Apple unveils 64-bit iPhone 5S

New smartphone billed at double the speed of predecessor; iPhone 5C brings lower cost colorful plastic line

As expected, Apple today unveiled two new iterations of the iPhone 5 in a media briefing at its Cupertino, California headquarters. As reported by The Verge, the lower-cost iPhone 5C features colorful plastic cases and a better front-facing camera, while the iPhone 5S will be powered by the A7 CPU, the first-ever 64-bit chip in a smartphone.

The new CPU is the most notable iPhone 5S improvement over the original iPhone 5, but Apple has incorporated a number of other tweaks. As rumored, the phone will feature a fingerprint-reading home button for security purposes. The company is also packing in a "motion coprocessor" called the M7 specifically to monitor the device's accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope. The intent is that apps should be able to access this information to tell if you're walking, driving, or sitting still, and Nike has already embraced it with a Nike+ Move app.

The event also saw the unveiling of Chair Entertainment's Infinity Blade III running on the iPhone 5S. Chair's Donald Mustard appeared on stage to introduce the game and tout the 5S' OpenGL ES 3.0 support. The game will launch alongside the iPhone 5S' retail debut.

Both phones will go up for preorder this Friday, September 13, with the devices launching in nine countries on September 20. This will be the first time China has been included in the initial round of countries to receive a new iPhone model. By the end of the year, Apple expects to have its new iPhones in 100 countries and on 270 carriers.

The iPhone 5S will start at $199 for a 16GB model, while the iPhone 5C in green, white, blue, pink, or yellow will sell for $99 for a 16GB model. The iPhone 5 is being discontinued, but the 8GB iPhone 4S will continue to be offered for free. All of the previous prices are contingent on a new two-year service contract.

In other Apple news, the iOS7 operating system on which the new phones will run is set to debut Septebmer 18. Apple also revealed that it will ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month.

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Latest comments (23)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
The 5S is 40 times faster than original 2007 iPhone. Moore's law is being comprehensively beaten by ARM cores.
It won't take tablets and phones long, with their annual updates, to overtake consoles for power.
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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania4 years ago
Apple embracing GL ES 3.0 so close to its market debut is quite interesting news. At 549$ with no carrier plan, the price point is interesting as well.

Moore's law talks about about transistor count, not performance. Also, given the rate of advancement of mobile technology, they are now at a point where the performance is almost on par with the weaker links of last-gen ( 360, released 2005 ). Chip development time and the form factor make it highly unlikely that they will surpass whatever gen is considered current/ next.

Very little gain in them doing so anyway, for everyone imho.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 10th September 2013 10:12pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ Bruce It's been pretty recently stated that we're about to hit the cap on Moore's law (in less than 10 years, chips will no longer be smaller, or at least it won't be practical to make them any smaller). Smartphones and tablets are just now in 2013 catching up to devices from 2004/2005. It will take them another 8 years to catch up to current consoles, if they ever do. They may never catch up because of the limit to shrinking chip sizes and power consumption concerns.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
One of the next steps in microprocessor architecture will be new materials (i.e. graphene). One of the main issues here is 'cost' given the abundance of elements such as silicon and copper. Economies of scale and manufacturing processes of the future have to come into play at some point however.
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Robert Barrow Information Security Analyst 4 years ago
This phone now has the same GPU as is used in the PS Vita. Having seen, and played, Killzone: Mercenary intensively over the last few days, I think I can say that the boundary between the current gen of consoles (XB360, PS3) and mobiles is well and truly blurred. This is the first game to push lots of complex effects with an engine that has seen little change from it's KZ3 incarnation on the PS3. Of course this is moot now as the next generation are far ahead of this even though they are lagging behind high end PC's by quite a margin.

But I guess the standout feature of this is the 64bit nature of the ARM CPU. Are they ready to head into the server market? Or is the R&D bill being shared with Apple?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
ARM are already in the server market.
Power usage is a key factor in large farms and ARM deliver far more processing power for a given amount of electricity than Intel do.

The ARM Cortex A57 core can be scaled to a 16 core configuration. It looks like the iPhone 5S is only taking advantage of two cores. So there is a considerable mobile power increase available here and now. A tablet with 8 A57 cores would be a powerful beast.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
"One word... Plastics..."

Hopefully that plastic shell is sturdy and can take a few knocks or it'll be something to rant about among those who fall for that cheaper color model. Eh, whatever...
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Rogier Voet IT Consultant 4 years ago
Power is only a benefit if you can harness it properly and people see the value of it.

So tablets and phones are getting more and more powerful, it also means that if you want to make use of that power (better graphics, AI, sound etc). It will increase the cost of making a game for Phones and tablets. The killer question: Will the consumer pay more for a prettier, bigger game? Because the 99 cents model is not sustainable. So I think we will see and increase in prices or more aggressive F2P-models (probably a combination of both).
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
@Robert Barrow

As far as I can tell, the 5S uses the SGX 544 (MP4) whereas the Vita uses the 543 (MP4) like the iPad 3.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
@Nicholas - People have been saying we're about to reach the cap on Moore's law for as long as I can remember. I remember them saying "within ten years" more than ten years ago.

I'm not really interested in the CPU power of my phone, right now I'd prefer they put more effort into researching battery technology to actually keep up so my phone isn't dead within a few hours.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
s far as I can tell, the 5S uses the SGX 544 (MP4)
I dont think the 5XT series is fully GLES3 compliant. 5XT press release. It only supports a subset of gles3 as extensions. Series6 is more likely to be used, if its still PowerVR.

The iPad 4th gen uses the 554MP4, the iPhone5 uses 543MP3. The 544 is used by the Octa-core variant of the Galaxy S4.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
The 5S Sim-free price is £709 for a 64GB model. For a phone that will be obsolete in 12 months. Presumably this is the banker special.
An 8Gb Nexus 4 is currently £159 and in some ways is better.
Even the C model iPhone, with 16 gigabytes is £469. And everyone can see that you have the cheap model.
The iPhone screen is far too small and the market has proven that it is not what customers want. Apple's market share is shrinking and will continue to do so.
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James Boulton Owner, Retro HQ Ltd4 years ago
The biggest advantage in a 64bit chip really is addressing more than 4GB of memory, the iPhone5 has 1GB. So the "64 bittedness" is largely irrelevant. It'll make it a bit quicker with a 64bit data bus, but meh. Plus they'll still be using the 32bit ABI for compatibility with existing software. Also other comments I've read about PC's taking years to move to x64 and Apple doing it in one day is total bollocks. Moving to the 64bit ABI has been the main issue with PC's.

So, yet again, another small step forwards in CPU and GPU performance and yet another "must have" upgrade for the discerning idiot.

Sorry, rant over. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Boulton on 11th September 2013 10:01am

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
Moving to the 64bit ABI has been the main issue with PC's.
Apple is expert at switching architectures. [68K-> PPC -> x86 - x64] By the time they'll have a device actually requiring that address space, the software will be well tested, applications abundant (it is requirement to be at least compatible with the latest model for app submission).

Comparing that with PCs (assuming you mean PC as Windows ones) - it has been an issue mainly for Microsoft, and the issue was the lack of drivers. X64 Windows can run 32bit apps just fine. Except most DRMs ;) ( until they did not have 64bit drivers). Given that there are no 3rd party drivers for iOS, i just cannot see how this will be a problem for Apple considering the locked down nature of the platform. Its going to be a problem for everyone else in 5 years.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Keresztes on 11th September 2013 10:19am

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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 4 years ago
These tablets and phones are still useless devices when it comes to many things. Even if you make them faster you'll still have the single device that does everything worse than a device that's made for it. Maybe they should start addressing the usefulness of these devices instead of making them faster.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
It's hard to tell where mobile gaming ends and Pawlowian classic conditioning for long term microtransaction monetization begins. Apple merely found out how to apply the idea to $600 investments.So be a good dog and hear the steps in the hallway.
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mobile hardware is soon coming to the same problem that desktop and laptop hardware did. It so far surpassed the required needs of the software, that consumers no longer had to upgrade their hardware every 12 to 18 months. I remember the days in which you had to update your desktop every year just to be able to run the latest software being released. Those days are long gone. People are holding on to their desktops and laptops and finding them viable and useful for up to 5 years or even more.
I see the same thing coming for phones, no longer will there be this great need to upgrade every 6 months or a year. Soon it will be every 2 or 3 years, and then perhaps longer.

You see it already starting now, looking at this new Iphone, does anyone really see an urgent need for this new tech?
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports4 years ago
@Todd - spot on! 64 bits doesn't make it a better device for calling and texting. In fact in those terms these mordern devices have actually gone backwards. Remember when your phone was a phone and it could last a week on a single charge?
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Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology4 years ago
The smartphone market is a total racket. Nothing but status symbols. $500 for a phone? A t-el-e-p-h-o-n-e.
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Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media4 years ago
@Bill Garrison And have you seen TV's? That's so damn expensive for a magazine! ;-)
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
ARM suggests that its new Cortex-A57 can offer up to triple the performance of the current top of the line Cortex-A15 for the same amount of battery consumption. The new Cortex-A57 will also offer five times the amount of battery life when running at the same speed as ARM’s current chips, which is excellent news for us smartphone owners.

ARM share price went up on the Apple announcement because analysts expect Apple to move their laptop and desktop machines over to ARM processors.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
There would be absolutely zero use for the parallelism on a tablet. It would be an extreme waste of battery.
That kinda thinking won't advance the industry ;)

I can see the cynicism there but I disagree. Requirements change all the time, plus, if you can get that scale of architecture and that performance for the same price or less as current generation technology, with the same battery life, it won't be a detriment to our products.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
ARM suggests that its new Cortex-A57 can offer up to triple the performance of the current top of the line Cortex-A15
Which means that its theoretical performance (after all, its not even sampling) will be very close to Intel's most recent Atom Z3770.
Z3770 preview.
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