Apple’s smartphone selection is about to receive a shake up as two new models will be added to their lineup and production of the iPhone 5 will stop altogether. The long rumoured iPhone 5c was unveiled last week alongside another new Apple handset, the iPhone 5s, providing customers with a top, mid and low end option. While many predicted the arrival of the 5s and 5c, there were one or two raised eyebrows at some of the announcements.
In total, there will now be three iPhone models available; the 4s, 5c and 5s, meaning that there are decisions to be made on features and pricing. It was expected that the 5c would be the “cheap” option for those looking to buy an iPhone, however, the 4s will actually be the cheapest iPhone on the market with the 5c priced slightly lower than the high-end 5s. In the UK, a SIM free device will be priced as follows:
iPhone 5s - £549 (16GB model), £629 (32GB model), £709 (64GB model) iPhone 5c - £469 (16GB model), £549 (32GB model) iPhone 4s - £349 (8GB model)
The specifications of each device naturally reflect their price, and despite appearances, the 5c actually houses some impressive hardware. Only slightly less advanced than the 5s, the only glaringly obvious difference is the plastic casing. This seems to be sticking point for some people, as its budget look has led to some surmise that the “c” stands for “cheap”. A notable feature of the iPhone 5s is the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor used to unlock the device, meaning that your phone is much more secure than when using a passcode. The 5s also comes in three metallic colours: Silver, Gold and Space Grey (not quite sure what is “space” about the grey though).
Both the 5s and 5c will come with new operating system iOS 7 already installed, with an update ready to be downloaded for the 4s. The iPhone range has almost become a variation on a theme, and depending on your budget you can buy a lower spec model without feeling behind, or that you have an old or lesser model. Apple users at BirchenallHowden HQ have given their opinions on the latest releases, and what they think about the pricing and new features:
I think that the new plastic, ‘fisher-price’ aesthetic of the 5c is a bit of a contradiction to both the price point and Apple's established branding. It does, however solve the first world problem of picking up the wrong phone because all iPhones look the same – now there’s only a 1 in 5 chance of that happening!
As for the 5s – a gold iPhone? It was bound to happen eventually. If it’s going to cost its weight in gold it should look the part. I am a big fan of the two-tone gloss/matte finish on the iPhone 5 and embrace the expanded range of choice. Plus, this could be clever marketing on Apple’s part: when your two options are either the garish 5c or the slick 5s (with added fingerprint technology) then the £60 premium required for the latter seems negligible. - Joe Tonks
Both the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5c are similar specifications to cheaper Android devices, and the iPhone 5s is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy 4 (which is also cheaper than the iPhone 5c). With Apple you are paying a premium for what is usually a premium device. The ecosystem Apps are standardised and Apple ensure that developers use their list of APIs (which comes with both good and bad points).
The price gap between the three devices seems roughly about right but they still seem a little high in comparison with other, similar devices. In my opinion, if you look at other manufacturers' handsets with comparable specifications, you could argue that the 4s, 5c and 5s are all expensive models. - Neal Stirk
Will I get a 5s? – No. Why do I want a phone that essentially looks the same as my iPhone 5, only slightly more powerful and starting at a price of £549? Unless I’m using it to play the latest games I don’t see the point.
Will I get a 5c? – No. I wouldn't want to buy the same phone again in plastic. It is a tempting entry level phone, albeit a little pricey. I feel that the iPhone 5s and 5c have been a case of a boardroom marketing researchers meddling with the iPhone yearly hardware update while we await the iPhone 6. Apple is supposed to be a market leader and trend setter - not a market responding compromiser.
Apple also announced iOS 7 with the 5s and 5c and I have to say, after using it for a while, I would highly recommend the update. iOS 7 is the one that we have been waiting for since iOS 5. It's an overhaul packed with new features and a new design. It is a true testament to Jonny Ives taking over iOS. - Jonathan Ford