Since a few days over here (The Netherlands) Apple’s new iPhones are gradually becoming available in the non-Apple stores, like AMac and MediaMarkt. After holding out with my iPhone 4 for 3 years, I gradually became quite frustrated with the loading time of applications like Whatsapp and Twitter, so I decided to jump on the iPhone 5s wagon. Although I originally shopped for the space grey model, the only availbale model was the ‘champagne gold’ one, so I purchased that one. I was a bit afraid that it would be a bit over-the-top but the colors are really very beautiful, which can generally be said when you see and hold the phone. I have been looking at the Galaxy S4, HTC One and LG G2 but personally I think none of its competitors comes close when talking design and use of materials. It is in a league of its own. Because I also purchased one of Apple’s own cases the champagne gold look is regretfully not visible anymore, it’s now more a black cover (case)/white front phone.
After purchasing the first thing to do was to get my data from iPhone 4 to the 5s. It was a painless process. All my data was transfered perfectly. I guessed that part of the transfer process would be that my apps would be transfered, but that was not the case. I solved this by going to the App Store and re-install the necessary apps. I wasn’t too unhappy about that because it allowed me to re-evaluate what apps I wanted to install (over the cause of a number of years, your need for apps is certainly changing, so I could get rid of apps like MSN Messenger ).
I must say that after one week of using I’m not totally friends with Touch ID, Apple’s way of getting access to the phone by registering your fingerprints. While it is a great idea and will save you a lot of swiping, I noticed that my iPhone does a poor job of recognizing my thumb, despite of some re-learning. My index finger is better recognized, although certainly not a 100% score.
The thing you will really love about the iPhone 5s is its sheer, crazy speed. To simply explain this: I fully understand the stories I have read about people who feel motion sick about operating their iPhone.
The second thing I noticed is that Siri has made great improvements, understanding what you ask ‘her’. It is now really easy to do all kinds of more or less complex tasks, my favorite one adding reminders and opening apps. As long as you talk English, Dutch is not supported (yet), I really find Siri becoming an useful tool, despite people who think otherwise.
I have already discussed before iOS7 in a separate review, mentioning it is more of a refinement of previous iOS versions than a radical revolution in OS-land. To me it still remains a double edged sword. I still find it hard believe they killed off all those beautiful design elements (like for example the icons they used for Garageband and Pages) and now we are stuck with some lame ultra basic, flat design decisions. I’m also not too fond about the new keyboard with the small Helvetica Neue font and big white keys (in some cases you are presented with a keyboard where those colors are reversed and is much more to my liking). But, on the other hand the OS has become so much slicker and better equipped with functionality that makes live easier. Apple also clearly have put lots of energy to improve apps like Reminders or Voice Memos that are now more a joy to use than before iOS7. In the photo and video department things are now really on par with competitors, for example you have the option to shoot your videos in slow motion.
So if you come from a pre-iPhone 5 phone and you are not frightened by Apple’s hefty pricing (I’m not saying that it is unreasonably priced), purchasing the iPhone 5s is much of a no-brainer. You will own a beautiful designed and -for now- blazingly fast phone.
Update dec, 1st 2013:
The working of Touch ID seems to be more problematic than originally thought. I did some rescannings of my thumb, but I have the impression that when Touch ID is in use the recognition degrades after a few times of use. My index finger fares better, around 80% recognition. But with the way I hold and use my phone, the thumb is the only viable option. I have made 2 scans of my thumb, but the recognition remains problematic.The recognition process is somewhat goofy and unclear. Most of the times a recognition is followed by a motion feedback which -I suppose- is the signal to lift your finger. But sometimes one can lift and press without motion feedback. Graphic representations of the lines of a finger are shown with the small lines getting bold and red while scanning. But whether this graphic is supposed to mean something or is just some fancy, silly indication remains unclear.
Last but not least I’ve wondered what the option “Require Passcode” in the Settings Menu is supposed to mean. One expects something like “15 minutes”. “30 minutes” etc. but it only gives one option “Immediately” that can’t be changed.
I hope that Apple cleans up their act in new iOS versions with this stuff…If not I’m afraid I’ll skip Touch ID altogether, which would be a shame because if it worked it would be very cool.