iPhone 5S vs iPhone 6 – Is Apple’s upcoming flagship worth the wait?

We’ve seen a lot of major phone releases this year, but perhaps none are as relevant or highly anticipated as the release of Apple’s next generation of iPhones. With a long and complex history under its belt, Apple has reached the 6th generation of iPhones, and according to the company, the iPhone 6 will certainly shake things up and represent a huge leap forward from the previous generation iPhones. However, is this really the case? We’ve seen multiple leaks and hints about what Apple has in store for us, so is the iPhone 6 worth waiting for, or should we stick to the current Apple flagship, the iPhone 5s?

The iPhone 5S seems to pale in comparison with many Android-based smartphones, at least when the raw specs are analyzed. Still, there’s a certain appeal in iOS based phones, and there’s certainly a huge market for iPhones. The iPhone 5S has a lot of things going for it, despite looking unimpressive on paper: it runs iOS apps blazing fast, it screams high-end build quality at you, it comes with a medium resolution/size screen that still manages to look great, it takes great pictures and is generally pleasant to use and look at. Is that enough to justify its high-end price? Probably not for everyone, but for those smartphone users that really like Apple products, the price certainly seems justified.

There’s little to say about the iPhone 5S that people don’t already know. It’s an expensive product with very little flaws. Unless you’re really on the anti-iOS/pro-Android bandwagon, you won’t have trouble admitting that the iPhone 5S just works great, looks great and is as close to a flawless phone as you can get. Now, it’s not perfect. By now, it’s reasonable to say that the phone is in dire need of a bigger (or at least better) display. It still looks great, but having a full HD display wouldn’t hurt. While battery life isn’t half bad, that’s perhaps one of the only aspects of the 5S which still needs some work. The phone has a 4 inch, 326 PPI, 640×1136 pixel display, but don’t be fooled by the seemingly small resolution, the iPhone 5S’ display is extremely pleasant to look at. Running on an A7 processor and 1GB of RAM, the iPhone 5S handles everything the iOS can throw at it. Yes, there are Android phones with much better specs out there, some costing even less, but let’s face it – the latest Snapdragon CPUs aren’t being used to a full extent yet. That being said, there’s always room for improvement, and it’s about time that Apple bumps up the processing capabilities of its phones.

This is the size difference between the current iPhone 5S (White) and a fake iPhone 6 model (black). While the phone in the image isn’t the real deal, its size and ratio are, so it’s a good indication about what size upgrade we should be expecting.

The iPhone 5S also benefits from two extremely good features. The first is the TouchID sensor, which works wonderfully – there’s not much to complain about really. The second great aspect of the phone is its camera which works brilliantly. Truly, taking quality pictures with an iPhone 5S is not only possible, but easy. It works well in most lighting and weather conditions. It’s no DSLR camera, but the 8 MP sensor with image stabilization and dual-flash does wonders. Last, but not least, it’s worth mentioning that the iPhone 5S is the first iPhone that’s truly resistant to actual use, meaning that the pesky chips, dents and marks of the past are no longer a major concern. Unless you play baseball with the phone, it’s not going to show outside wear easily.

So will the iPhone 6 be any better? We don’t know yet, but Apple certainly likes to think so and promises to bring a significant revolution to its phone line-up. It’s not going to be easy to improve upon a good product, but the company has a good track record of constantly improving its designs and devices. First of all, the iPhone 6 will be considerably bigger than its predecessors. Two variants have been confirmed for the phone, one sporting a 4.7 inch display, and another sporting a larger, 5.5 inch one. Now, we know for certain that the iPhone 6 will have two versions, but we know little more than the display sizes. Resolutions are supposedly going up, but it’s not likely we’ll see HD or QHD displays from Apple just yet. The most reliable rumors would suggest that Apple is going for a 1704 x 960 resolution for its 4.7 inch iPhone 6, providing 416 PPI, which would represent a significant upgrade over the current iPhone 5S. No indication about the iPhone Air (the suspected name of the 5.5 inch version of the iPhone 6) and its resolution has emerged as of yet.

A leaked image showing potential changes to the iPhone 6’s TouchID sensor.

The upcoming flagship smartphones from Apple are also going through a significant redesign. We’ve already seen changes to the phone’s TouchID sensor, and there’s no doubt this will be an upgrade too. The phone will be water and dust resistant (this much is a given), and might come with a new Sapphire crystal display. We’re saying might because there are extremely contradictory opinions between experts, some arguing it’s an obvious move for Apple, while others claim that the production lines for the new displays are far from being capable of delivering enough of them by the end of the year.

As for what’s coming under the hood, we know that Apple will be utilizing 64-bit A8 processors, but exact clock speeds are unknown. The company is also likely to boost up its phone’s RAM and storage capabilities. With more power however comes more power consumption, so we’re a bit worried about how the changes (bigger display, stronger processor, etc.) in the iPhone 6 will affect the phone’s battery life. The iPhone 5S currently has a good, but not exceptional battery life, and if that takes a hit, a lot of users might turn away from buying Apple’s flagship.

To get to the gist of it, we can say this much: rumors aside, the iPhone 6 is guaranteed to improve many of the current generation iPhone’s features. It’s also going to cost a lot (probably above $700 carrier free), no doubt about that. This is no iPhone 5C after all, Apple is aiming for the top with it. However, a new, stronger iPhone will also drive down prices for the iPhone 5S. At this point, if you’re looking for a new iOS based phone, we recommend that you either go for the lower-end iPhone 5C (which is a good pick for budget buyers), or simply wait. If what the iPhone 5S offers right now is good enough for you, you’ll be able to pick it up a lot cheaper in the coming months. On the other hand, should the iPhone 6 prove to be as good as everyone is hoping it to be (and Apple is promising), you’ll be glad to have waited a little while longer. If you can’t wait any longer and can afford to spend the full retail price for a still steep iPhone 5S, go for it – the phone is still excellent, and no matter how good the iPhone 6 turns out to be, it’s going to stay that way.