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Apple is doubling down with its newest iPhone, announcing two different models Tuesday including a less expensive plastic model.
The flagship is named the iPhone 5S. Made of aluminum, it will come in three colors: silver, gold and black.
The 5S features a new 64-bit A7 chip the company boasts is 40 times faster than the first iPhone. “It’s a huge leap forward in mobile computing performance,” boasted Apple VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller in announcing the new phone.
Along with the dramatically improved performance, the company is touting the new camera on the 5S. It features a new five-element, Apple-designed lens with f/2.2 aperture and 15 percent larger active sensor area to help improve image quality. It also features a burst mode, auto focus and what the company is calling “True Tone,” which Schiller says allows for two colors of flash to create 1,000 unique variations in flash tone to reduce clashing color temperatures.
The 5S also boasts high-speed, 120fps video recording so you can make slow-motion videos.
“This is DSLR-level stuff,” said Schiller.
Apple will sell the 16GB model for $199. The 32GB model is $299, 64GB is $399, all with a new two-year contract.
One of the completely new features is a fingerprint scanner that eliminates the need to enter a passcode for security. And the new fingerprint scanner lets you make purchases from the iTunes store without a password.
While Apple calls it the most technologically advanced phone ever, it’s not a huge leap. The 5S is the same screen size as its predecessor, the iPhone 5. And Apple says the battery life is just equal to or slightly better than the iPhone 5, leaving some analysts disappointed.
For the first time, Apple is also offering a less expensive model, the iPhone 5C.
“iPhone 5C is beautifully, unapologetically plastic,” said Apple’s design chief Jonathan Ive.
The iPhone 5C will come in five colors: blue, white, pink, yellow, green. It starts at $99 with a mobile contract for a 16GB model, $199 for 32GB. The company is also offering six interchangeable color cases for $29 each.
The iPhone 5C features a 4-inch retina display, like the iPhone 5, as well as an A6 chip inside with what Schiller promises is “blazing-fast performance.” It includes an 8MP iSight camera, with the same lens IR filter on the iPhone 5.
Apple says its next mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be available as a free download on Sept 18.
Craig Federighi, head of software at Apple Inc., said that “downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all new device.”
The new system can be downloaded on the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.
Apple also says it expects to ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month. Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts that iOS 7 will become the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report