Tagged: phone

Review: iPhone 5S

Three Apple iPhone 5S phonesI recently upgraded my trusty ol’ iPhone 4S to a shiny, new, space grey iPhone 5S. So far, I couldn’t be happier.

Bright and early Friday morning, my brother and I checked number 26 off of our “Apple Nerds Bucket List.” We stood in line to get the latest iPhone. At 8 a.m., we became the first people at Best Buy (and one of, if not the first people in Kalamazoo) to unbox our fancy new iPhone 5S phones.

Last year, I almost upgraded to the iPhone 5. I liked the idea of LTE and a longer screen, but I was only halfway through my contract and didn’t feel like it was really worth the extra dough to buy the phone at full retail price. I anxiously awaited the next phone, pretty certain I’d be using my upgrade for it. Although many people were disappointed with what was announced, I was able to see past the initial criticism of Apple “not innovating” and was excited to get my hands on the 5S. After all, they just released the first phone with a 64 bit chip and it has a fingerprint scanner. At first these could just seem like gimmicky features, but they aren’t, and Apple is still innovating. I think everyone just expects them to change entire industries with every launch. That’s a lofty expectation for any company, even Apple.

Leading up to getting my iPhone 5S, I read a lot about how the fingerprint scanner was just a gimmick. It’s not. Touch ID is actually amazing. For much of the time I had my iPhone 4S, I did no protect it with a security code. I knew I should, but having to type in four numbers every time I unlocked my phone was too much of a hassle. Being able to protect my phone and still get into my phone at a moment’s notice with Touch ID has been awesome. In a very Apple-like fashion, it just works. There’s tons of technology there, but to a user it’s extremely simple. Furthermore, being able to authenticate iTunes and App Store purchases with a quick placement of your thumb on the home button is a convenient way to avoid typing your password. My only complaint with Touch ID so far, is that it only works for those two instances. I’d love to see them somehow expand (in some extra secure fashion) this feature to any app. Passwords are the worst part of any app and somehow creating a system key chain that stores them and lets you interact with your fingerprint, would be a huge time saver.

While it’s not a new feature to the 5S (it was introduced on the 5), the larger screen is a welcome addition. I was surprised how much that extra half-inch really improved my experience. I mean, an entire extra row of icons? I’m down with that. The retina display is as beautiful as ever. Despite bigger pixel claims, I haven’t seen another smartphone screen that’s as impressive.

The 64 bit processor is a major upgrade. Technically speaking, users aren’t experiencing its entire power yet. That said, it’s super fast. Nothing seems to lag and the battery life (somewhat surprisingly) doesn’t suffer at all. Maybe that’s thanks to the new M7 co-processor, another great addition to the iPhone 5S.

iPhone photography is stronger than ever. They didn’t go for the ridiculous megapixel counts, but instead concentrated on making the 8 MP sensor even better. I was impressed with the camera on my 4S and I’m even more impressed with the 5S. The new sensor takes super fast photos with lots of color depth. The new flash does a good job evening out color temperature (but if given a choice, I’d still try to shoot a photo without flash). The burst mode is very handy and the slow-mo video capability is outstanding. You can make almost anything look cool in slo-mo. If your iPhone hasn’t replaced your point and shoot by now, this probably will.

The color options for the 5S were a little disappointing. High-end phone users like bright colors too, Apple! I didn’t think the gold would be popular at all, but reports are saying it’s the best-selling model. I decided to turn in my black iPhone 4S for a space grey 5S. It’s the same familiar black front and a decent looking grey panel on the backside. It’s almost always in a case anyway, so I guess colors aren’t a huge deal.

I’ve had my 5S for a while now and I’m still in love with it. It’s a solid phone. It feels good in your hand, it’s well-built and super fast. The battery life is good and the Touch ID is much more useful than you might think. Let the haters hate, but I’m still a big fan of Apple and their iPhones.

Design Find: iOS 7 Concepts

I’m always intrigued by exciting new interface designs, and these iOS 7 concepts by Mohamed Kerroudj are no exception. Kerroudj shows what a dramatic overhaul of the iOS interface could look like. It’s beautifully minmal, but also adds a lot of new functionality. I’m sure Apple will never implement quite this much change (at least all in one OS update), but there are still some great concepts.

I particularly like being able to perform simple functions and manage notifications right on the lock screen. The overall feel is much cleaner and more fresh. It still feels very Apple-like (maybe even more so), while giving iOS that update we’ve all been clamoring for. I hope Apple takes note and incorporates something similar.

Take a look at the videos below, and let me know what your favorite parts are in the comments. Have you seen some great concept videos or images? Share a link, I’d love to see them.