Apple iPhone 5S and 5C: how much will you pay?

13 September 2013

Apple has finally unveiled its new wave of iPhones, announcing an upgraded iPhone 5S as well as the much-anticipated cheaper model, the iPhone 5C. Both go on sale on 20 September 2013. But how much are they?

iPhone 5S

The upgraded iPhone 5 comes in three colours: silver, grey or gold. It has a fingerprint scanner - known as Touch ID - meaning users will no longer have to use a PIN to access the phone but will instead unlock their phone with a single touch. Users will also be able to purchase music, books and films via iTunes using their fingerprint.

Here's Apple's prices:
16GB iPhone 5S: £549.
32GB iPhone 5S: £629.
64GB iPhone 5S: £709.

iPhone 5C

The new iPhone 5C was expected to be a much cheaper version of the iPhone 5 - a cheap, entry-level phone that would see Apple take on cheaper Android devices. But the pricing for the iPhone 5C is disappointingly high. However, the 5C has similar specifications to the iPhone 5 and comes in five eye-catching colours that may increase its appeal among younger buyers.

Apple's prices:
16GB iPhone 5C: £469.
32GB iPhone 5C: £549.

Contract prices

Of the major mobile network operators, only O2 and Vodafone have so far announced their pricing structures, even though neither will be able to provide 4G services on the phones immediately when the phones go on sale.

3G deals

For an upfront cost of £119.99, the 16GB iPhone 5S will cost O2 customers £37 a month for 1GB of 3G data plus unlimited texts and calls. For the same upfront cost of £119.99, customers can choose the more expensive £47 a month tariff for 5GB of 4G data as well as unlimited texts and calls.

Vodafone is yet to announce its contract prices for the iPhone 5S.

The 16GB version of the iPhone 5C will set you back £32 a month at O2 for an upfront cost of £49.99 – this gets you 750MB of 3G data plus unlimited texts and 600 minutes. 

Vodafone will charge more for its iPhone 5C tariffs than O2, despite offering less data. For a two-year iPhone 5C 16GB deal, Vodafone will charge £79 for the handset and £33 a month for 500 MB of 3G data, 600 cross network minutes of call time and unlimited texts. 

This averages out at £36.29 a month, compared to O2’s version of the deal that works out at £34.08 a month and comes with an extra 250 MB monthly data allowance.

4G deals

For an upfront cost of £119.99, O2 iPhone 5S 16 GB customers can choose the more expensive £47 a month tariff for 5GB of 4G data as well as unlimited texts and calls.

Or for £99.99 upfront, O2 customers looking for a two-year iPhone 5C 16GB deal will pay £42 a month for 5GB of 4G data plus unlimited texts and calls.

Vodafone’s 4G-ready iPhone 5C deal is also more expensive than O2’s. While it won’t charge anything for the handset to customers signing up for 4GB of 4G data, it will charge them £47 a month with unlimited calls and texts.

However, even with O2 charging customers who want 4G access £99.99 for the handset, the £42 a month tariff comes with 5GB of data – that’s 1GB more than the comparative Vodafone deal – and works out on average at £46.17 a month. 

The verdict

The new devices were greeted warmly by technology and mobile experts in the UK, though Stephen Ebbett, global director of gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble, warned that the Touch ID facility could cause problems.

"Being able to use fingerprint security login for iTunes purchases is a nice touch, if it works," he said. "But while biometrics are typically seen as more robust than password protection - sweat, dirty pockets, hot and cold environments, sun exposure, and other factors can affect the sensitivity and working conditions of the sensor surface.

"Earlier gadgets that have sported fingerprint scanners proved temperamental, and mobile fans will have to wait until they can get their fingers on the 5S to determine if Apple can deliver biometric functionality that is vastly improved."

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at said that the 5C could see Apple steal business from Android manufacturers: "Just as the iPad mini lowered the barrier to entry for wannabe tablet owners, the 5C should do the same for smartphone fans wanting a piece of Apple for less.

"Apple is hoping the 5C will draw popularity away from older iterations of the premium iPhone - they've confirmed they won't lower the price for earlier generation models as usual - and with that price tag, they may well be right.

"Apple's never had an offering for the mid-range smartphone market, leaving Samsung - with a phone for every budget - to clean up. The 5C could well be the trump card needed to trounce Android's hand."

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