10 Sep 2013

Tech giant unveils new $99 plastic iPhone AND 'gold-standard' $399 handset with fingerprint scanner

The iPhone 5S is a modified version of the iPhone 5. It comes in three colours - gold, silver and slate - and was Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phill Schiller, pictured, claimed it is twice as fast as the current handsetIn what's been classed as a 'make or break' event for Apple, the Californian-based tech firm has unveiled its plastic iPhone 5C that comes in a range of colours and will cost £469.

In what's been classed as a 'make or break' event for Apple, the tech firm has unveiled a cut-price handset called the iPhone 5C as well as a high-end model called iPhone 5S.

The release of the iPhone 5C marks a step away from Apple's luxe image.

Many believe the move is a desperate bid to poach Samsung buyers, as the Korean company and its plastic, cheaper handsets go from strength to strength.

Apple traditionally releases a brand new handset once a year, before releasing a follow-up model with incremental changes the next, for example, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.

This year, however, was the first time Apple had been linked to two new handsets at the same event.

And in announcing the new devices, Apple's CEO Tim Cook declared the company would be discontinuing the current iPhone 5 model.

The iPhone 5C has a 4-inch Retina display.

It has the same A6 processor as the current iPhone 5 model, as well as the same 8-megapixel rear camera.

The FaceTime front-facing camera has been improved to HD, too.

Apple's iPhone 5C is made of polycarbonate plastic and is reinforced with a steel frame, which acts as the phone's antenna.

Although it didn't announce UK pricing at the event, the Apple UK store is showing the iPhone 5C as costing £469 for 16GB and £549 for 32GB if bought outright.

However, it's expected the iPhone 5C will be considerably cheaper when bought through a contract, with prices starting at $99 in the U.S.

The iPhone 5S comes in three colours - slate, gold, and silver - and is made of high-grade aluminium.

According to The Verge, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller called it 'perhaps the most forward thinking phone anyone has ever made' before unveiling the much-rumoured fingerprint scanner built into the phone's 'home' button.

'In securing a handset, the most common way is to set up a passcode. Unfortunately, some people find that's too cumbersome.

'Touch ID uses a key with you have everywhere you go.'

The Touch ID Sensor is 170 microns thin, senses 500 ppi and scans a user's 'sub-epidermal skin layers.'

The ring around the 'home' button acts as a 'detection ring' that turns on the Touch ID sensor and is made from a scratch-resistant material.

Schiller said: 'You can simply touch your home button to unlock your phone' and it can be used to buy apps via iTunes.

Apple's Brit designer, Sir Jonathan Ive added: 'It's not just rampant technology for technology's sake.'

Touch ID works by encrypting the fingerprint, which is secured inside a 'secure enclave' or port.

The print is not available to other software, not is it uploaded to Apple's servers or backed up to iCloud.

It is the first handset to run 64-bit A7 chip and is said to be twice as fast as the iPhone 5.

The graphics are five times faster than the iPhone 5 and the phone was said to have 10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 Hours LTE browsing and up to 250 hours of battery standby.

Elsewhere, the iPhone 5S has 'a new, five-element Apple-designed lens'.

The camera app sets white balance, exposure and creates a 'dynamic local tone map' with 'autofocus matrix metering' in 15 zones automatically.

The flash has two LEDs - one is white and the other is amber.

These LEDs which can be combined to get the right colour balance from the flash.

The camera works by taking multiple photos, combining them for light levels and picking the sharpest one - similar to the feature seen on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

There's additionally a new burst mode of 10 frames per second.

Schiller said: 'It used to be to take better pictures you became a better photographer.

For most of us, we just want to take a picture.'

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