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9/27/2013
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Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week

From iOS 7 to battery life, here's what I have noticed while getting to know Apple's iPhone 5s.

10 Epic iOS 7 Tips
10 Epic iOS 7 Tips
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I've spent a week using the Apple iPhone 5s as my primary device. In general, it is a solid effort on Apple's part, but it is not without its faults. Here are some of the strong points and weak points I've observed over the last seven days.

iOS 7 is a bit buggy on the 5s. I've installed iOS 7 on an iPhone 5, an iPad 3, and an iPad Mini. It runs best on the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. On the iPhone 5s, iOS 7 is prone to app crashes. Third-party app crashes aren't too awful, but when native apps such as the Settings Menu and Safari crash, you know something's not right.

The hardware is fine, if unexciting. The 5s is a solid little device. Apple designed it with care and everything about it exudes quality and class. The display is great, even if it is smaller than I'd like, and the small form factor makes it easy to carry around and use.

[ For more on the iPhone 5s and the colorful, less expensive 5c, see Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons. ]

It's not the best voice phone. I've been testing an AT&T model of the iPhone 5s and am not impressed with its phone calls. I heard lots of interference and the earpiece speaker doesn't get quite loud enough. The speakerphone produces plenty of volume, but it also amplifies the interference. The iPhone is a better voice phone.

The battery hasn't given me any trouble. The first few days were a bit iffy, but that's true of most smartphones. Once the battery cycled through a few charges, it settled into a good rhythm. I routinely got a full day out of it, despite heavy use. It's worth noting, though, that the battery cannot be removed or replaced, so you're stuck with what's sealed in the iPhone 5s.

The camera is great. The new software, combined with the improved sensor, go a long way toward making the iPhone 5s one of the best camera phones available. The camera app is simpler to use and includes more features, such as burst mode and slow-motion video capture, and the results are on par with today's best devices. The improved gallery app is far more powerful when it comes to organizing photos, and some of the editing tools are a welcome addition.

iOS 7 is still inflexible. Apple's simple smartphone/tablet user interface may win usability awards, but it is nowhere near as flexible or customizable as Android or even Windows Phone. The inability to control exactly where apps are positioned is frustrating, and the lack of resizable home screen widgets and apps leaves the OS looking too homogenous. I'd love to see some truly dynamic content on the home screen.

Control Center is convenient. Apple's new dashboard for controlling some of the iPhone 5s's features is a big help. It makes simple tasks such as turning on and off the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios a breeze. I also like the fact that it includes controls for the music player as well as apps like the flashlight, calculator, timer, and camera. This is definitely a time saver, considering that it took several steps to reach many of these controls in previous versions of iOS.

There's plenty to like about the 5s, but at the end of the day it offers only a slightly different experience than last year's iPhone 5. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is the biggest difference. The camera and processor improvements in the 5s, though very real, aren't all that much better than the iPhone 5. We can only hope that Apple will make significant changes in next year's iPhone 6.

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Fill,
User Rank: Strategist
9/29/2013 | 10:20:06 AM
re: Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week
I was confused by this (paragraph 4):

"It's not the best voice phone. ... The iPhone is a better voice phone"

Is that a typo, or was that referring to it being a better handheld phone vs. speaker phone?
DougS933
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DougS933,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2013 | 6:01:22 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week
Who cares? It's a phone for God's sake, just like last years..Write about something worth reading....Seriously, who gives a damn other then the idiots who waited in line for days to hand their money over to Apple so they could say, look at me, I got me the newest phone.....freaking joke.....
Andre Richards
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Andre Richards,
User Rank: Strategist
9/28/2013 | 5:35:28 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week
"lack of resizable home screen widgets"

I'm not sure why people complain about this. If you really want that, you can jailbreak your iPhone and go to town.

Widgets may be a convenience, but it creates a mess of the UI and while that may make sense to geeks, average users can be thrown off by it (I've seen it.) The home screen on a smartphone is analogous to your file system browser. It's a space dedicated to manipulating apps and files. I don't understand the complaint that you can't bog that down or muddy it up with running apps. I think something like Mac OS X's Dashboard (i.e., an quick-access dedicated screen where widgets run) would be a better concept and keep things clear. I've owned Android phones and I'm not a fan of these gawky looking widgets running in the file space. It feels very kludgy.
Myslewski
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Myslewski,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2013 | 3:08:00 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week
"We can only hope that Apple will make significant changes in next year's iPhone 6." What changes? Changes for the mere sake of changes? I'm gobsmacked that "change" in and of itself is considered a virtue.
SeanM731
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SeanM731,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2013 | 2:45:26 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week
Is it possible the crashing of apps isn't iOS 7 but apps that haven't been optimized for it yet? I've also had mine a week and only have had one app crash and it's the same one.

And exciting hardware is relative. I had an iPhone 4 for almost three years before upgrading to the 5s. I think the hardware is EXTREMELY exciting coming from there.
greggwith3G
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greggwith3G,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2013 | 1:56:41 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week
Very helpful article! At the end of the fourth paragraph, when you say, "The iPhone is a better voice phone," did you mean the iPhone 5?
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