Apple Inc unveiled on Tuesday an iPhone with a fingerprint scanner to help it stand out in a crowded field of similar smartphones, plus a cheaper plastic model for emerging markets that proved pricier than expected.
It’s nearly an Apple tradition at this point: whenever the company unveils its latest iPhone, older models are used to fill the free and $99 on-contract price points. But with the announcement of the iPhone 5c today — which starts at $99 —Apple’s decided to discontinue the iPhone 5. It’s simple, really: the 5c fills the price point that would have been occupied by a discounted iPhone 5. The ancient iPhone 4 has been discontinued as well, but, surprisingly, the company will continue to sell the nearly two-year-old iPhone 4s. It will be sold for no upfront cost on a two-year contract.
The pricier “5S” begins at $199 with a contract and also comes in three colors – gray, silver and gold. It sports a faster processor, a camera that takes bursts of photos and chooses the best, and the fingerprint-scanner that unlocks the phone with a touch.
It also includes a separate chip, called the “M7 Motion co-processor”, which can track motion data continuously without heavily draining the battery.
iPhone 5S – Available in silver, gold and ‘space grey’, iPhone 5s features an A7 chip, a Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor, ultra-fast wireless, an iSight camera with a larger 8MP sensor and iOS 7.
iPhone 5C – Available in green, blue, yellow, pink and white, iPhone 5c features an A6 chip, ultra-fast wireless, an 8MP iSight camera and iOS 7.
Apple stock had gained more than 11 percent over the past month, in a typical rally ahead of a big product launch. Tuesday’s sell-off also reflected a post-event pattern.
The cheaper phone goes on sale online on Friday, while the pricier gadget will be available from September 20. For the first time, it will sell in China at the same time as the United States, a move expected to severely curtail the underground market for smuggled phones in the world’s No. 2 economy.
The 5C marks a departure from Apple’s focus on purely premium phones, but not as much as some expected.