Passcodes are such a pain that I've relaxed the security settings on my Android phone. I'm willing to forgo the extra safety, just so I'm asked to punch in the code less often. When I got my hands on Apple's new iPhone 5s, one of the first things I tried was a feature that allows you to bypass the passcode using a fingerprint.
I had a lot of fun unlocking the phone over and over again. Who knew biometric authentication could be such a blast?
The fingerprint sensor alone is worth the extra $100 you'll pay for the 5s over an iPhone 5c. Both phones will come out Friday. In the week I've had with both, I've also been impressed with the better camera and slow-motion video in the 5s.
The 5c, meanwhile, is largely last year's iPhone 5 with a plastic casing instead of aluminum and glass. This isn't cheap plastic, but a type offering the slippery feel of a shiny ceramic tile. It comes in five colors.
Both phones come with iOS 7, the most radical change to Apple's operating system software for mobile devices since its 2007 debut. Many of the changes are cosmetic, but there are functional improvements such as easier access to frequently used settings and apps.
I will review iOS 7 separately. Many existing iPhone users won't need more than the free update, which is available starting Wednesday. Neither the 5c nor the 5s offers improvements on the screen size, which remains at 4 inches (10 centimeters) diagonally. But new features and new colors may draw you to one of these new iPhones.
The iPhone 5s
Available in silver, gold or gray; starts at $199 with two-year service contract, or $649 without a contract.
When you set up the 5s, you're asked to tap the home button with a finger several times so the phone can create a mathematical representation of your print. To unlock the phone, you simply tap the home button, and the phone will compare the two taps. You can tap from any angle, even sideways or upside down. This fingerprint ID also works as a way to authenticate the purchase of apps and content within apps. (continued...)
© 2013 Associated Press/AP Online under contract with MarketWatch. All rights reserved.