Apple has finally revealed its new iPhones after months of speculation. And, the rumours were right – the Californian tech giant has unveiled two new handsets – a top end iPhone 5S and a cheaper iPhone 5C.
Rather than relying on a password, the 5S will have a fingerprint sensor to identify the user and allow them to turn the handset on. The 5C, meanwhile, comes with a plastic casing in a choice of vibrant colours.
It’s a distinct change of tack for Apple which has never before released two handset versions at the same time.
Its flagship iPhone 5S will have a new chip which Apple says will give the handset a performance equivalent to a computer. Along with the fingerprint scanner, the 5S will feature an improved 8MP camera, which can film in HD.
Apple’s senior vice president Phil Schiller described the handset as “the most forward-thinking phone perhaps anyone has ever made,” while designer Sir Jon Ive was equally proud at the launch event in California, saying the iPhone 5S was “our most refined iPhone yet”.
The fingerprint sensor is expected to set Apple’s new iPhone apart from its Android rivals. It’s not the first company to use fingerprint technology. Motorola added the system to its Atrix handset two years ago, but users reported problems using it.
Apple’s version is called Touch ID and works with a thin circle around the home button, removing the need for any pin code. Users will probably still feel happier employing more advanced security for carrying out online banking or shopping. But Touch ID will make it easier for iPhone users to buy iTunes downloads.
This sort of innovation doesn’t come cheap though – the 5S Sim free price starts at £549 for a 16GB model to £709 for a 64GB version. After five years in only black and white, the 5S will be available in a muted gold as well as silver and grey versions.
The ‘cheaper’ 5C iPhone, meanwhile possibly isn’t as cheap as some were hoping. With 16GB of storage, the 5C has been priced at £469 for a Sim-free handset. An iPhone 4S will now start at £349 while the iPhone 5 will be discontinued.
It is available in five different colours – blue, white, pink, yellow and green. And while some analysts had feared it could be less robust than the original iPhone, its plastic body will feature metal reinforcements.
And, like the more expensive model, it will feature Apple’s new iOS7 operating system, giving the iPhone screen a brand new look. CEO Tim Cook said this was “the biggest change to iPhone since the original iPhone.”
Retailers have greeted the addition of a cheaper iPhone to Apple’s line-up positively. Scott Hooton from Phones 4u said: “We’re expecting some very happy customers after today’s Apple announcement that a more affordable version of the new iPhone, the iPhone 5C, will be available alongside the iPhone 5S.”
He said research carried out by Phones 4u had already shown a “strong appetite” for both options.