iPhone 5S has fingerprint sensor, better camera; DoCoMo deal confirmed

|By:, SA News Editor

As expected, the iPhone 5S' (AAPL -0.9%) camera has dual LEDs (should improve color accuracy) and a larger (F2.2) aperture, the latter should help with low-light shots. It also has a bigger image sensor, though its resolution is unchanged at 8MP (Phil Schiller: "Bigger pixels make a better picture."). (live blog)

Other new camera features: auto image stabilization, a 10fps burst mode, and a 120fps Slo-Mo video recording option. The camera improvement come as Nokia and Sony tout the high-end imaging capabilities of smartphones such as the Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z1.

Also, the oft-rumored fingerprint sensor has been revealed. Called Touch ID, the sensor is embedded within a sapphire crystal home button (incremental positive for GTAT), and can be used to unlock the 5S, make iTunes purchases, and carry out other tasks within apps.

Like the iPhone 5 (until now), 16-64GB 5S models will sell for a subsidized $199-$399. The iPhone 5 is being discontinued to make room for the 5C; the 4S will now be free with a contract.

5S/5C pre-orders start on Sep. 13. Sales begin in the U.S., Japan, China, and 6 other markets on Sep. 20. NTT DoCoMo (DCM +1.5%) will be among the Japanese carriers to sell the phones. 100 countries/270 carriers will be supported by December.

5S/5C sales should benefit from Apple's strong customer loyalty and the huge 4S sales recorded two years ago (many of those buyers are about to see their contracts expire). But will they be able to reel in many of the Android users who have come to love larger screens?

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