Apple always aims to please and, for the most part, succeeds with their newest iPhones, the 5s and 5c.
The differences between the two devices are easy to notice, from the colorful plastic casing that surrounds the 5c to the way the 5s blazes past its little brother in terms of functionality.
Both sport 4-inch Retina displays, support LTE, have talk times of up to 10 hours, and come in 16GB and 32GB versions. But that's where the comparisons end.
About the 5s
The 5s boasts an A7 processor (compared to the 5c's A6) and a new-to-Apple M7 motion coprocessor. What this means is, combined with Apple's iOS 7, the 5s has the tech to match the software.
Apps and games that support the A7's 64-bit architecture will perform better than non-64-bit versions while also going easy on the device's battery. And, of course, iOS 7 was designed with the A7 in mind, so it's no shock that the OS performs ideally on the 5s, compared to older iPhones and the 5c.
One of the standout features of the 5s is the camera, which uses dual-LED flash technology called True Tone. Basically, the phone uses two different flashes — white and amber — to help the device recognize the color temperatures of the subject's setting, which then instructs the LEDs to match the temperature.
The camera's technology helps you take better photos. Though the photos won't always turn out as well as those taken with a Nokia Lumia 1020, the 5s' camera is the best ever on any Apple device.
The software wrapped around the camera is where the fun begins. Though part gimmick and part cool, the iPhone 5s' slow-motion ability is practically unrivaled in the smartphone arena. It's easy and fun to use, and captures up to 120 frames per second in 1080p resolution.
Now, enter the phone's Touch ID biometric sensor.
Apple decided it's time to put a fingerprint sensor on their flagship device, and though it's also a bit gimmicky, it will definitely find fans, which I suspect will be a majority of iUsers. It's a clever way of allowing authenticated users entrance into his or her phone, which could always benefit from that added layer of protection. It also comes in handy when purchasing apps, music and movies on iTunes, because you can use the scanner to authorize payments rather than inputting a password for every purchase.
One slightly negative thing about the iPhone 5s is its old design. While tried and true, the 5 and 5s are basically identical in terms of aesthetics. Other than the fingerprint scanner and dual-LED flash, the phones are the same. But it's almost to be expected per Apple's history of sticking with designs that work.
About the 5c
All that said about the 5s, there's still the 5c to consider.
The 5c is pretty and really has its own identity compared to the 5s. But that identity needs to be made up of brains rather than beauty, and to be blunt, the 5c just doesn't have it where it counts.
Yeah, it has a solid design with great color selection, but it also has last year's guts and a lackluster camera when compared to the 5s. It's also not even remotely priced well enough to consider: Retail for the 16GB is $550, and the 32GB is $650. While the 5s begins at $650 for the 16GB version (and goes up to $850 for the 64GB), the 5s also has new hardware to justify the extra asking price.
Even with a two-year contract with AT&T, the 5c is $100 at its cheapest and reaches $200. You're better off getting the 16GB 5s for $200 at that point.
About iOS 7
On a purely specification-based comparison, the new iPhones don't look so hot on paper when pitted against the Samsung Galaxy S4, or even the S3. However, Apple's magic has always been in its software, ecosystem and user experience, and iOS 7 delivers wholeheartedly.
Aside from the new look iOS 7 brings to most iDevices, it upped the functionality across the board. It sort of took cues from the Windows Phone OS and Android, but it took the best cues possible, especially when it comes to multitasking and settings.
It's still in its infancy, though, but expect the iOS 7 and 5s relationship to grow stronger in the next several months as developers begin building and rebuilding apps for the new infrastructure.
When it comes to the new iPhones, the 5s is the way to go, even if the 5c is tempting due to its slightly lower price and prettier exterior. Just be ready to end up on a waiting list for the gold 5s because, as of press time, those suckers are sold out and are the most-sought flavor available.