Thumbs Up for the New iPhone 5S, What Else Will Apple Unveil?

3 minute read
Chris Knight avatar


All the latest chatter points to fingerprint or some biometric recognition being the big feature, alongside iOS 7, in an otherwise bland update to the iPhone range. Is that, and the budget iPhone 5C model enough to get anyone excited?

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

The year 2013 will pretty much be known as the one when smartphones topped out in design terms, and features started branching out into the niche and extravagant. We've got phones with massive cameras, phones the size of tablets, phone with big sounding stereo and so on. 

Apple is reportedly bringing to the party biometrics in the form of a fingerprint or other sensor, apparently on the home button. Biometrics isn't new, Some IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad models have had one for years, and it certainly isn't sexy (unless you hold your finger in the middle of the screen and a green laser slides down, while a countdown heralds the end of the world.) 

It is also of questionable security value. Since the iPhone 5S will look pretty much identical to the previous iPhone 5 (apart from the gold model, but who'd buy one of them?) A thief is still likely to swipe your new phone given the chance. Sure, they won't be able to access your data. But the phone is still gone, with all the pain and suffering that a personal theft involves. And since we've had remote "wipe your device" features for some time, it might only save a bit of hassle.

We've seen pictures of Apple documentation mentioning a Touch ID Sensor, there's been references in the iOS 7 code and other indications that this will happen, one less surprise at Apple's big event later today. UPDATE: The Apple Store is now down for its customary event refresh, if the event is being livestreamed, you can view it here on a Mac, iPad, iPhone or use the Apple TV widget. 

What Else Can Apple Offer?

So, we know about the big new iPhone 5S and its less expensive cousin the candy-colored iPhone 5C, all running the bubbly iOS 7. Hopefully we'll find out which regions that will ship to as a sign of Apple's future priorities and growth drivers. But Apple could have plenty of other tricks up its sleeve, aside from the inevitable and rather bland iPad mini and iPad updates. 

Learning Opportunities

For a Start, Apple TV has a new rival in the form of Sony's Vita TV device, and while the recent firmware update added some new features, there's a feeling its time Apple moved this out of the hobby category and into something a bit more aggressive ahead of the fabled iTV HDTV set launch. 

We've also seen Samsung unveil the pragmatic but hardly stellar Galaxy Gear smartwatch this month. Has Apple's own wrist device plan advanced enough for a sneaky unveiling, or - given the lack of leaks - is Apple waiting until it can produce something more impressive?

Finally, there's iOS 7 itself. While the various betas have revealed various features, can Apple pull out some surprise new apps. Perhaps an improved browser in the spirit of Opera's new Coast app, alongside the other tweaked elements, or will it push all-new apps out with the OS to create some buzz besides the pretty new look. 

All will be revealed soon, it starts at 6PM UK/1PM EST/ 10AM Pacific and will be streamed to Mac and iOS devices. Shortly after, analysts and pundits will condemn Apple to a fiery death as the stock price plunges or celebrate them as it rises. Either way, I suspect we'll still all be back here this time next year. 

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