At some point today — my guess is around lunchtime for folks in the Central and Eastern time zones [UPDATE: It is available as of 11:55 am Central] — you will be able to update your iPhone and iPad to the new iOS 7. iOS 7 gives your devices an all-new look, and includes some cool new features like the Control Center and Air Drop. Click here for my preview. Folks interested in the latest and greatest will want to use iOS 7 right away; for others, an argument can be made to wait a little bit, but eventually you are going to want to make the upgrade. Every report that I have heard from those who have been using the beta versions of iOS 7 is that once you start using it, you'll never want to go back to iOS 6.
The new iPhone 5s won't go on sale until Friday, but last week Apple gave select reporters early access. Last night, the reviews started to come in, and they are very positive. The fingerprint sensor seems to work flawlessly and makes it much, much faster to pick up your iPhone and start using it. The camera improvements (in both hardware and software) results in much better still photos and videos. Plus, the new A7 processor means that the iPhone seems much zippier and more responsive, and you get a little more battery life.
Here are all of the reviews that I have seen so far, along with some quotes to give you a sense of the new features of the iPhone 5s:
- Jim Dalrymple of The Loop: "I’ll be honest, heading into the event, I was wondering if Apple’s implementation of the sensor would be good enough to actually make it useful. Not just for a demo to make people gasp and clap, but could I use it every day. The answer is unequivocally yes."
- Walt Mossberg of All Things D / The Wall Street Journal: "It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s a real advance, the biggest step ever in biometric authentication for everyday devices. After using Touch ID, I found it annoying to go back to typing in passcodes on my older iPhone."
- David Pogue of the New York Times: "The most heavily promoted feature is the 5S’s fingerprint sensor, which, ingeniously, is built into the Home button. You push the Home button to wake the phone, leave your finger there another half second, and boom: you’ve unlocked a phone that nobody else can unlock, without the hassle of inputting the password. (And yes, a password is a hassle; half of smartphone users never bother setting one up.) The best part is that it actually works — every single time, in my tests. ... Apple says battery life is about 25 percent better than before; I’ve been getting nearly two days of moderate use on a charge."
- Harry McCracken of Time: "The most significant new thing in the iPhone 5s may be a security feature. The phone’s home button now doubles as a fingerprint sensor, via a feature Apple calls Touch ID. It’s optional, but I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to use it, since it makes securing your phone and entering your iTunes password not only painless, but very nearly fun."
- Vincent Nguyen of Slash Gear: "Touch ID is magical in how simple it makes using the iPhone 5s. Press the home button and you’re looking at the homescreen; it’s actually cutting down on even more taps compared to an PIN-free device, since now you don’t have to swipe the unlock bar either. We haven’t had a single occasion where someone else could unlock the phone with an unregistered finger, and nor have we had to resort to the PIN code."
- Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg: "The Touch ID is built into the 5s home button. Once you’ve scanned your fingers -- I used both thumbs -- a light press of the button wakes the phone and simultaneously unlocks it. It works far better than any other biometric device I’ve used, not requiring your finger to be positioned just so. It makes security transparent and even pleasurable."
- Scott Stein of CNet: "Touch ID may be getting all the headlines lately, but the iPhone 5S’ improved camera is probably its biggest selling point."
- Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint: "When slow-mo is selected you can record video at 120fps at 720p quality and then retrospectively slow down any part of the footage after. Reduce it to 30fps and it'll run at quarter time, but still super-smooth. To make it look even better the audio is also slowed down automatically. Cue beach-running scenes, or near-misses with trains, or, in our case, the Burberry Spring/Summer 2014 catwalk show at London Fashion Week. As you can imagine there is plenty of fun to be had, especially with the kids, and we've been snapping slow-mo footage when we can of a range of different things."
- Luke Peters of T3: "Other iPhone 5s-specific camera features include; auto image stabilisation (steady), 3x video zoom (bit blurry), 30fps panorama with varying light control (megabyte-y), burst mode at 10 photos per second (cheeky) and, best of all, slo-motion video capture, which is absolutely brilliant. It’s the iPhone 5s's Panorama moment and you can expect to see your social feeds filling up with quarter-speed 120fps 720p footage very shortly. The fact that the iPhone 5s can process it all on the fly is testament to the new A7 chip. Video quality is outstanding and, even if capturing your child's meteoric face-plant (we speak from experience), all emotional guilt is washed away as you become Spielberg for a second, seizing every last crunch in superb clarity and detail."
- Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch: "Also new to the iPhone 5s is image stabilization that happens automatically in-camera, using four exposures taken in rapid selection from which the best, most-stable parts are chosen. It recombines elements from each, rather than just picking the best. Similar is how the new Burst mode works, which can take full-res pics at a rate of 10 snaps per second (better than most DSLRs). The 5s then automatically picks one it deems ‘best’ based on a number of factors, like whether someone’s eyes are closed, and also makes available the entire series for you to page through and extract individual pics to your camera roll from."
- Ed Baig of USA Today: "One thing not seen elsewhere is the True Tone flash system in the 5s. It is based on two flashes working in tandem to automatically determine the intensity and best combination of flashes. I got generally lovely results taking flash photos, though I noticed it sometimes took an extra second or so before the camera actually took a picture."
- John Gruber of Daring Fireball: "Apple claims this is the biggest year-over-year improvement in computing performance in the history of the iPhone, and in both my day-to-day experience and some benchmark testing over the past week, I have no reason to doubt them. The iPhone 5S is fast. ... The iPhone 5S is, in some measures, computationally superior to the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro from just five years ago."
- Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech: "The A7 SoC is seriously impressive. Apple calls it a desktop-class SoC, but I'd rather refer to it as something capable of competing with the best Intel has to offer in this market. In many cases the A7's dual cores were competitive with Intel's recently announced Bay Trail SoC. Web browsing is ultimately where I noticed the A7's performance the most. As long as I was on a good internet connection, web pages just appeared after resolving DNS. The A7's GPU performance is also insanely good - more than enough for anything you could possibly throw at the iPhone 5s today, and fast enough to help keep this device feeling quick for a while."
- Matt Warman of The Telegraph: "This is a device that adds features that make the existing iPhone even easier to use, more powerful and turn it into a better camera, all in a package that remains the classiest on the market. It doesn’t have the most features, but those that are there are accessible in a way the no other manufacturer has yet mastered. That improved ease of use and continued elegance mean the 5s is a worthy flagship to persuade iPhone users to upgrade, and it retains all the apps that have powered Apple’s success."