Video: Apple reveals fingerprint sensor for new iPhone
Company unveils two devices two including a lower-cost model
There were few surprises at Apple’s iPhone event yesterday, as the company unveiled the latest in its line of smartphones.
As widely expected, Apple announced two new devices, including a lower-cost model. It was a major shift in strategy for the company, which has previously only launched one new iPhone model a year.
An upgrade of the current handset, called the 5S, and the company’s nod to the lower cost smartphone market, the iPhone 5C, were the stars of the show as Apple tried to emphasise it could still beat its competitors when it came to innovative smartphone features.
Although the company is known for keeping things under wraps, much of the detail of yesterday’s event had been leaked prior to chief executive Tim Cook taking to the stage in Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, something the Apple chief acknowledged as he told the audience: “A couple of you may have been expecting this.”
“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,” Mr Cook said.
Described by the Apple chief executive as “the most forward-thinking phone we have ever created”, the iPhone 5S represents yet another evolution of the brand, with an upgraded A7 processor, a fingerprint sensor and an improved camera.
The Touch ID fingerprint-sensor technology that is located on the phone’s home button will allow secure access to the device and purchases on the App Store.
According to Apple’s Phil Schiller, the device is the world’s first smartphone to have a 64-bit processor.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said the timing of the launch was “crucial”, as the iPhone’s performance during the current quarter had been largely below expectations, particularly in China.
“It is becoming obvious that Apple can no longer afford to address the whole world as a single market for its iPhone,” he said.
Apple was clearly moving to address that with the new lower-cost iPhone 5C, which comes with a polycarbonate casing.
The 5C has similar specifications to the existing iPhone 5 – including a four-inch display, an A6 chip and eight megapixel camera – but is getting a higher capacity battery and a high-definition front camera for FaceTime.
The smartphone will be available in a range of colours including blue, green, red, yellow and white.
However, Mr Saadi warned that the mass market that the 5C was aimed at is currently “very crowded and characterised by stiff competition and a fierce price war”.
Although most of the details were already well known, one thing that still escaped Irish consumers was a launch date for the devices , with the UK, Germany, France, the US, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Puerto Rico and China getting the iPhone 5S and 5C on September 20th.
Apple promised other countries would follow, with the handsets available in up to 100 countries by December.
Apple’s decision to launch in China in the first wave of markets is a clear indication that the company intends to stand its ground in the fiercely competitive market.
Apple is facing increased competition there from local brands who are keen to replicate the Apple experience at a lower cost.
Mr Cook told attendees at Apple’s event in San Francisco that it will ship its 700 millionth iOS device – which includes iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices – within a couple of weeks.
Android, meanwhile, has activated more than one billion devices.