iPhone 5s Review: A Great Phone With Some More Forward Thinking Needed

The Non-Changes
All those aforementioned changes keep Apple's iPhone ahead of the pack in very crucial ways, but there are some other places where the case for the most forward-thinking phone hasn't been made.

The first is with battery life. Apple said users of the iPhone 5s should see a 25 percent bump in endurance, but I haven't experienced that. It could be some of the early iOS 7 battery problems, but I still have been getting a little less than a full day of juice -- about 10 hours or so. Some Android phones, such as the Moto X, seem to last at least 20 percent longer, although they are thicker and not as well-designed as the iPhone. We have come a long way since the first iPhone's five or so hours of battery life, but I haven't given up on a smartphone future that does away with ugly battery cases.

Our smartphone future cannot mean ugly battery cases.

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And then there is the screen. I'll be the first to admit that a 5.5-inch or 6.3-inch screen is overload for a smartphone, but there are times now when I feel the 4-inch display on the iPhone is too cramped. The Moto X's 4.7-inch display seems to be the ideal blend of screen real estate and manageability.

Lastly there is the software. Despite some people having problems adjusting to the change and some getting sick, iOS 7 is a very worthy upgrade, especially when it comes to the addition of such new features as Control Center. But as I said in my review of iOS 7, there are places where I wish Apple had gone further. Android's deep customization options and integration with Google Now provide software features that go beyond what we expect from our phones today.

The Bottom Line
The iPhone 5s is a great phone, especially if you are upgrading from the iPhone 4 or 4s, but it's not as compelling if you have the iPhone 5 or even some competing Android handsets. When it comes to camera performance, the security convenience provided by the fingerprint reader, general design and app selection and quality, the iPhone 5s is at the top of the heap and does set the bar in the crowded smartphone market.

There is plenty more forward thinking Apple can do

But while the iPhone 5s is the most forward thinking iPhone and one of the best phones to have in your pocket or bag, some of those various non-changes sure do indicate that there is plenty more forward thinking Apple can do.

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