- POSTED: 18 Sep 2013 15:40
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Come September 20th, the iPhone 5S and 5C will roll out, and while some quibble over cost, the real argument should be, which new iPhone is the best in the hand
Singapore: The stroke of midnight is where magic usually happens, in fairy tales and also in the books of Apple.
Come midnight September 20th, the iPhone 5S and 5C will roll out to the eager and the faithful - some of whom have been waiting in line since news broke on the new devices a week ago.
In Singapore, iPhone pre-orders for those who registered their interest with SingTel, begin later on Wednesday before sales by the major telco begin at 8am on Friday.
While white was THE colour last season for the iPhone 5, there is little doubt that THE colour this time round, with the iPhone 5S, is the champagne gold.
Like the bubbly, it is intoxicating and classy. And that's not just based on looks alone.
Even in the alternate shades of silver and smoky space grey, the iPhone 5S will win over users with what will probably become a firm favourite, and hopefully, a standard in future Apple devices - the Touch ID.
This sets apart the iPhone 5S from all other iPhones as well as other mobile devices.
In the iPhone family, the mark of distinction lies in the steel-rimmed Home button that's colour coordinated with the soft brushed finish on the back and side panels of the iPhone 5S.
But beyond the looks, it is the brains, or in this case - the layers of technology.
Beneath the laser-cut sapphire crystal which users see and will use most, is a touch sensor and a tactile switch, which will 'wake up' the phone and take the user straight to the home screen.
It's nice not to have to pause and key in a code. But the feature is not just for ease of use.
This is also Apple's way of taking care of its users - and you thought that a device-maker would just think of the bottom-line.
"In our research, about half of smartphone customers do not set up a passcode on their device. And they really, really should " said Apple executive, Phil Schiller at the September 10 unveiling of the new iPhones where he introduced Touch ID.
Described by Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing as "a brand new technology to make (phone security) easy and fun to do" the feature requires less than a minute to set up and you don't need to be a rocket scientist either.
It's best to hold the iPhone 5S when just resting your finger on the Home button to have your fingerprint read by the sensor which is quite sensitive.
After a few 'readings' that come with a buzz of confirmation, you'll probably not pay attention to the instructions on what to do to complete setting up your Touch ID - if you're even reading that is, as it's quite fun to watch the sensor taking the imprints.
The sensor is as smart as it is sensitive, being able to take more than one person's imprint - usually the thumb, since users often use that digit on the Home button.
While a key code is still needed, even with a Touch ID, you won't need to key in a code except for an initial set up or when your Touch ID won't work - which could be when your finger is wet, covered in grime or your fingers are clasping something.
Apart from securing the iPhone 5S, your Touch ID also secures your iTunes against purchases, so you really don't have to worry too much if your device is misplaced.
Another feature of the iPhone 5S is the camera function.
While most new mobiles and even cameras, come on the market with greater pixels to draw in consumers, Apple has decided that bigger is better.
It has enhanced the iSight lens giving it a larger aperture that lets more light onto the sensor area that has also been enlarged, creating images that are sharper and brighter.
Part of the improved imaging is also due to Apple's decision to offer larger pixels (1.5 microns) .
What it all translates into, is a very good looking photo. More so, when you take a close up (macro) image.
The iPhone 5S also comes with a new in-built dual flash system that balances colours, especially in low light, and a burst mode when holding down the Home button, to take a series of photos that combine to offer you the best image.
In all, users will find the camera function very forgiving, which means others will also become more forgiving of your photo-taking, especially if blurred images that are too dark or too bright were your past contributions.
Many also like to use the camera on their mobiles to shoot videos, and in the case of the iPhone 5S, the video function now comes with a slow motion mode.
Forget about capturing that moment when that person you dislike trips on a carpet - unless it was planned - because you'll need to slide to choose (another new feature) Slow-Mo over video and photo.
Still, there's no doubt that the slow motion function will find favour, especially in sports coaching (try it at golf and discover why you slice that shot) and by developers who are most likely adapting it already into some fun apps.
The new iSight and Touch ID are the main pair of functions in the iPhone 5S that makes it a very attractive phone to have.
Unfortunately, these functions are missing in the iPhone 5C.
Many have dissed the iPhone 5C as being over-priced, but then again, who had said that C would be equal to cheap? Certainly not Apple.
Is the iPhone 5C another incarnation of the iPhone 5? Maybe.
But if the iPhone 5C has to be compared to another iPhone, it should be to the first-born.
Perhaps someone was in the mood for some Apple retro, as the iPhone 5C's body and finish is similar in feel to the iPhone 3/3S, minus the weight.
It has the slightly rounded back that iPhone 3/3S users will find faintly familiar and was lost when the iPhone 4 came along.
While the cladding of the iPhone 5C is definitely colourful and plastic - it is neither brittle nor flimsy. It also feels good in your hand.
Under the skin, and its steel reinforced frame, the iPhone 5C is similar to the iPhone 5 with the A6 chip as its processor. But somehow, it moves just that little faster and performs with more nip.
And unlike the iPhone 5, this colourful kin offers, like the iPhone 5S, more LTE bandwidth so your mobile will be able to perform in more countries and in Singapore's case, is future-ready.
The camera function though with some of the bells and whistles of the iPhone 5S missing, is still pretty credible, with a burst mode to take several images at once also available but just a little slower. Is the image compromised? Not really.
Both new iPhones come with the latest iOS 7.
But then again, you could also backup your iPhone 5 before downloading the new operating system that's available free this week.
You could certainly do more with the new iPhones as both offer a longer battery life - in fact, the phones needed a recharge only after a week of my normal use - something the iPhone 5 won't offer.
Both new iPhones also come with Apple's new offering of phone cases - silicone for the iPhone 5C and leather, with a similar but richer feel to the ones used for the iPad covers, for the iPhone 5S.
And here, is where my main dislike for the new iPhones come in.
Trivial as it may seem to some, since it is dressing for the iPhone (but is dressing ever just a minor detail?), the leather case is terribly unfriendly to use on the iPhone, be it the 5S or 5.
The classy looking leather case is like a pair of tight jeans that slip on nicely and make you look good - but clear the area when you need to peel the pants off.
While the iPhone5/5S will slip easily into the stiff case, it is such a huge struggle to get out the iPhone that fair warning is being given to brace for falling iPhones and the horror of cracked screens.
If at all, I'd buy the silicone case with its cut-out circles on the back, paired with maybe an iPhone 5S - - only because it appeals not just with its good looks, but also its brains.
But then again, the iPhone 5C with its pink accent peeping from the rim of the black silicone case is so attractive and individual.
So the deciding factor could be cost - - based on the mid-range Value Plan by SingTel, for a mid-range (32GB) iPhone 5S, you'd be looking at S$368 versus S$238 for the iPhone 5C.
Of course if you choose the top tier Prestige Plan, then all the phones would be $0, so you could just go with what your heart, or your wardrobe, dictates!