New Delhi: After Tuesday night’s announcement in California, Apple held a separate launch event in China where it announced its new phones, but the prices did not please locals, media reports say. The price in China for the iPhone 5C is 4,488 Chinese yuan, or around $733. This is approximately Rs.46,500, or Rs.1,000 more than the launch price of iPhone 5 in India last year.
It was announced on Tuesday night that the iPhone 5C and 5S will be available in 100 markets this December, including India. The iPhone 5C, whose unlocked price in the US is $549, and the iPhone 5S, whose unlocked price in the US is $649, are both expected to cost more than Rs.40,000 in India.
In 2011 and 2012, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 were launched at $649, and sold in India at Rs.44,500 and Rs.45,500, respectively. The iPhone 5S has also been released at $649, but with the weakened rupee, the price without any taxes or duties is already Rs.41,500.
Most are expecting a price closer to Rs.48,000 for the iPhone 5S, while the iPhone 5C is expected to cost somewhere between Rs.40,000 and Rs.43,000. So far, unlike many other device manufacturers, Apple hadn’t raised the price of their iPhones here in the face of fluctuations in the rupee. Instead, the company has adjusted that against its margins. If the company continues this policy even with the new models, prices might be a little lower, though that seems unlikely right now.
The iPhone 5S, which uses a new chip and includes new sensors and camera technology, is available in three colours including gold, while the slightly cheaper iPhone 5C is essentially an iPhone 5 but has a plastic shell instead of metal, and is available in five colours. Apple also said that the iWork suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) will come free with the new devices. That’s a fair bit of value being added for three extremely useful apps; each of these is sold for Rs.550.
Apple did not make any announcement concerning new iPads or Apple TV, but rumours suggest there might be another event this year for at least iPads.
Part of the disappointment in China and on social networks with the iPhone 5C’s price is no doubt because most rumours before the launch event repeated the notion that the C in the name stood for cheap. However, it appears to be more a reference to colours. With the iPhone 5C being significantly more expensive than many expected, disappointment was natural. However, since the model is essentially an iPhone 5 with new colours and is now available at a lower rate than before, it might not actually hurt the company the way some experts are predicting.
In terms of the hardware, while Apple compared the performance of the iPhone 5S to the original iPhone, launched in 2007, stating that the new CPU, now a 64-bit chipset, is 56 times more powerful, the company didn’t give any comparison with the iPhone 5, which was a little disappointing.
The phone also comes with a new chip that acts as a mini processor for motion sensing, and there are major improvements to the camera technology. For one, Apple claims to have increased the size of the pixels in the image sensor, which will lead to clearer and brighter images. The second change is the addition of two LEDs, one white and the other amber, to keep images taken with flash from looking overexposed.
The other big new feature is the fingerprint scanner, called TouchID, mounted around the home button. This is an optional security feature to unlock your handset, and Apple was quick to assure that the fingerprint is only stored on the phone, and not online.
Overall, Tuesday’s event was not disappointing for the company’s loyalists, and the iPhone 5S has enough new features to distinguish itself from the iPhone 5.