Seeking out cost-conscious consumers who have gravitated toward inexpensive Android phones, Apple unveiled a much-anticipated cheap model in its popular iPhone series, dubbed the iPhone 5c, at a media event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters on Tuesday.
The iPhone 5c is the first of its kind, coming in a variety of bright colors rather than just white and black. Its casing is made of plastic, rather than the high-strength metal that protects its more expensive cousin, the iPhone 5s, which was also shown to the public in Cupertino. The 5c will be available in white, blue, green, rose and yellow.
"The entire back and sides are made from a single part," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said at Tuesday's event. There are no seams, and the casing is made of polycarbonate reinforced with steel, and is described as "solid" and "dense" feeling.
The iPhone 5c measures 4 inches diagonally, the same as the iPhone 5, and has an 8-megapixel camera like the iPhone 5.
This 16G iPhone 5c will cost $99 and the 32G will cost $199 with a two year contract. While it's not actually "cheap," it is definitely less expensive than Apple's other new phone, the iPhone 5s. There are also six different colored cases will cost $29, which you can mix and match with different colored iPhone 5c's to create different color combinations. The cases have circular cutouts so you can see the color of the iPhone.
The iPhone 5c will be similar to the iPhone 5 in many ways, with a 4-inch display and and 8-megapixel camera. It does not have the fingerprint sensor that is featured on the iPhone 5s. Like the iPhone 5s, the 5c will feature Apple's new operating system, iOS 7.
Apple said that pre-orders for both lines of iPhone begin on Sept. 13. The two phones will go on sale to the public one week later, on Sept. 20.
With the iPhone 5c, Apple hopes to break into markets it has yet to conquer, specifically in China and India, where Apple has been losing out to cheaper, Android-powered smartphones made by Samsung and others. With a less expensive iPhone, Apple hopes to grow its popularity in less developed and poorer areas of the world.
Last week, a factory making parts of the iPhone 5c was tied to labor abuses in China. The China Labor Watch, a non-profit group, found that a U.S.-owned factory was not providing safe and fair environment for its workers. Many of the factory's workers are expected to stand over 11 hours a day and work up to 110 hours of unpaid overtime a month.
See some photos of the iPhone 5c from Apple's presentation below: