Lowdown on the new iPhones - fingerprints and all

APPLE has unveiled two new iPhones: the 5S, which has a significantly faster processor and boasts an extremely cool fingerprint sensor, and the budget 5C version.

These are the phones the company hopes will win back customers lost to Google's rival Android system, but shares of Apple Inc fell 2.3 per cent as investors remained cautious about the stiff competition faced by the Californian firm's products. Earlier in the day, the stock declined as much as 3 per cent.

At Apple's Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino, chief executive Tim Cook focused on the success of the iOS Apple operating software, which he says will be the world's most popular operating system. The new version, iOS 7, is a radical update and is available for many current iPhones from 18 September, for free. It looks so bright, fresh and inviting you might feel you don't need a new phone.

The main innovations include the fingerprint scanner which nestles where the home button sits on other iPhones. It's used to secure your phone and to save you inputting your password when you buy stuff from the iTunes store.

Google has previously included face recognition software in some Android phones but this proved too insecure. We'll see if the iPhone system works better.

There's a new motion sensor chip which will take advantage of the current fad for fitness apps. A new camera system uses larger pixels for better picture quality and advanced focusing capabilities. Some of the features are found on other smartphones but Apple, typically, makes them especially easy to use.

Apple says the new processor makes it twice as speedy than the iPhone 5, and 40 times the speed of the first iPhone. This year there was something genuinely different on offer as well: the iPhone 5C. This is the budget version of the iPhone aimed to win market share in emerging markets, especially China.

It has an impossibly glossy casing (choose from pink, blue, white, yellow and green) and  will be significantly cheaper than previous iPhones at launch. It's a 4G handset too. Some will feel it's not cheap enough, however.

 

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