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Apple launches iPhone 5S

iPod Touch maker brings fingerprint technology to its latest generation of smartphone

Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Get in touch with him at jkerr@albertaventure.com.

Sep 11, 2013

by Jim Kerr

As the dust settles on the launch of Apple’s latest round of iPhones, questions are being asked about the most innovative feature of the iPhone 5S.

The fingerprint scanner – which is built into the home button and gets users past the lock screen – is raising some eyebrows, especially in the “NSA era” of online security. TouchID scans information from the layer of skin just under the surface of the finger, then encrypts and stores the data on a secure chip inside the device.

Fingerprint technology is generally looked at as an alternative to the growing list of passwords that most Internet users have become accustomed to, but how secure is it?

Apple stresses the biometric information it gathers will never be stored on the company’s own servers, but with reports surfacing that the U.S. National Security Agency is able to bypass a lot of current encryption methods, that won’t be enough for some. The other concern about TouchID is there are people without fingerprints and others who make a living with their hands and end up significantly wearing theirs down.

Time will tell how effective this new technology is, and more importantly, how susceptible it is to security threats. We won’t know until sometime after September 20th though, when the general public gets its first real look.

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As for the other features of the iPhone 5S, some tech commenters were left wanting more. CNet’s Rick Broida says the screen is the same size and the battery life is the same, calling it the least innovative iPhone yet. That being said, the phone features an improved camera (with a cool looking slo-mo option), a 64-bit processor (allowing it to rival some game consoles in terms of graphics) and, of course, iOS 7. The new operating system will launch across most Apple products on September 18th.

The company also announced a (not much) cheaper option, the iPhone 5C, which has a plastic body, the choice of six colourful cases and works on most 4G networks.

Oh, and just to sweeten the pot a bit, Apple is also offering free downloads of iWork, iPhoto and several other programs with the purchase of a new iOS device.

What do you think: Are you excited for the iPhone 5S?

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