iPhone and iPad

Why The Latest iPhone Announcement Was More Significant Than You Think [Opinion]

James Bruce 13-09-2013

Another underwhelming iPhone was announced Apple Releases iPhone 5s With Touch ID, Faster Processor & New Camera Features As expected, Apple introduced the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c this week. iPhone 5s now comes in two new colors, gold and silver, has a fingerprint identity sensor, and a faster iSight camera. Read More : the same size, the same basic features, and it doesn’t even make your morning cup of coffee yet. Sigh. Despite models in silver and gold, it was all rather lacking in glitz. But here’s what I think: Apple’s playing the long game, and here’s why.



The new A7 processors are 64-bit – and the truth is, it’s going to make literally zero difference to the apps you own today. Simply having a higher number of bits doesn’t automatically make things faster; apps need to be optimised to take advantage of the extra memory bandwidth.You’re probably aware that a 32-bit version of Windows is limited to 4gb of RAM, because that’s the most unique addresses you can get with 32-bits – in exactly the same way that we’re now reaching the maximum number of IP addresses available to internet devices.


When you use 64-bits to address the memory, you could theoretically address 16.8 million terabytes of RAM. That’s a lot of memory. Some phones are already shipping with 2GB; it’s not unreasonable to think that in a few years, we’ll want phones with 8GB, at which point a move to 64-bit will be necessary.And then, Apple will be ready with a full suite of high performance apps, years ahead of the competition.

They’re not launching this to benefit the phone now; they’re launching it to get developers working on the next generation.

Another area to consider is device convergence. The Ubuntu Edge may have failed to achieve it’s rather lofty $32 million goal, but the concept of a plug-and-play full computer system on your mobile phone was simply ahead of it’s time. Let’s get crazy here and suggest that the next iPhone doubles as a desktop system; a powerful 64-bit processor would certainly help there.



Productivity Power-Play

With every new phone, the iWork iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device If you are using your iPad like a laptop computer or notebook, Apple's iOS version of its word processor, Pages ($9.99), is exclusively designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. In its most recent... Read More suite is now bundled free. That’s Keynote, Pages, and Numbers – indisputably the best looking office apps on any mobile device. Getting these apps into the hands of users really shouldn’t be underestimated; Microsoft has a rather poor showing so far with the subscription-based and utterly crippled-on-mobile Office 365. Google Drive is better, but far from good looking and relatively slim features-wise.

Combined with the new iCloud versions of the iWork suite, Apple has a very real chance of capturing the lucrative corporate productivity vote for mobile and web.



Biometric Security is the Future

It’s difficult to gauge yet if the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s is a gimmick or serious security device; we won’t know until we can actually test one, so for now we have to assume it’s actually good.


What we do know is that the data generated is handled correctly:

Though there are a various techniques to fool a fingerprint scanner, a two-factor authentication – already in use by many services such as Google – is particularly effective. The two factor would rely upon one piece of security that you “have” (like a PIN code), and one that you “are” (your fingerprint).


In these troubled times of increased surveillance Can You Really Be Anonymous Online? We all have things we'd rather not tell the world about. I think it's time we clear up a few things about anonymity online -- and answer once and for all, whether it's really possible. Read More , it’s not unreasonable to expect that all phones will soon incorporate these kind of security systems. So again – although the fingerprint sensor may seem like a gimmick right now, there’s every possibility that it will end up an industry standard for mobiles, and it’s a good thing for everyone that Apple is leading the way.

C Doesn’t Stand For Cheap

It more than likely stands for “colourful”, or nothing at all. There was a widespread belief that one of the new iPhone models would be targeting the lower end of the market, helping to get Apple a foothold in places like India or China.


That’s insane, and hasn’t ever been the Apple way – they don’t produce cut-price laptops, why would they do the same with phones? Apple products have and most likely always will be unapologetically aimed at the premium or mid-range end of the market. The entire Apple economy relies upon the users having disposable income to spend on iTunes media and the App Store. Financially, there is simply nothing to gain from the low-end market – Android is the standard there, a landscape in which for every legitimate purchase of an app, it’s pirated 9 or more times on average.


In the past, Apple has continued to sell the old model as the “free” alternative on a contract; the 5c and 5s are the first departure from that model, and it may actually work in their favour. On the one hand, the colour models certainly have a specific appeal for the upcoming holiday season, I’m certainly not immune to the desire to buy my loved ones brightly coloured gadgets. But when consumers are faced with a choice of getting the “old” model for $100, or the spanking new gold model with fingerprint sensor and 64 jigglybits for just $100 more, I think we all know which they will choose.

The Bottom Line

No, it wasn’t the most exciting launch Apple has ever seen, though some will appreciate the new 120FPS camera for slow-motion sports shots, and I’m sure the dedicated motion detector chip will be appreciated by fitness fanatics. Though this generation may lack the glamour, it’s laying some very solid foundations and industry firsts that will no doubt set the standard for others to follow (again).

What do you think about the announcement? Will you be buying a 5s or 5c? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.

Related topics: iPhone 5s, Opinion & Polls.

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  1. Chris H
    September 16, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Actually, in a world of overreaching government institutions, it looks like fingerprint authentication is probably the worst idea. At least in the US, it would give yo less protection against the government: http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/09/the-unexpected-result-of-fingerprint-authentication-that-you-cant-take-the-fifth/

    • James B
      September 16, 2013 at 7:25 am

      Using two-factor authentication would mitigate that, presumably.

  2. Pepe
    September 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Is it me or nobody paid much attention to apple giving the iphone 4s for free?
    To me that's big. They're probably wanting to bring as many people as possible to the apple OS and apps, etc. No? I'd say it's comparable to how google got so popular, by giving everything for free.

    • James B
      September 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

      That's fairly common though with new models, so nothing new there.

  3. Raja S
    September 14, 2013 at 2:29 am

    This a good foundation for the next iPhone 6. so am skipping iPhone 5S & going for 6. the sad part is iPhone 5 is discontinued

  4. John P
    September 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    The Russians were first to get something "alive" into space (e.g. Dog/Monkey/etc). Didn't guarantee them squat in terms of getting a man on the moon.
    Dr. Alfred Wang invented and patented Random Access Memory. His company (Wang Laboratories) filed for bankruptcy in the 90's.
    Being first is no guarantee of staying first.
    USRobotics/3Com/Palm had the first (truly useful) popular PDA.

    My point is that to make such a statement which is based purely on speculation is misleading (at best). Anyone that knows anything about this industry also knows that activity in this sector leapfrogs monthly, if not faster. Stating that first to market means leader in the future does a disservice to the readers here.

    • James B
      September 14, 2013 at 6:37 am

      Activity from the phone manufacturers - sure. But app developers are not the same. They already have to deal with thousands of screen sizes and different with Android. Given how amateur Android apps tend to be, migrating Appstore to 64-bit optimized will only widen that gap; Apple developers will be making better, faster apps.

    • John P
      September 15, 2013 at 6:58 am

      I'm not here to start a flame war with an Apple fanboy. Android apps are no more "amateur" than Apple apps. Stating as much only shows your ignorance of the marketplace.

      My point to the author of the article is that he has let his emotional speculations jade his "reporting" (if you can call it that). Developers follow the HW they develop for. When Android goes 64, the developers will follow. Being first doesn't guarantee being best or being most popular (as the majority of sales figures for Apple v Android will tell you).

      To insinuate that going 64 will equal leadership in the marketplace is nothing short of an amateurish W-A-G not worth of the previous articles I've seen on this site.

  5. John P
    September 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    "...in a few years, we’ll want phones with 8GB, at which point a move to 64-bit will be necessary.And then, Apple will be ready with a full suite of high performance apps, years ahead of the competition."

    Seriously? Do you really think that all the other vendors won't be upgrading their devices to support more memory and bigger processors over time?
    The only way that theory works is if Apple builds a freeze ray and knocks off Samsung, HTC, Nokia, LG, etc, etc, etc.

    Not gonna happen...

    • Sebastian S
      September 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Pretty sure the author just meant that seeing as apple are the first phone (to my knowledge) to have a 64-bit cpu developers for iOS will be the first creating apps optimized to this, therefore when most phones have 64bit processors iOS will have the largest bank of apps designed for it.

    • Chinmay S
      September 14, 2013 at 2:33 am

      "The only way that theory works is if Apple builds a freeze ray and knocks off Samsung, HTC, Nokia, LG, etc, etc, etc."
      Apple doesn't needs to knock off Samsung, HTC, Nokia, LG etc..
      You just tell me any one phone of your mentioned brands which is better than iPhone.
      Don't you say Galaxy S4, i already have it and i know that iPhone 5 is better than it.

    • James B
      September 14, 2013 at 6:32 am

      Exactly, as Sebastien said. Sorry, I thought that paragraph was pretty clear but I guess not. My point was basically that by starting now, Apple developers will have the head start.

  6. Joseph Z
    September 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    The fingerprint scanner is a nice 'toy'. As it stands now, my understanding is that the law can compel you to give up something you have but not something you know. A pin would be something that you could refuse to provide on the grounds of self-incrimination, a fingerprint (or key) must be provided otherwise you would face contempt charges.

    So until the law changes and the NSA gets what they want (or threatens you with assisting terrorists) , maybe we should not use this two-factor authentication to protect our privacy.

    • James B
      September 14, 2013 at 6:39 am

      Two factor means using both, simultaneously. It will always be preferential to just one method or the other (though iPhone 5s will not feature two factor authentication at launch, I'm just speculating there).

      I think its too early to call the scanner a toy though.

  7. Abhishek R
    September 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    "C Doesn’t Stand For Cheap"

    woooooooo man just wait, it is cheap and a cunning move from apple to push the sale of iphone 5s. why would any one in the world (except fanboys ) would ever buy 5c, it is not premiun and cannot be recognised easily and its still same the price as iphone 5 would have cost after price drop. So as a matter of common sense every one would spend some more money and would go for iphone 5s

    "Biometric Security is the Future"

    well what can i say just wait for some time and you would see yourself how hackproof are apple phones.

    and for the rest of two they are absolutely good moove and well appreciated.

  8. HY Kok
    September 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Biometric security is not the future. Let's hope user who lost their iPhone, doesn't lose their fingers too. clip..clip..

    • James B
      September 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      You're suggestion a petty phone thief would go to the length of cutting off a finger? Oooook. Well, I guess that's one argument for two-factor authentication.

    • Andy S.
      September 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      The fingerprint scanning technology that the iPhone 5S uses doesn't scan the surface of the finger, it scans subdermal layers using RF. This means that it has to be a real, living finger, or it won't work. A fake won't do, nor will a severed digit.

    • Andy S.
      September 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      You sort of blew the explanation of two-factor authentication. It's commonly described as "something you have and something you know." The PIN would be the part that you know, the fingerprint would be the thing that you have (just as for Google's 2FA, the thing that you have is your phone, and the thing that you know is your password).

  9. Jasmin
    September 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Good one, that.

    Never fail to amaze me with your articles, well said in her and makes a perfect sense. KUDOS.

  10. Richard S
    September 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Also, don't forget, the resale value on a newly outdated iPhone is really high....since the iPhone 5 is now discontinued, it will be even higher! Since the only way to get the black iPhone will be to spend even more money now. I have ALWAYS bought new iPhones every year, day or week of release and profited on my sale of the previous model. This is where the american telecom system of subsidized handsets really pays off. I have a line on my account for my father in law that is a dumb phone that is never upgraded. That way I can always alternate my upgrades and get a new iPhone every year. That means every release earns me money when I upgrade...so why wouldn't I? Even if there were NO new features it would be worth it to have a brand spankin new iPhone!

    • Sebastian S
      September 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Here is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it

    • navanski
      September 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Your logic for the upgrade is just ludicrous but if it allows you to justify spending in the region of EUR 500 per annum on a phone then go ahead and keep on fooling yourself.

  11. slobodan zekic
    September 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    nice :) give me one pleasa :)

  12. steve
    September 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Just a small point - if it fails to recognise your fingerprint it the defaults to access via a pin # - so no change there, but it may encourage the unwary to do away with a pin# assuming a fingerprint is sufficient.

    • Richard S
      September 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I think what it will actually do is encourage people, like myself, to use a harder to figure out, alpha numeric password as a fall back, instead of a simple 4 digit pin. Since you only have to enter it on the rare occasion you can't use your finger...or if someone else needs to access your phone.

  13. Cody
    September 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    There was nothing wrong with the announcement, but the lack of innovation is scary for Apple investors.

    It's just another phone. Better camera, faster, a new gadget! Just like every Android piece. If you like Android over iOS there are zero things here that will change your mind. And Apple is losing this battle slowly over time.

    I suppose there will always be fan boys out there who will get their iPhones, but I doubt Apple wants to limit themselves to that market. They simply are just 'another phone', and that's not their business model.

    • Richard S
      September 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Don't forget tho...this is an S model...they only really upgrade the iPhone every other year. S is the interim model. This is actually the biggest improvement on an S model we've every actually seen. The 3GS came with a faster CPU/GPU, better camera. The 4S came with a faster CPU/GPU and Siri and better camera....this new model comes with a faster, more efficient CPU/GPU, fingerprint scanner (a big addition) and a better camera, So based on the past, this is the best S update we've seen and well worth the purchase!