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9/10/2013
12:49 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons

Apple's new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c make a lot of advances, but they also left a lot of technology out.



iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s
The Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are exactly what everyone expected to see from Apple at its press event Tuesday. The 5s is a significantly upgraded version of the iPhone 5, while the 5c is a lower-cost model meant to round out Apple's product range. Both include 4-inch Retina displays and improved cameras.

The 5s is the first device to ship from Apple with the company's A7 64-bit processor. It will be sold in three colors (silver, slate and gold), and includes a fingerprint scanner for security. The iPhone 5c is the first iPhone to use plastic in its design since the 3GS, and it comes in five colors (white, pink, blue, green and yellow). Storage options for both range from 16 GB to 64 GB, and pricing ranges from $99 for the cheapest iPhone 5c to $399 for the most expensive iPhone 5s (with a new, two-year contract, of course).

Despite the advancements offered by both devices, Apple continues to leave today's bleeding-edge technology out of the iPhone. Here are a few things missing that are offered by competing products.

--NFC: Near-field communications is a short-range radio technology that has a number of uses. For example, it can be used to automatically pair to Bluetooth devices, or to make mobile tap-and-go payments. Most of today's leading smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One and LG G2, include NFC. Without it, Apple's iPhones will be unable to participate in mobile payment systems. Why Apple has shied away from this standardized technology is a mystery.

[ Learn more about the new iPhones. Read Apple Unveils iPhone 5s, 5c. ]

-- Wireless Charging: Apple continues to ignore wireless charging technology. With it, smartphone owners can place their device on a (plugged-in) charging pad. The pad then uses magnetic induction to pass a charge to the smartphone's battery. It is possible that Apple will leave this alone until it is fully standardized. Right now, three industry groups are groping for supremacy. That said, other smartphone makers, including Samsung, LG and Nokia, are including wireless charging in their devices.

-- HD Screen: Never mind how small the puny 4-inch diagonal display is on the iPhone 5s and 5c, neither screen has the ability to play full HD content. Almost all the new flagship devices announced this year, such as the One, GS4 and G2, have screens with 1920 x 1080 pixels. That makes them able to play the same high-definition content you watch on your television. Apple's iPhones stick to a non-standard 1136 x 640 pixel resolution that is incompatible with even 720p HD content, let alone 1080p.

-- Customization: As with all prior iPhones, there is no way to get inside the iPhone 5s or 5c. That means no support for additional storage in the form of microSD cards, nor a user-replaceable battery. Apple will likely never offer an iPhone with these options. If you like being able to keep a spare battery or extra memory card around, the iPhone is not for you.



iPhone 5c
iPhone 5c
Though the iPhone 5s and 5c don't include every feature under the sun, there's still plenty to like about Apple's latest hardware.

-- Touch ID: The iPhone 5s sets itself apart from the crowd due to its fingerprint sensor and Touch ID software. The Touch ID reads the owner's fingerprint and can be used to unlock the phone as well as authenticate app or music purchases. Too bad Apple isn't letting developers in on the Touch ID action just yet.

-- Choice: Some people like color and some do not. Though other phone makers have been offering color options for years (most notably Nokia), it's a nice gesture on Apple's part to offer five different colors for the iPhone 5c. The white, blue, pink, green and yellow hues picked by Apple may not be on your list of favorites, but it's always nice to have a choice.

-- Advanced Processor: The iPhone 5s has a system-on-a-chip called the A7. The A7 processor, which has an unknown clock speed, is paired with the M7 Motion coprocessor, a second CPU that pays attention to where the iPhone 5s is in time and space (thanks to various sensors). The iPhone 5s also has graphics acceleration and 64-bit computing. The result is a significant upgrade in computing power compared to earlier iPhones. There's no word on how the A7 SoC will run compared to Samsung's 8-core Exynos 5 Octa, but Apple isn't sitting still when it comes to developing the engines that power its mobile devices.

-- Cameras: Both the 5s and 5c have improved cameras. The 5s takes a big step forward with its five-element lens, larger sensor and f/2.2 aperture, while the 5c improves backside illumination for better low-light performance. The 5s makes novel use of a two-tone flash to make sure that skin tones look correct no matter what lighting is at hand.

What do you think? What are the best/worst features of Apple's new devices?

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Aden11
50%
50%
Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/11/2013 | 3:59:21 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons
For iTunes match, you only pay one fix annual fee for all of your music, including music rip directly from CDs, MP3 etc. into your iTunes account. It is a brilliant service and I don't have to worry about buying pricey 64GB iPhone or iPad to access my library.
Shane M. O'Neill
50%
50%
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/11/2013 | 2:37:47 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons
I'm an Android man, but I like how Apple isn't trying to make the iPhone anything more than a great, portable smartphone. Even though I'm a fan of the 5-inch Android phones out there, the screens are bigger than they need to be for a phone. Leave the movie watching and book reading for tablets.

The fingerprint sensor and the new processors are the standouts here. Nothing earth-shattering but enough to raise some eyebrows.
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/11/2013 | 1:42:08 AM
re: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons
"Apple's Match service eliminates the need to store all your music on a device." Except that you have to pay to store songs not purchased through iTunes.
Midnight
50%
50%
Midnight,
User Rank: Guru
9/10/2013 | 11:23:19 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons
Ouch, another real non-event product release that is falling further behind the competition. The product still exists primarily in a closed ecosystem under the mistaken belief that Apple define the technology requirements of the industry, rather than adapting to the larger evolving infrastructures. One of the clearest indicators of where the iphone success or failure is heading can be defined by how third party developers are given or denied the tools to build for a device. A little early for writing on the wall predictions, but definitely it is indications of management problems in the company. Now the ball is in Google and the Asian device maker's court.
Aroper-VEC
50%
50%
Aroper-VEC,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/10/2013 | 9:35:50 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons
I think that what most people need to realize is, if Apple did what everyone else was doing then they wouldn't be Apple.
No NFC? When was the last time you saw anyone use it? Aside from the occasional 7-11, where is this available for mobile payments? Why sacrifice internal space for a hardly used technology?
No micro-SD? Again, if you have THAT much data you should probably comb through it and get rid of the junk. Apple's Match service eliminates the need to store all your music on a device. And, once you've watched a movie, how many times are you realistically going to watch it again. Clean up your data! Also, this slot would consume valuable space for other components.
No gigantic screen? Personally, I wouldn't want a phone with a screen larger than 4.5". I want it to be slim and easily fit in my pocket and not feel like I'm holding a brick to my head to have a conversation - nor should I have to use a BT headset just so that I can avoid the "brick-against-the-head" feeling. I have an iPad 3rd generation. I will watch my movies on its screen; since it is significantly larger than any smartphone. The experience will be more enjoyable and won't kill my vision in the process. Apple's intent with the overall size of the iPhone (lest we have forgotten already) was so that you could operate it with one hand. Who has gigantic hands where they can operate a 6" screen smartphone with one hand?
This is what Apple does. They make products that work, have a cohesive ecosystem, are simple to use, easy to carry, last a long time, and have a large collection of developed applications. They've also said it before (with respect to the iPhone and its size), it is the perfect size and we don't think we can make it any better - not smaller and not larger. So, what are they doing? Just making it better. Go Apple!
goman
50%
50%
goman,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/10/2013 | 9:19:59 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons
One thought comes to mind. . . marginal.
Nice improvement on the fingerprint recognition. Get me excited? Ain't happenin'
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