The company took "fanatical care" to ensure the "beautifully, unapologetically plastic" 5C feels great to hold, gushed Jonathan Ive, Apple's chief designer. Ive made his comments during a Tuesday video testimonial about the 5C.
The 5C will be available in five colors — green, blue, yellow, pink and white. Apple is also selling rubber covers for the 5C in six different colors at $29 apiece. The 5C features a 4-inch Retina display screen like the iPhone 5 and is powered by Apple's A6 chip. It also has an 8 megapixel camera, live photo filters and a rear cover that lights up.
Apple is hoping loyal customers who have consistently upgrading since the first iPhone came out in 2007 will once again rush out to buy the top-of-the-line model. It's called the iPhone 5S, which Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller hailed "as the gold standard of smartphones" during his turn on stage Tuesday.
As if to hammer the point home, Apple is even selling the 5S in a gold color. It will also be available in silver and "space gray."
The luxury phone contains a 64-bit chip instead of the 32-bit chip used in most smartphones. That will enable it to run applications and play games at speeds twice as fast as the iPhone 5.
In hopes of appealing the hordes of consumers who use their smartphone as their primary cameras, Apple loaded the iPhone 5S with technology designed to automatically produce sharper photos.
The 5S camera is equipped with larger pixels and a larger aperture, which helps capture more light. The phone also has a "true-tone" flash feature that is designed not to clash with the colors in the room or a person's skin color.
The camera, called iSight, has "auto image stabilization," which helps avoid blurry pictures, and a slow-motion option for video. A "burst mode" can take 10 frames per second as long as you hold your finger on the shutter, then find the best one in your camera roll.
The 5S's biggest innovation, though, may be in how it's unlocked. Instead of relying on a four-digit code to gain access to the device, 5S users will have the option of allowing the smartphone to memorize their fingerprints instead. The 5S contains a thin scanner, called "Touch ID," inside the home button on the phone that automatically recognizes a user's selected fingerprint. The fingerprint scanner also can be tied to Apple's iTunes and apps store to remove the need to type in passwords to access those services, too.
In a nod to privacy concerns, Apple said the copies of the fingerprints won't be stored in its own data centers.
Analysts believe the fingerprint scanner eventually could open up a new source of revenue for Apple if the company is able to work out deals to use the technology to automatically process payments made when people are shopping on their iPhones and iPads.
Ortutay reported from New York.