Seasonal rumor had been swirling since the beginning of summer about a new upcoming iPhone - its arrival date, features, and even its name - whether it was going to be iPhone 5G (or S), signalling minor upgrades, or iPhone 6, signalling major upgrades. On Sept 10, the cat was out officially out of the bag, and it turned out to be - the iPhone 5s.
The new iPhone 5s retains the designs and dimensions of last year's iPhone 5, but its overhaul begins at the core: a new A7 chip, with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, that gives it up to twice the CPU and graphics performance.
This of course entailed that Apple also upgrade its operating system as well as all of its built-in apps to take advantage of the chip power, and Apple says it is "the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone". Keep in mind we are still within the existing number series, Hmm.
These improvements, right off the bat, should translate into way improved performance, so that everything you do should be faster and better than before: launching apps, improved multitasking, editing photos, playing graphic-intensive games, downloading, you name it.
And visual effects get richer, competing with Macs, PCs and gaming consoles. That, no doubt, gets you mobile gamers drooling.
Additionally a new M7 motion coprocessor can continuously measure your motion data for offline use in pedometer and other fitness apps. Expect developers to take advantage of this feature to create more sophisticated fitness and activity apps.
For all you photo enthusiasts, there's a new 8 megapixel iSight camera with a larger f/2.2 aperture as well as a larger sensor with 1.5μ pixels for better sensitivity and low-light performance.
Working off the image signal processor in the A7 chip and the new Camera app in iOS 7, it adds up to two-times faster auto-focus, faster photo capture, automatic image and video stabilization, and better dynamic range.
It's also got a new True Tone flash - the first for any camera - that adjusts color and intensity for more natural looking pictures taken with a flash. That's the first for any camera.
Other enhancements include a new Burst Mode, Slo-Mo video with 120 fps, a new FaceTimeŽ HD camera for better low-light performance, and audio-only FaceTime calls.
The most anticipated feature of the new iPhone of course, is the Touch ID built into the home button that lets you unlock your iPhone simply with the touch of a finger. Besides doing away with the headaches of remembering (and even greater headaches of not remembering) passwords, the finger print ID will also authenticate purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store.
Apple allays privacy concerns by encrypting and storing all fingerprint information in a secure enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s itself rather than on Apple servers or back-ups in iCloud.
Apple promises that setting up Touch ID is easy, and that it will get better every time you use it. But that gets me wondering: what is it like before it `gets better', how long will it take for the phone to learn to do its job, and what happens in the meantime? Am I going to be locked out until it learns to recognize me? It's happened to me enough times involving passwords by rogue computers gone Hal.
Of course, I've occasionally had finger print recognition problems at the gym, but there's always the friendly receptionists who already know me by face.
Endurance-wise, the official promise is 10 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE networks and up to 8 hours on 3G networks, and up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback.
For all you fashionistas who want to start thinking wardrobe color coordination: you have a choice of three colors in metallic finishes: gold, silver and space gray.
As for costs, the US suggested retail price is $199 for the 16GB model; $299 for the 32GB model; and $399 for a 64GB model.