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Apple launch: It might be plastic but new iPhone isn't cheap

APPLE dashed hopes of a 'cheap iPhone' last night with a new colourful plastic model that will cost at least €600 to buy without being tied to a mobile contract when it goes on sale in Ireland next month.

The iPhone 5C was launched as the cheaper of two new smartphones from the US tech giant. It will feature the same shape and screen as the existing iPhone 5, but will be made in cheaper plastic and will come in a range of colours.

Apple also launched an upgraded high-end smartphone, the 5S, which features a fingerprint identification scanner aimed at replacing smartphone passwords. The handset also comes with a high-end camera, faster graphics and will be available in a golden colour. The phone will cost a minimum of €700 unlocked – or without a contract– when it arrives in Ireland next month.

The company has lowered the price of its existing mid-range iPhone 4S to €400 (unlocked), while it will no longer sell its current entry-level model, the iPhone 4.

The head of Ireland's largest mobile phone retail chain said that while it was a missed opportunity for Apple in terms of pricing, the colourful handsets would prove to be popular with customers.

"It's a bit of a shame that they didn't bring the new phones in at a lower price point," said Peter Scott, head of Carphone Warehouse in Ireland. "I was hoping that they could come in significantly lower than that. At that price, it will be very hard to see it on prepay. However, the colours on the iPhone 5C will work really well. We know this because when we do colour exclusives on handsets, it usually has a good reaction."

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The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc speaks during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook

A staff member sets up the new iPhone 5Ss for a display picture at Apple Inc's announcement event in Beijing, September 11, 2013

A staff member sets up the new iPhone 5Ss for a display picture at Apple Inc's announcement event in Beijing, September 11, 2013

A journalist checks her iPod at Apple Inc's announcement event in Beijing, September 11, 2013

A journalist checks her iPod at Apple Inc's announcement event in Beijing, September 11, 2013

Members of the media review the new iPhone  5c during a new product announcement at Apple headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, in Cupertino, Calif

Members of the media review the new iPhone 5c during a new product announcement at Apple headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, in Cupertino, Calif

Members of the media review the new iPhone  5c during a new product announcement at Apple headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, in Cupertino, California

Members of the media review the new iPhone 5c during a new product announcement at Apple headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, in Cupertino, California

Members of the media review the new iPhone  5c during a new product announcement at Apple headquarters

Members of the media review the new iPhone 5c during a new product announcement at Apple headquarters

Members of the media review the new iPhone  5c and 5s

Members of the media review the new iPhone 5c and 5s

Singer Elvis Costello (R) speaks with Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook (L) after Apple Inc's media event where Costello performed in Cupertino, California

Singer Elvis Costello (R) speaks with Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook (L) after Apple Inc's media event where Costello performed in Cupertino, California

Singer Elvis Costello waits after Apple Inc's media event where Costello performed in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

Singer Elvis Costello waits after Apple Inc's media event where Costello performed in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

The gold colored version of the new iPhone 5S

The gold colored version of the new iPhone 5S

Elvis Costello, performs after the new product release in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. Apples latest iPhones will come in a bevy of colors and two distinct designs, one made of plastic and the other that aims to be the gold standard of smartphones and reads your fingerprint

Elvis Costello, performs after the new product release in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. Apples latest iPhones will come in a bevy of colors and two distinct designs, one made of plastic and the other that aims to be the gold standard of smartphones and reads your fingerprint

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook talks about the iTunes Festival

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook talks about the iTunes Festival

People check out several versions of the new iPhone 5C after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

People check out several versions of the new iPhone 5C after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

The gold colored version of the new iPhone 5S is seen after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

The gold colored version of the new iPhone 5S is seen after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

Singer Elvis Costello performs

Singer Elvis Costello performs

Singer Elvis Costello (L) waves from the stage with Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook (R)

Singer Elvis Costello (L) waves from the stage with Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook (R)

The exploded view of the home button which doubles as a fingerprint sensor is seen on an image of the new iPhone 5S

The exploded view of the home button which doubles as a fingerprint sensor is seen on an image of the new iPhone 5S

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc, talks about the camera in the new iPhone 5S

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc, talks about the camera in the new iPhone 5S

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc, speaks on stage

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc, speaks on stage

The new iPhone 5S Touch ID fingerprint recognition feature

The new iPhone 5S Touch ID fingerprint recognition feature

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple Inc's media event

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc talks about iOS7 during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California

Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple Inc talks about iOS7 during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc, talks about the new iPhone 5S

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc, talks about the new iPhone 5S

An image of the new iPhone 5C

An image of the new iPhone 5C

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen on screen

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen on screen

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, speaks on stage

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, speaks on stage

The introduction of the new iPhone 5c in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013

The introduction of the new iPhone 5c in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013

An image of the new iPhone 5

An image of the new iPhone 5

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen on screen

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen on screen

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California

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The five colors of the new iPhone 5C

Mr Scott also praised the improved battery life.

"The camera sounds fantastic and a longer battery life will be very welcome," he said. "I'm not too sure about the fingerprint security feature, it may be gimmicky."

Mr Scott said that it remained to be seen whether the new handsets would tempt customers using other smartphones such as Samsung and Android users.

Apple also announced that its updated operating system, iOS 7, will be available to download free from September 18. New phones will also come with a number of free apps such as iMovie, iPhoto and iWork.

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As of last night, a launch date for Ireland was not announced. The handsets will be available in big European countries such as Germany and France on September 20.


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