Apple has revamped the iPhone by launching two new handsets at its California headquarters – including one that has a fingerprint reader.
The firm’s chief Tim Cook confirmed rumours that the high-end iPhone 5S would be equipped with a fingerprint scanner to unlock the device and put an end to the days of passwords.
He promised the cheaper iPhone 5C would come with “all the great technology that customers have loved” on its previous models – but analysts said it was “nowhere near” as cheap as some had predicted.
The “budget” version of the iPhone – launched at a time when Apple arguably faces stiffer competition than ever – will be an obvious rival to some of the low-cost gadgets sold by the firm’s
Mr Cook introduced the device during a presentation at Apple’s California base – streamed live at a conference in Berlin – which he also used to introduce the iPhone 5S, “the most forward-
thinking phone we have ever created”.
The new flagship mobile – dubbed the “gold standard in smartphones” by the tech giant – will come in more traditional Apple colours of silver and slate grey as well as a new golden hue.
The cheaper 5C costs $99 (£63) over a two-year contract or $736 (£469) as a one-off payment.
It is billed as a handset that will be “more fun” than any iPhone yet and will come in a range of five vivid colours: blue, white,pink, yellow and green.
It was finally shown to the world after a series of images leaked online claimed to show the 5S while the web was awash with speculation that Apple would also branch out with a budget device.
Mr Cook raised a laugh as he told the audience: “A couple of you may have been expecting this.”
He added: “The business has become so large that this year we are going to replace the iPhone 5 and we are going to replace it with not one but two new designs.
“This allows us to serve even more customers.”
Apple’s Philip Schiller told the audience: “iPhone 5S is the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, delivering desktop class architecture in the palm of your hand.”
He raised a massive round of applause as he introduced the fingertip scanner – named Touch ID – which, he said, would provide a “simple and secure way to unlock your phone with just a touch of your finger.”
The security feature is built into the home button and uses a laser cut sapphire crystal along with a sensor to take a high-resolution image of a user’s fingerprint.
According to Apple, the technology can “intelligently analyse” the print to provide accurate readings from any angle.
All fingerprint information is encrypted and the firm has insisted it will never be stored on Apple servers.
Beyond unlocking the phone, the feature can be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store, Apple said.
It has promised customers that all actions on the device would be faster than on previous handsets, from launching apps and editing photos to playing graphic-intensive games.
The phone will be available in the UK for a suggested retail price of £549 for the 16GB model, £629 for the 32GB model and £709 for the 64GB model.
Investors seemed unimpressed with Apple’s latest gadgets. The company’s shares closed down $11.53 at $494.64 after briefly surging to $507.45 on anticipation of the launch.
Jason Jenkins, editor of technology site CNET, said Apple has made a play for the “geeks” it “lost” to Android with the 5S.
He said: “Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One are known for containing very fast processors, while iPhones have been left behind.
“By using a technology called 64-bit processing, Apple is hoping to leapfrog the competition and attract the high-spending, nerdy crowd that like owning a phone that is technically faster than everyone else’s.”
He said the plastic iPhone 5S “looks to be a good buy” but was “nowhere near as cheap as we were hoping for”.