The Apple rumor mill has become so proficient that yesterday’s announcement of the iPhone 5S saw little in the way of mind-blowing surprises, but even the most jaded observer would have to acknowledge this is the best iPhone yet. The design is virtually unchanged from the iPhone 5, aside from a new gold-colored option and the addition of a silver ring around the home button (more on that later). Otherwise, the device’s dimensions are the same, as is the 4-inch screen and two-tone aluminum body. It’s priced exactly the same as its predecessor as well: $200, $300 and $400 for the models with 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes of storage, all with a new 2-year contract. What sets the iPhone 5S from the outgoing 5 — as well as the competition — are five new features, which we’ll examine in the following pages.
1. Touch ID
That ring around the home button? It signals the death of swipe to unlock, as the home button now doubles as a fingerprint scanner (what Apple calls “Touch ID”). Simply place your finger on the button — you don’t actually have to push down on it — and just like that, the phone unlocks. It works at any angle, making accessibility to your phone more convenient and secure than ever before. Your fingerprint can also be used to make purchases from the App Store, iBooks and iTunes, and Apple promises that your fingerprint is encrypted and stored on the phone’s chip and never stored online or transmitted. You can also set up Touch ID so that it recognizes up to five fingerprints.