reportedly release the iPhone 5S in a third color option besides black and white: Gold.
At first, the thought of Apple releasing a gold iPhone 5S may seem confusing, or ridiculous, or unnecessary. But when you dig deeper, and especially when you consider Apple’s other iPhone offerings set to release this year as well, a gold iPhone 5S makes a great deal of sense.
First, for those who don’t know, this year will reportedly be the first year Apple chooses to release two new iPhone models in the same year, including the iPhone 5S, and a cheaper-made version of the iPhone 5, allegedly called iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, or just “iPhone.” This budget iPhone 5, however, won’t be the low-end of the iPhone spectrum, but rather a mid-tier offering; the lowest tier iPhone will reportedly be the iPhone 4S from 2011, while the iPhone 5 may actually be discontinued and replaced with the budget iPhone.
It makes more sense when you map it out:
If iPhone 4S is Apple’s low-tier iPhone offering:
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- 3.5-inch screen
- A5 processor
- 8-megapixel camera
- 16 GB capacity
- $0 to $200 (off-contract)
- Two color options
If iPhone 5C is Apple’s mid-tier iPhone release:
- 4-inch screen
- A6 processor
- 8-megapixel camera
- 12, 32, 64 GB capacities
- New plastic enclosure
- $350 to $450 (off contract)
- Five color options
If the iPhone 5C is essentially last year’s iPhone 5 but released in multiple covers, Apple needs another reason to differentiate its highest-end iPhone. Offering a snazzy new color such as gold, which is the most popular after-market color adjustment among iPhone users, could certainly be a great selling point. Plus, gold iPhones tend to perform very well in China and India, which are two markets that Apple specifically and desperately wants to penetrate.
When you add the “gold option” to the list of iPhone 5S features, here’s what you have, assuming the iPhone 5S is Apple’s high-end iPhone release:
- 4-inch screen
- New A7 processor
- New 12-megapixel camera with slow-motion effects
- New 32, 64 and 128 GB capacities
- Integrated fingerprint sensor for security
- $600 to $700 (off-contract)
- Exclusive gold color option
Did you notice the iPhone 5S’ new storage capacity option listed at 128 GB? Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has frequently offered accurate information about future Apple products, said Apple will discontinue the 16 GB storage option and double the current maximum 64 GB storage capacity to 128 GB. Kuo did not say if the gold color option would be exclusive with the 128 GB iPhone 5S.
But while the increased storage capacity in the iPhone 5S is worth noting, the decision to introduce a new gold iPhone is vastly more interesting, even if the gold color looks more like “champagne,” as several sources have said. The decision is not subtle, and it definitely makes one wonder if Steve Jobs would’ve ever been behind this decision.
However, Apple can defend its decision to release a gold iPhone 5S in several ways. Since the iPhone 5S isn’t that much different or improved than the iPhone 5 (and, by proxy, the iPhone 5C), colors may be the key differentiator for consumers. The iPhone 5C will reportedly release in five playful colors including white, green, blue, red and yellow, so adding a single color for the high-end line-up seems like a decent compromise for iPhone 5S owners. If the rumors are true, Apple’s iPhone 5S lineup would be available in slate, silver and gold, which makes sense if you consider those three colors as “luxury” colors compared to the “fun” colors of the iPhone 5C. Plus, Apple would again be able to advertise its California affiliation with the iPhone 5S via its "Designed by Apple in California" campaign, as California is and will always be "the Golden State."
Apple iPhone 5S Release Date Coming: What Features To Expect
Besides the new gold color, the iPhone 5S is expected to look almost identical to the iPhone 5, but with a number of enhanced specs and new features for the camera and home button. In late June, Apple rumors site MacRumors posted alleged photos of the alleged iPhone 5S, which revealed a nameless Apple-built CPU that appears to be a new A7 chip rather than a modification of the A6 chip currently featured in the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5S logic board is slightly narrower than the iPhone 5’s logic board in order to make room for new components and connectors, and the 5.45 Whr lithium-ion polymer battery in the iPhone 5 also looks to be upgraded to a 3.8-volt battery with a capacity of 5.92 Whr in the iPhone 5S.
Apple has reportedly made some major enhancements to the camera in the iPhone 5S. Whereas the iPhone 5 featured an 8-megapixel camera with a singular circular flash module, rumors say the iPhone 5S will release with a new 12-megapixel rear camera and a new pill-shaped dual-LED flash. Both of these new camera features in the iPhone 5S are said to be vital to the inclusion of a new feature called "Mogul," which was discovered in code embedded within the latest beta release of iOS 7. Since the new "Mogul" feature won't activate on the iPhone 5 due to "unsupported hardware," it looks like Mogul will be an exclusive feature of the iPhone 5S in the same way Siri was previously exclusive to the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5S “Mogul” feature, according to 9to5Mac’s “analysis and testing of the code,” will allow the iPhone 5S to capture video at “an exceptionally fast and precise rate,” indicating a potential recording rate of 120 frames-per-second. With such a fast frame rate, it seems like the Mogul feature in the iPhone 5S will support slow-motion video, since slow-motion effects require frames to be captured at a fast rate that appear slowed down when the video is replayed at a standard speed. With a presumably enhanced camera -- the iPhone hasn’t received a camera upgrade since the release of the iPhone 4S -- this additional Mogul feature should give the iPhone 5S the “cool factor” it desperately needs when it sees its release date next month.
Mogul won’t be the only “cool factor” in the iPhone 5S, however; the showstopper of the iPhone 5S is said to be its fingerprint sensor, which is the technology that caused Apple to urgently acquire Florida-based AuthenTec last July. At just 3mm high and 1.3mm thick, AuthenTec's first Smart Sensor, which was announced in May (right around the time Apple upped its efforts to buy the company) crams a 500 ppi, 192x8 pixel detection matrix and all the fingerprint matching technology necessary to accurately and securely detect and encrypt data about your finger. Furthermore, AuthenTec's "anti-spoofing technology" ensures that only real fingerprints are read by measuring the unique properties of the skin on your finger and translating those traits into digital data that's then compared with the "expected [fingerprint] properties." Many believe Apple’s plan is to release the iPhone 5S with the Smart Sensor embedded directly in the iPhone’s signature home button.
The fingerprint sensor may allow the iPhone 5S to automatically authenticate one’s identity, possibly negating the need to input personal data on one’s phone again and again, or even the need to remember a passcode combination. Patently Apple offers a fantastic description of how this biometric fingerprint technology in the iPhone 5S could enhance iPhone activities like e-commerce.
Regarding the release date of the iPhone 5S, we expect the iPhone 5 successor to release on Sept. 27, which will be a week after the release date of the budget iPhone 5C, a week and two days after the release date of iOS 7, and roughly two and a half weeks after its Sept. 10 unveiling date.
What do you think of the iPhone 5S? Would you purchase a gold iPhone 5S? Would you rather buy an iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.