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Apple launches new high-end iPhone with fingerprint scanner, cheap plastic model

As widely tipped, Apple has launched two new iPhones this morning.

The iPhone 5s is a new high-end model, whose signature feature is a fingerprint scanner - prompting an immediate round of jokes and conspiracy theories about the NSA collecting users' fingerprints.

The 5c ($US199) is Apple's first budget iPhone. It trades the usual metal case for plastic.

Both models will be available in the US, Australia and a number of other countries from September 20 - but New Zealand is not included in the first wave.

"Nothing has been announced," a rep for Apple Australia-NZ told NBR ONLINE.

The iPhone 5s and 5c both run on iOS 7, which is also available as a free upgrade from September 18 for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation). Some features may not be available on all products, Apple says.

Key features at a glance

iPhone 5s (pictured above in "gold" option; click to zoom)

  • 16GB ($US199), 32GB ($299) and 64GB ($399) models*.
  • Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into Home button; can be used to unlock the phone
  • Otherwise the same case as the iPhone 5
  • new A7 chip; Apple says i makes the 5s the first smartphone with all-64 bit architecture; billed as up to twice as fast
  • 8MP camera (same resolution as iPhone 5) with new iSight feature that Apple says boosts low-light performance; new burst mode; slow-mo option for video
  • available in two colours: gold and "space gray"

* The pricing is for two-year locked contracts, so isn't indicative of what we'll see in NZ. In Australia, the 16GB model will cost $A869 ($NZ1015); the 32GB model $A999 ($NZ1167) and the 64GB model $A1129 ($NZ1319).

iPhone 5c

  • 16GB ($US99) and 32GB ($US199) models*
  • plastic case and A6 processor, but otherwise same specs as 5s incl 4-inch Retina display, 8mP iSight camera
  • five colours: blue, green, pink, yellow and white

*The pricing is for two-year locked contracts, so isn't indicative of what we'll see in NZ. In Australia, the 16GB model will sell for $A739 off-contract (a not-so-cheap $NZ853) and the 32GB model for $A869 ($NZ1015).

An 8GB iPhone 4S will become Apple's new budget handset from September 13. Again, there's no pricing yet for NZ, but in the US it will sell for no money up front on a two-year contract.

iOS 7
Visually, Apple's new operating system software of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch abandons the 3D effects and "skeuomorphic" elements of iOS6, such as the Calendar with faux-leather stitching, and the iBooks faux-wood bookshelf. Instead there's a flatter, more minimalist look with lots of translucent effects.

There are also 200 new features including:

  • Control Center, which gives you quick access to the controls you want in one convenient place with just one swipe from the bottom of your screen;
  • Notification Center, now available from the Lock screen so you can see all your notifications with a simple swipe, and the new Today feature gives you an at-a-glance view of your day with a summary of the important details such as weather, traffic, meetings and events;
  • improved Multitasking that gives users the ability to switch between their apps in a more visual and intuitive way, and iOS 7 pays attention to which apps you use most and automatically keeps your content up to date in the background;
  • AirDrop, an entirely new way to quickly and easily share content with people nearby
  • new Camera app filters so you can add real-time photo effects, a square camera option, and you can quickly and easily switch between your four cameras—video, photo, square and panorama—with just a swipe;
  • a redesigned Photos app that introduces Moments, a new way to automatically organise your photos and videos based on time and location;
  • full-screen browsing with Safari’s new redesigned user interface, the new smart search field helps simplify searching, and there’s a new view for your bookmarks and your Safari tabs


Does the iOS 7 redesign go too far?

iOS7: Apple gives its iPhone, iPad software a makeover

Comments and questions

Of course they'll collect fingerprints ... it is not simply "a round of jokes and conspiracy theories". Guess you guys haven't been paying attention to the Snowden leaks?

Top cryptographers are saying we need to rewire the internet from the ground up and all you idiots can say is "jokes and conspiracy theories" ... in fact, with hindsight you probably deserve to treated with the contempt that the spooks are dishing out to you for being so gullible.

Enjoy the techno-baubles of your imprisonment.

Be very careful, with comments like that the GCSB may come looking for you.

Collecting fingerprints? In 2013? A DNA sampler maybe...

I guess we'll never know ... lies, secrecy and fear is how they operate.

I guess you have worked for Apple then...