On September 10, Apple made history within its own company by announcing that it would release two phone models within the same fiscal quarter. Typically Apple uses this time to plan a release of their newest model of iPhone, but this year brought about a cheaper iPhone 5C in an attempt to increase the popularity of iPhones across the world. If you are considering getting an iPhone, but are uncertain of which one is best for you, this content will take a look at the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C to help you get a better idea of key differences that make up the models.
One of the major differences between all of the models released by Apple are the processing chips that each one comes with. A processing chip is important to the phone when it comes to the speed and power that the phone has. The more advanced a chip is, the quicker the phone will be, making it better for taking photos quickly, playing games, or simply searching the web. The iPhone 4S comes with an A5 chip, which was thought of to be the fastest processor of its time (keeping in mind this was just two years ago). However Apple continued increasing chip power by including a A6 chip in the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5C also has an A6 chip, while the 5S has an A7 chip. Explaining the difference between the chips is quite difficult and typically something that only hardcore tech fans would understand. But for the typical consumer out there, just understand that each chip offers a beneficial increase in speed. While the iPhone 4S seems quick and response, the A7 in the iPhone 5S does seem to be a bit quicker, if that is what you are looking for.
When many people look to compare iPhone models, they will immediately notice a difference in the bodies. The iPhone 4S measures 4.5 inches in height, 2.31 inches in width and .37 inches in depth. This affords for a 3.5-inch screen that boasts a resolution of 960-by-640. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, was the first model by Apple in a few years to increase its overall phone size. Both the 5 and the 5S have a height of 4.87 inches and width of 2.31 inches. The 5C adds a bit of size, with a height of 4.9 inches and 2.33 inches in width. The most noticeable difference may be its weight, which the 5 and 5S come in at 3.95 ounces and the 5C weighs in at 4.65 ounces. In terms of resolution, the 5, 5S and 5C all offer a 4-inch retina display with a resolution of 1136-by-640.
The biggest change in the ability to connect to networks and other devices occurred between the 4S and the 5. While the 4S offers Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth capabilities, the iPhone 5, 5S and 5C offer 4G LTE, which affords for extremely quick connection speeds on wireless networks. LTE is only available in certain markets, so be cautious in how highly you value this element when deciding which iPhone model you should purchase.
Apple continually boasts that the iPhone helped expand the market for photographers and people who love taking photographs with their iPhone. After all, when you have a powerful camera on your smartphone, it certainly makes it easier to take photos and then quickly edit them in a variety of apps available from the iTunes store. The iPhone 4S offers a powerful 8-megapixel camera, the same as the 5 and 5C. The 5S also offers an 8-megapixel camera, but it takes it a step further by also adding an f2.2 aperture. This addition allows for clearer photos that look crisp and smooth. Even with the same megapixels, the 5S does take better photographs and this should be considered if that is a main concern for you.
The cameras offered on the iPhones have a few other variations as well. The newer 5S and 5C models offer a new sapphire crystal lens cover (a feature the 4S and 5 lack), which is an attempt to better protect the camera on the phone. Furthermore, the 5S is the only model to offer a burst mode on the camera, which helps take faster photos without waiting to reload your camera to take the next shot. This burst mode also helps with video recording. The 5S is the only iPhone, which allows you to take slow-motion video, a feature that will be highly appreciated by some photography and video aficionados.
All four models do offer 1080p HD video recording with the capability of taking 30 frames per second. They also offer face detection, video geotagging and tap to focus. They also all offer a front FaceTIme camera that is perfect for making video calls from your phone. The FaceTime camera on the iPhone 4S consists of VGA-resolution for photos and video. While the VGA seemed nice when it was first released, there is certainly a noticeable difference between it and the newer phones. The 5, 5S and 5C all offer 1.2 megapixel photos and 720 HD video recording. This is a nicely added feature that allows users to take self-portraits and videos.
The iPhone 4S was the first model to offer a white version, aside from its typical black body that made up previous models. The 5 also came out with black and white versions, while the 5S changed a bit to offer what they call silver, space gray or gold. As for the 5C, Apple really changed things up with the colors here. This models offers white, pink, yellow, blue and green models. This color variation on the 5C is an interesting change for iPhone, though a nice change to add to its product line.
The last major difference to mention between these phones is the amount of battery life that each one provides. After all, what good is a powerful phone, if it doesn’t last you the entire day? The iPhone 4S was the last Apple product to use the typical USB 30-pin charger. The company changed to a lightning connector for the 5 and this remained for the 5S and 5C. The lightning connector allows for the phone to be charged much more quickly, but it’ll be tricky using your old accessories on your new phone. However once you are fully charged, you can expect up to 8 hours of talk time, 200 hours of standby time, 40 hours of audio playback and 6 hours of internet use on the iPhone 4S. On the 5S and 5C you will get improvements in all areas. This includes up to 10 hours of talk time, 250 hours of standby time, 40 hours of audio playback, and up to 10 hours of internet usage when connected to Wi-Fi.
Also keep in mind that with the release of the 5S and 5C, the 8 GB 4S is now available for free with a contract with a phone provider. This also brings the price of the 5 down to $99 for the introductory model. The 5C is also $99 for its bottom tier model and $199 for its 32GB version. The 5S on the other hands is $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB. Of course price may affect your decision to purchase, so consider these price tiers as well.
The differences in Apple iPhone versions have been more subtle over recent years. People have expected, and desired, more advanced changes to one of the most popular phones in the entire world. However, even with the minimal differences, the iPhone product line offers some of the best-powered phones you can find and should be considered by anyone in the market for a new smartphone. As for the model that you decide to go with, you can use the information provided in this content to help you better decide which is best for you.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.