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Apple Unveils Pair of New iPhones, Fingerprint Sensor

Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:28pm
Andrew Berg

Apple today unveiled new iPhones during an event at its Cupertino, CA headquarters. The company took wraps off a cheaper iPhone, the iPhone 5C, as well the iPhone 5S, which will service as the high-end iteration of its flagship smarpthone.

The iPhone 5S features the usual list of specficiation upgrades, from a bump to a 64-bit A7 processor, to a better camera. But perhaps the most differentiating feature of the 5S was the device's Touch ID fingerprint-sensing home button.

The Touch ID sensor, which will allow users to sign onto their devices or into their Apple account by simply touching the home button. The Touch ID sensor is a capacitive and comes in at 170 microns thin, with 500 ppi resolution. According to Apple it scans sub-epidermal skin layers, and can read a fingerprint from 300 degrees.

Apple said that all fingerprint data is encrypted and locked in the device's A7 chip, noting that it is never directly accessible by software, and is not stored on Apple’s servers and never backed up to iCloud. 

The iPhone 5S, will be available with a 2-year contract for $199 (16GB) $299 (32GB), and $399 (64GB). The 5S will come in three "elegant expressions," including, gold, silver and "space gray". 

The new iPhone 5C, which will be served up in 5 different colors, will serve as Apple's lower-end device. The 5C emerges as a divergence from the company's strategy of discounting past models as new iterations are introduced. However, the company did say it would offer the iPhone 4S for free. 

The iPhone 5C will be available with a 2-year contract for $99 (16GB) and $199 (32GB). 

The iPhone 5C will be available for pre-order on September 13th, and both the iPhone 5S and 5C will go on sale beginning Sept. 20. 

All of the new hardware hinges on a completely revamped operating system in iOS 7, which the company said will be availalbe for download on Sept. 18. The new iteration of iOS brings with it a host of new software enhancements, including photo filters, a burst mode for the iPhone's camera, as well as the ability to shoot video in slow-motion. 

Users that upgrade to iOS 7 will also find that Apple automatically downloads its creative suite to the device, which includes Numbers, Keynote and Pages. As part of iOS 7 and in an effort to better compete with offerings from Microsoft and Google, Apple has moved Numbers, Keynote and Pages to its iCloud service where documents can be accessed from any device via the cloud. 

Shares of Apple remained relatively flat throughout the presentation but then dropped a point to settle in just under $500 as Apple CEO Tim Cook closed the presentation.

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