iPhone Update! Or Should You?

Apple recently released the iPhone 5S and 5C. These two phones are the frontrunners for the Apple’s next generation of technology and bring with them a choice: to upgrade or not to upgrade?

With most tech manufacturers releasing new multi-hundred dollar lineups every year, it is very pricey to keep up to date. It is more cost-efficient to skip out on years, or lengthen the update period, picking up every third or fourth iteration. However, with the number of products being released, the only way to really tell if an upgrade is worth the price is to investigate each one individually. So, is the new iPhone worth buying?

Apple released two new iPhones, but the frontrunner and posterboy is the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5C is, essentially, their budget phone designed to be very similar to the iPhone 5. So, for the purpose of this review, I am going to stick to the iPhone 5S.

To start with, the iPhone 5S has definite hardware improvements. Apple put new guts in the new model, though you couldn’t tell it from the outside. The new phone has a new processor which is built on a 64-bit architecture. In other words, the physical microchip is actually redesigned, so its potential power is much higher than the old phone.

It shows. The iPhone 5S has tested to be almost twice as fast as the iPhone 5. It is a significant improvement, but in real life, it might not make that big of a difference. The iPhone 5 is already a very quick machine cutting app launching times in half is hardly apparent when it is a difference of less than a second. Needless to say, there is a difference, and it is noticeable in resource intensive applications. This one is a bit of a tossup on value.

In terms of looks, the new iPhone has the same Retina display as the old iPhone, but it has a more powerful graphics chip behind it to power it. Again, difference in looks is only noticeable in very resource intensive games and the like.

Speaking of looks, the new operating system released alongside the 5S, iOS 7, brings an overhaul to the cosmetics of the phone. It brings a new minimalistic theme to the phone. However, it is downloadable on the old iPhone 5 so it really does not play into differences between the phones. It is more of a matter of personal preference in the cosmetics department.

The biggest change in the new iPhone is the home ‘button’, or at least, what used to be one. On the 5S, it has been replaced with a biometric fingerprint scanner. This innovation allows for ease of access, eliminating the need for a passcode while maintaining a semblance of security. The true security is actually still in question. On the first version of the phone software, the scanner was compromised quite rapidly, but Apple quickly patched the security hole. It is yet to be seen if the new security update will hold securely.

The sad thing is, as cool as a fingerprint scanner is, it doesn’t justify a brand new phone. And apart from the under the hood improvements, that’s about all the iPhone 5S brings to the table. It has potential speed upgrades and a fingerprint sensor.

So, for the amount of value it brings to the table, I can’t justify the 5S being worth an upgrade from iPhone 5. It just doesn’t add enough to justify spending an extra couple hundred bucks.

Final Verdict: 5 to 5S doesn’t add enough to pull the trigger on a brand new purchase.