With less than two days until the Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C hit retail shelves, millions are toiling with whether an upgrade is vital for their smartphone futures.
For some, it's simple--a new device will bring noticeable improvements to the iPhone experience. While the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are still a solid devices, their owners will fare best with an upgrade. However, the hundreds of thousands of users who took advantage of discounted devices when the iPhone 5 was released last year, may be stuck for a bit longer. Don't worry, though. Both devices run Apple's new iOS 7.
Still, the question remains: Is jumping from an iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5S really worth the effort? Let's take a look.
Upgrading to iPhone 5S
The differences between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S and 5C are minimal. The iPhone 5, which runs iOS 7 flawlessly, is still a top-line smartphone. Its screen resolution is virtually unmatched and it is lightning-fast, especially on W-Fi.
The iPhone 5S brings the new A7 chip that boasts 64-bit processor technology. It is said to have twice the GPU and CPU speeds, loading apps faster and improving the flow of graphics. Apple claims the OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics programmer makes for the best gaming experience on the market.
The new iPhone packs the same 8MP camera as the iPhone 5. A beefed-up sensor will improve pixel quality and low-light shooting. The new dual-LED flash is a nice boost while the front camera is the same 1.2MP offering.
Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor replaces the physical home button, a signature on the iPhone and iPad. The feature unlocks the phone and allows for one-touch purchases in iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.
The the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S is available with 16, 32 and 64GB of storage. A gold color has been added to the 2013 line.
Upgrading to iPhone 5C
When Apple announced it was releasing a more affordable iPhone, enhancements to the iPhone 5 were expected. That didn't happen, at least not in areas of performance.
The iPhone 5C is, for lack of better words, a plastic iPhone 5. Both phones boast the same 4-inch display, A6 chip and 8MP camera. The iPhone 5C is slightly thicker, mainly because of the molded, plastic body. In all, it is a mid-range smartphone running Apple's top-notch iOS 7.
The iPhone 5C is available in white, blue, yellow, green and red.
As expected, the iPhone 5C is ideal for those seeking a new iPhone without the hefty price tag. According to early reports, the iPhone 5C, available with 16 GB and 32 GB of storage, will retail at $99 with a contract.
Sprint will offer the phone free with a two-year deal.
The verdict: An upgrade from an older iPhone to an iPhone 5, iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C is worth it for iPhone 4 owners, especially those with the 8GB device. With the contract price on the iPhone 5 set to come down to $99 on most carriers, the phone is a better option than the iPhone 5C in terms of construction. The iPhone 5C is a solid choice for kids.
Jumping from the iPhone 5 to the 5S will be a matter of preference. While it's a bit faster, there's nothing earth-shattering about the iPhone 5S. The new chip, touted graphics and CPU capabilities are not extremely noticeable improvements. Touch ID is nice, but nothing short of a novelty users can live without. The technology is not enough to make an immediate upgrade a necessity.
The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will be on shelves Friday, Sept. 20. The iPhone 5S is expected to start at $199 for a 16GB model with a 2-year contract.