Apple has unveiled two new handsets: the top-end iPhone 5S and a cheaper iPhone 5C at an event in California.The 5S' Sim-free price ranges from £549 for a 16 gigabyte version to £709 for a 64GB model.The basic 5C model, with 16 gigabytes of storage, has been priced Sim-free at £469. That is more than UK retailers had been charging for the 4S with the same amount of memory.Apple put improved security and bright new colours ahead of aggressive price cuts at the launch of its latest iPhone models, as it sought to broaden its appeal without compromising its premium brand.The iPhone is the firm's most important product in terms of earnings power.
For the first time since the iPhone’s launch in 2007, Apple introduced two new handsets at the same time: the 5S, which carries a fingerprint reader and comes in new silver and gold colours, and the cheaper 5C, sporting brightly coloured plastic casings.The new fingerprint system can be used to unlock the 5S and provide authentication for purchases from Apple's on-line marketplace.This feature would help the handset stand out against its Android rivals.The higher-end iPhone’s new fingerprint reader – which is called “Touch ID” and is built into the home button – will allow users to do away with the lock screen’s numerical passcodes that some smartphone owners use to prevent other people from using their devices.Apple is not the first phone company to offer such a fingerprint reader.Motorola added the facility to its Atrix handset in 2011, but many owners had problems using it. iPhones accounted for 13% of global smartphone shipments in the second quarter, according to research firm IDC, down from 17% for the same period a year earlier. Apple has been losing market share steadily in China to traditional rivals such as Samsung Electronics and emerging Chinese competitors. It currently ranks seventh after local rivals Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Xiaomi. An iPhone5 can sell for as much as Rmb6,400 in China, about twice as much as home-grown rivals.
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