iPhone 5s vs competition: 8 features Apple's new iPhone 5s doesn't have
Some rumoured features didn't put in an appearance when Apple launched its iPhone 5S, which means the speculation about the iPhone 6 can already begin…
By Ashleigh Allsopp | Macworld UK | Published: 15:43, 11 September 2013
Apple unveiled its iPhone 5s on 10 September, which, as predicted, now comes in three colours, has a fingerprint sensor beneath the home button, and has significant spec boosts.
However, there are several rumoured iPhone 5s features that Apple didn't show off at its iPhone event, some of which feature in smartphone rivals from Apple's competitors. Here, we highlight some of those features and ponder: why didn't Apple include them in the iPhone 5s?
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We expected that Apple would improve the camera found in the iPhone 5s, and it did. However, instead of boosting the pixels, Apple stuck with an 8-megapixel iSight camera.
This camera has a brand new, five-element Apple-designed lens with a larger f/2.2 aperture. The camera's new sensor has a 15 per cent larger active area, and the pixels on this sensor are 1.5 microns in size, larger than the iPhone 5 and larger than other smartphones. This should mean better sensitivity and improved low-light performance.
There are also several other new photography features in the iPhone 5s (some of which are part of iOS 7), including a dual-LED flash called 'True Tone,' new Burst and Slo-Mo modes, auto image stabilisation and more.
But what happened to the 12-megapixel camera we were expecting?
During Apple's unveiling on 10 September, Apple's head of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller explained: "Competitors would pack more pixels on that and cram them closer together, but Apple knows it's bigger pixels that make a better picture."
We're looking forward to trying out the iPhone 5s camera for ourselves, and discovering how it compares to cameras from competing smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4's 13-megapixel one.
NFC (near field communication) technology
With the rumours that Apple would be using fingerprint sensor technology in its iPhone 5s (these rumours turned out to be true) came speculation about the possibility of NFC in the iPhone 5s.
NFC stands for near-field communications, and is a set of short-range wireless standards that let mobile phones communicate with each other – or with other electronic devices. A number of NFC-equipped Android phones can act as an e-wallet, paying for goods with a swipe of the handset. NFC is also used to make quick data transfers between phones.
When the iPhone 5 launched in 2012, many asked why Apple hadn't included the NFC technology in the new device, and Schiller replied by saying that consumers can already use the Passbook app instead of NFC, an app that the company believes can do all "the kinds of things consumers need today."
We guess that Apple still feels the same way, and the introduction of the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor doesn't seem to have swayed their decision on the basis of security.
It seems likely that NFC will still be an expected feature in iPhone 6, though, as Apple's main competitors including BlackBerry, HTC, LG, Nokia and Samsung already use the technology in their devices.
5G WiFi (802.11ac)
It's a little surprising that Apple didn't make its iPhone 5s compatible with the new 802.11ac WiFi standard.
The new, speedier '5G WiFi' standard is already supported by the new MacBook Air models launched by Apple in June, and promises bandwidth of up to 1.3Gb/s. In comparison, 802.11n products provide connections of up to 450Mb/s.
So with the new MacBook Air models offering support for the new standard, and devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S4 supporting the new standard, it's surprising that Apple has opted to skip the feature.
A second connectivity boost that didn't arrive with Apple's iPhone 5s is LTE-Advanced, although the smartphone does support more bands than other smartphones, including the three major bands used here in the UK.
In July, rumours that Apple had been working with SK Telecom to give the iPhone 5s 150mbps LTE-Advanced support emerged, suggesting that Apple was hoping to boost the LTE capabilities of the iPhone with the new model.
Earlier this year, Samsung released an LTE-Advanced version of the Galaxy S4.
Ok, so we didn't really think Apple was going to make the iPhone 5S bigger. But, there were reports that Apple may decide to launch an iPhone 6 at the same time as the iPhone 5s, and that the iPhone 6 would have a screen between 4.8in and 6in diagonally. We expect we'll have to wait until next year for that one.
But why didn't Apple change the screen size for the iPhone 5s? Competitors such as Samsung have released smartphones with screen sizes that are significantly larger than Apple's 4in iPhone, and bigger screens it seems to be a growing trend.
This new iPhone was an 's' model, which traditionally means an almost identical external design as its predecessor for Apple. Plus, Apple has said that the 4in display has been designed for one-handed use.
Earlier this year Apple CEO Tim Cook said: "Our competitors have made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger-display iPhone while these trade-offs exist."
Gorilla Glass 3
Earlier this year, Corning announced that it has developed a new version of its Gorilla Glass for smartphones and tablets that it says will result in 40 per cent fewer scratches.
Corning hinted that the new glass would appear in "devices later this year" but it doesn't look like they were referring to the iPhone 5s, as the new iPhone seems to have the same 4in Retina display as found in the iPhone 5.
Samsung's Galaxy S4 uses Gorilla Glass 3 for its display.
Ahead of the iPhone 5s announcement, there was some speculation that Apple would introduce wireless charging with its iPhone 5s, following in the footsteps of Nokia, LG and HTC.
The new iPhone doesn't have wireless charging capabilities, though, but we expect that this feature could be on the cards for the iPhone 6.
Samsung launched its Galaxy S4 in March with new features including eye-tracking technology. However, the new feature wasn't received particularly well and it seems that those who wear glasses have great difficulty using the feature.
We're actually quite glad that Apple didn't decide to implement eye-tracking technology in the iPhone 5s.
To find out what the iPhone 5s does have, you can visit our Apple iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5 comparison review.