All this new energy goodness also means improved battery life. The 5S will last through 10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of LTE browsing and 40 hours of music playback.
Another area of major improvement—in a device that, in form, looks like its predecessor—is the camera. It has a lens with an f/2.2 aperture and a 15 percent larger active sensor area, and includes automatic white-balance adjustment, a "local tone map" that adjusts exposure levels for truer colors, a new autofocus meter and a new flash, called True Tone.
As many Android users do now, iPhone users will be able to hold down the shutter and snap 10 frames per second, for as long as their fingers keep pressing. The phone offers its opinion on the best shot, though users can keep as many as they'd like.
And while that's great for fast action, for those moments when you want to slow things down, the 5S can grab 120 frames per second, for a slow-motion replay. The new camera can also shoot 28-megapixel panoramic shots.
iPhone 5S Is New Security Go-To
Finally (and, again, as expected) the iPhone 5S has a Touch ID fingerprint-reader solution built into the home button. It's 170 microns thin, and has a resolution of 500 pixels per inch, 360-degree readability and scans the sub-epidermal skin layers of users' fingers. (It can read multiple fingerprints.) A user will be able to make an iTunes purchase, for example, using her finger to authenticate her identity.
Given how few people use a passcode on their phones, this is a potentially brilliant solution; given recent revelations about the National Security Agency's spying practices, though, it may also be a deeply distrusted one.
Apple, addressing concerns, promised that fingerprint information is never uploaded to Apple servers or backed up to iCloud.
Also a must to mention is that Siri, like the rest of the iPhone, has gotten smarter, and can now also draw information from Twitter. Apple's cheeky hands-free assistant will also be available in a man's voice.
"This is our most forward-thinking iPhone yet," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
The iPhone 5S will come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models for, respectively $199, $299 and $399, with two-year service contracts.
On Sept. 20, the phones will arrive in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France Germany, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom, and reach a total of more than 100 countries by December.
Did Apple do enough to justify the full year between its iPhone announcements? Ovum analyst Tony Cripps said it did.
"There's little need for gimmicks in the flagship 5S, in a launch replete with significant spec upgrades over and beyond the usual screen improvement," Cripps wrote in a note shortly after the event ended.
"Moving to a 64-bit architecture means Apple can genuinely claim to have brought something new to the smartphone party," he continued, adding that the fingerprint sensor will "build legitimacy" for the technology in mainstream electronics, the health-and-fitness angle will greatly work to Apple's advantage and the newest iPhone will help "cement" Apple's lead as a mobile gaming platform.
CEO Tim Cook, smiling at the close of the event—and before introducing special musical guest Elvis Costello—remarked, "These iPhones are packed with remarkable technology [and] we've done it in a way that makes it matter to people."