Apple Unveils Lower-Cost iPhone 5C


SAN FRANCISCO – Apple kept the focus on its moneymaking iPhone franchise at it Tuesday press conference, unveiling a refreshed lineup that includes a model that starts at $99 to hit a new cohort of smartphone users.

The company is looking to capture a bigger share of the global smartphone market by replacing its current-generation iPhone 5 with two new multi-hued iPhone 5C models priced starting at $99.

At a launch event at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., campus, Apple also unveiled the higher-powered and pricier iPhone 5S, which the company claimed doubles performance of the original iPhone 5 and is available with gold, silver and metallic gray casings.

The iPhone 5C, which is $99 with a two-year service contract for the 16 gigabyte model and $199 for the 32 GB version. It’s available in five colors: the classic white, as well as green, blue, red and yellow. The 5S starts at $199 for 16 gigabyte model (with two-year contract).

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is on track to ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month — including 380 million-plus iPhones. In the past, Apple has cut the price of prior-generation products, but with the iPhone 5C the company is “replacing” the previous product line, he said.

The iPhone 5C will be available Sept. 13 for preorder, with both 5S and 5C available at retail on Sept. 20 in countries including China.

The new iPhones include a fingerprint-reader, with the Touch ID feature providing biometric security tied to an individual user. With Touch ID, users can unlock the phone with a single button push as well as purchase content on iTunes. According to Apple, about half of iPhone owners do not password-protect their devices.

To show the horsepower of the 5S, Apple’s first iPhone to run a 64-bit chip, the company demonstrated Epic Games’ ”Infinity Blade III” action game, which will be available when the device ships. Apple also touted the 5S’s better camera lens and imaging features, with the ability to capture slo-mo video mode at 120 frames per second.

Apple also announced that the next generation of its device operating system, iOS 7, will launch Sept. 18. The update includes 200 enhancements, including improved multitasking, an “elegant color palette,” refined typography, better photo navigation and iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on music users listen to on iTunes.

Apple’s stock price oscillated during the event. After opening at $506.17 per share, it climbed to $507.05 a half-hour into the presentation before settling below pre-open levels of under $502 per share by the end of the event.