Apple actually launches a gold iPhone 5S and a plastic iPhone 5C, takes a dig at Android

[UPDATE: Here’s the biggest gag Apple’s ever played on us. The unlocked iPhone 5C 16GB or 32GB cost $549 or $649, respectively. And it will be $649, $749 or $849, for the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB 5S, in that order. But hey, Walmart’s offering discounts on the carrier-bound devices.]

Yes, there’s a gold iPhone 5S. And yes, there’s a plastic iPhone 5C. Apple has just unveiled both apart from waxing eloquent about iOS 7 at the event that’s unfolding as we write. But don’t worry about missing out on anything as you read this – the company has already revealed what you’ll need to know about the new handsets, price and all. Assuming you want to find out if either fits you budget before scrolling through the specs, here goes:

iPhone 5S

The price?

The 5C costs $99 for 16GB and $199 for 32GB. The price tags along service provider contracts as usual. Carrying similar T&C, the 5S is pegged at $199, $299 and $399 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, respectively. Note the $99 and $199 starting prices for the handsets. Apple has finally caved in to the beating it’s been taking from Android makers the world over. The brand can hardly fail to reach a much wider audience with these lowered price points.

iPhone 5S

Earlier today, we saw proof of a fingerprint sensor on the new iPhone. Touch ID is integrated with the home button and serves to unlock the gadget as well as allow easy approval of iTunes/iBooks Store purchases once it records a high-res image of your fingerprint. What’s more, the previously rumored A7 chip inside the device is built on 64-bit architecture for delivering a much faster experience than the A6 can provide.

– Touchscreen: 4 inches, 1136 x 640p resolution
– Camera: 8MP iSight main sensor and 1.2MP front FaceTime lens
– Up to 10 hours of 3G talk time via in-built Li-ion battery
– Gray, gold and silver color options. That’s right, Apple has ditched the traditional black and white, but offers brightly painted cases in black, red, beige, blue, brown or yellow, to keep you happy.

iPhone 5C

iPhone 5C

Taking a dig at Google’s mobile OS, Apple’s Philip Schiller has declared that the iPhone 5C is PVC- and Android-free. The device is crafted from polycarbonate material (meaning it’s still plastic) and backed by a steel frame. A final wrapping of $29 microfiber-lined cases in blue, green, pink, yellow, black or white has been thrown in as optional. Unlike the 5S which has got an M7 motion coprocessor supporting its A7 heart for smoother performance, the 5C is still stuck with the A6 chip.

– Display: 4 inches, 1136 x 640p resolution
– Camera: 1.2MP FaceTime and 8MP iSight sensors
– White, yellow, pink, blue and green color options.

Pre-order and release dates

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5C will kick off on September 13. You’ll be able to jostle your way into stores and buy the 5S or 5C by September 20. The list of countries which are set to welcome them initially cover the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore. Noticed the inclusion of China in this first phase of roll-out? It’s clearly become a market that’s hard to ignore.

iPhone 5C Cases

T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon will be vending these iOS 7 devices stateside. The handsets will be packaged with the EarPods of course. The 5S leather cases can be grabbed for $39 each.

Verdict

There’s no point pretending otherwise; these new releases have failed to stun. The A7 chip and fingerprint sensor are the only points which stand out. Count that – two things. If you’re going to release just one or two phones a year, we expect better, Apple. What do you think?