Apple Inc. introduced a pair of new iPhones, including a cheaper plastic version in bright colours and an updated high-end device with a fingerprint scanner.
The new devices, which were unveiled by Apple chief executive Tim Cook at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California is seen as a strategy shift to reach a broader range of customers around the world.
''The business has become so large,'' Cook said. ''We're going to replace it with not one, but two new designs.''
New iPhone 5C
The New iPhone 5C is part of Apple's bid to counter the flood of low-cost smartphones from rivals, most of which use Google's Android operating system.
Apple designer Jonathan Ive said despite the low cost, the New plastic iPhone 5C with a steel frame ''is beautiful." ''We took the same fanatical care with how the New iPhone 5C feels in your hand,'' Ive said.
The New iphone 5C features a 4-inch Retina display with 1136-by-640 resolution at 326ppi, with the same brightness and contrast as the New iPhone 5, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.2MP FaceTime camera featuring slight improvements to the old one and an A6 chip.
The New iPhone 5C does feature a slightly bigger battery than the New iPhone 5, but that only seems to have increased the advertised standby time from 225 hours to 250 hours, and lengthened the amount of LTE browsing time slightly; other power consumption figures are unchanged. It's manufactured from a single piece of hardened polycarbonate and is available in five colours: white, pink, yellow, blue, and green.
Apple vice-president Phil Schiller stressed that despite the switch to plastic, Apple is still being environmentally conscious in its manufacturing. The iPhone 5C, he said, is "highly recyclable," featuring arsenic-free glass, a mercury-free display, and plastics that contain no brominated flame retardant (BFR) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The New iPhone 5C is essentially a plastic version of the iPhone 5 - and that's reflected in its cost. The New iPhone 5C with 16 gigabytes (GB) of memory will sell for $739 while a 32GB model will cost $869. Pricing with a two-year contract will be $99 for a 16GB version and $199 for a 32GB version. Unlocked versions without a contract will be more expensive - $549 for 16GB and $649 for 32GB, according to Apple's website
The New iPhone 5S comes in three metallic colors: silver, gold and dark grey. It has a 64-bit A7 chip the company claims will make it work twice as fast as the New iPhone 5. It also includes a chip called M7, a processor dedicated to sensors that detect movements, which will enable the iPhone to support smarter health and fitness apps.
It also has a fingerprint-sensor technology located on the phone's home button, which people can use to unlock their phone and confirm purchases from iTunes and Apple's app store. The phone's main button is made of a sapphire crystal on the outside, with a steel detection ring and the fingerprint sensor underneath.
Like the Iphone 5C, the Iphone5S has a 4-inch Retina display and an 8-megapixel camera with slow-motion video and burst photographic modes. Other new features include improved battery life of 10 hours talk time or 250 hours on standby.
The flagship handset will start at $869 for a model with 16GB of memory. A 32GB model will cost $999 and the top-of-the-line 64GB model will cost $1129. With a two-year contract, the new iPhone 5S with 16GB of storage will go for $199, 32GB will cost $299, and 64GB will cost $399.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 5C will begin on Friday, September 13, and both new designs will be available in stores beginning on September 20.
The new phones will launch in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, and China. Apple says it plans to sell them in 100 countries through 270 carriers by the end of this year.
Apple's shares fell 2.3% to $494.64 in regular trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.