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Do you really need an iPhone 5s if you upgrade to iOS7?

Kelli Uhrich is a busy writer and active career woman from Phoenix, Arizona. When she's not writing, she enjoys diving into hands-on projects, reading and blogging. To connect with Kelli, visit her blog, A Happy Place Called Home or Tw...

Is it worth it?

The world is buzzing with Apple's recent announcement of the new iPhone 5s and 5c models. But you might be wondering if the new phone is worth it when anyone with an iPhone 4 or higher can download the new iOS7 software.
iPhone 5s running iOS7
iPhone 5s running iOS7

I'm an iPhone user, but I wouldn't call myself a die-hard Apple product fanatic. It took years before I made the transition from my Android smartphone over to the iPhone. What was it that ultimately gave me that final push? Well, the hype surrounding the release of the iPhone 5 last year meant prices on the iPhone 4S dropped down to a level I could swallow. I found a great deal and purchased my iPhone 4s for less than $100, becoming an Apple customer for the very first time.

Now, one year later, here I am again. I find myself in the same position, weighing the pros against the cons, trying to decide whether or not my wallet is interested in shelling out the dough required for the latest iPhone models, the 5s and 5c. And likely, many consumers are right there with me.

So when my iPhone notified me that the software update for iOS7 was available, I began to wonder how an iPhone 4s with the upgraded software might compare to the newest model. What would I really be missing out on if I updated my operating system instead of purchasing the latest and greatest?

iOS7 screenshot

What am I gaining with an upgrade to iOS7?

  • A cleaner look for the display
  • Upgraded notification center with a "swipe down" from the top of the screen
  • New control center with a "swipe up" from the bottom of the screen
  • Redesigns to many of the apps, including: the calendar, email, notes, safari and more
  • Enhancements to Siri's functionality

What am I gaining with an upgrade to the new iPhone 5s?

  • All enhancements listed above for iOS7
  • Touch ID/Fingerprint sensor for secure access to phone
  • A7 chip for faster loading and processing
  • M7 chip to help preserve battery life by monitoring certain functions
  • Improved camera/video with an enhanced flash, and added features like slow-motion mode
  • 64-bit processor for apps
  • Sleek new casing design, including an option to "go gold"

So, do you need the new phone?

Based on what we know of the new releases, it seems fair to consider the upgrade to the new iOS7 as a cosmetic upgrade more than anything else. Sure, the software makes your applications look prettier and slide around in a sleeker manner as you navigate through the system; however, if you're looking for faster processing times, longer battery life and overall improvements to your phone's performance, then merely upgrading to the iOS7 will leave you disappointed.

But should you run out and purchase the new 5s? Honestly, that depends on what you need in a smartphone. Personally, after downloading the new iOS7, I've decided to stick with my 4s for at least one more year. This determination was made based on how I use my phone. I don't watch a lot of videos, or play games that would benefit from the faster processing times of the 5s. My phone usage rarely encounters issues with battery life, and as someone who loves to find cute cases on Etsy, even the new gold finish couldn't sway me.

Is this the case for everyone? Certainly not. The truth is, only you will be able to determine if making the upgrade is a good fit. If you've noticed gaps in the functionality of your current device that the new 5s will correct, then it may be worth the investment. But if you've been relatively happy with your current phone, then it may not be. Before you make the decision, learn as much as you can about the new products and see how they compare to your personal preferences.

More information on the new iPhone

iPhone 5s vs. 5c: Which is right for you?
The newest features of the iPhone 5s
7 Ways the iPhone 5s could have been better

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