Apple’s iPhone 5s is a major improvement over the iPhone 5, packing some changes to the hardware beyond the usual spec and performance improvements we see from “s” advances on iPhone. The big splashy focus features here are the improved camera and the brand new fingerprint sensor built into the Home button, which powers Apple’s new identification tech called Touch ID.
Both of these features were what I focused on with my hands-on time with the new phone. An Apple employee walked me through how to set up the phone for Touch ID, and how to use that to unlock the device and make purchases in the App and iTunes Stores. Each iPhone 5s can support up to five different fingerprints, making it possible for a user to authorize their family and friends to be able to use their device, too.
The setup process with the iPhone 5s is fairly straightforward, with graphics and text-based instructions to guide you through. Essentially you spend some time letting the sensors in the Home button get used to your fingerprint, moving your finger around slightly, lifting it up just above the surface and putting it back down, with a graphic filling out how near the software is to being able to recognize your fingerprint (you can use thumb or index finger, depending on your preference). The process took about 30 seconds to a minute overall, and then once it had successfully identified by fingerprint, it worked flawlessly to unlock the device for every subsequent trial. It also readily rejected Greg Kumparak’s attempts, proving that it isn’t just accepting all comers.