Will iPhone 5S Motion Sensor Problems Throw Apple Off Balance?

Source: Apple.comWhen Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled its new flagship iPhone 5S last month, one of the device’s most vaunted features was its ability to optimize its operation based on motion data that it receives from its gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer. However, recent tests conducted by Gizmodo appeared to demonstrate that many of the motion sensors in Apple’s iPhone 5S are improperly calibrated.

When compared to a physical level, the readings from the iPhone 5S internal inclinometer were off by 2 to 3 degrees. Similarly, Gizmodo found that the iPhone 5S gyroscope readings appeared to be off by 3 degrees.

Not only did the readings from the iPhone 5S fail to match up to the physical level, the iPhone 5S readings also contradicted readings given by the iPhone 5. As noted by Gizmodo, this discrepancy can affect the quality of gameplay for video games that rely on this motion data to interpret user input.

The iPhone 5S compass application also appeared to be less accurate than the iPhone 5. While neither generation of iPhone was as accurate as an actual compass, Gizmodo found that the iPhone 5 had a truer reading while the iPhone 5S was consistently off by 8 to 10 degrees.

Finally, Gizmodo tested the accelerometer of the iPhone 5S and found that it registered far more latent motion than the iPhone 5. These incorrect motion data sensor readings are especially troublesome considering that Apple stressed the importance of its new M7 motion coprocessor that would allow users to run various fitness apps on the iPhone 5S.

Unfortunately, postings in the Apple Support Community forums suggest that the issue is fairly widespread. Although it is not yet clear if the problems originate from iOS 7 or from the iPhone 5S hardware, some users have reported returning their devices and receiving a properly calibrated iPhone 5S in exchange.

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