Apple’s ‘budget’ iPhone 5C still not affordable

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Friday, 13 September 2013 12:35pm

Apple unveiled its iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at this week’s launch, with many disappointed about the pricing of its very first ‘budget’ phone, the iPhone 5C. Despite being regarded as one of the most accessible smartphones to people with disabilities, Apple’s smartphones still remains expensive in comparison to others on the market.

Leading up to the announcement, it was hoped that the lower cost iPhone 5C would allow low income earners access to a smartphone with impressive accessibility features. This would have been a significant development for Australians with disabilities.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Disability and Work report, between 1993 and 2009 half the disabled population were not workforce participants, compared to just 17 per cent of the non-disabled population. This means that a large number of the people who need accessible technology most face a disproportionate financial burden. The price tag of the iPhone 5C therefore came as a disappointment. In Australia, the iPhone 5C 16 GB model will cost $739, while the 16GB iPhone 5S will cost $869 – a difference of just $130 between the ‘budget’ and premium models.

While both phones will run on iOS 7, the latest operating system (OS) for Apple’s mobile devices, there are some key differences between the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The most obvious difference between the two iPhones announced this week is the appearance: the iPhone 5S comes in 3 different metallic colours (gold, silver and ‘space grey’) and the iPhone 5C comes in five colours (blue, green, pink, yellow and white). The iPhone 5C is also housed in a plastic rather than metal shell.

Some of the less obvious differences between the two include the speed and a couple of hardware features such as the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the M7 motion co-processor. The iPhone 5S uses the A7 chip which makes it a faster smartphone than the iPhone 5C which is currently powered by an A6 processor. This means that the power of the iPhone 5S is closer to that of a desktop computer.

The iPhone 5S also introduces the Touch ID fingerprint sensor which works as a form of locking or unlocking the smartphone. This can be used in place of passwords when purchasing apps from the App store, for example. This may prove helpful for people who have difficulty with touch screens or using onscreen keyboards as it eliminates the process of typing in passwords when verifying your Apple ID.

Another interesting addition to the iPhone 5S is the M7 motion co-processor which, according to the Apple website, measures “data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.” These are all built into the smartphone and typically used in GPS apps or any apps that have location tracking such as fitness apps. Health is an area which has been highlighted as something in which the motion co-processor will be useful for.

Earlier this year, Media Access Australia reported on the iOS 7 accessibility features announced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. The most significant accessibility improvement to the OS is the Switch Control software, which allows users to navigate the smartphone using a switch access device such as a mouse or alternative keyboard. This is of particular benefit to people with limited hand mobility.

People using previous iPhone models including the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 will be prompted to upgrade their phone’s OS to iOS7.


The iPhone 5C will be in available in Australia for $739 for the 16GB model and $869 for the 32GB model.

The iPhone 5S will be available in Australia for $869 for the 16GB model, $999 for the 32GB model and $1129 for the 64GB model.

While the iPhone 5 will be discontinued in favour of the iPhone 5C, the iPhone 4S will continue to be sold in Australia for $529 for the 8GB model.

When compared to its strongest competitor Samsung, Apple smartphones are still the most expensive smartphones to buy outright. The Samsung Galaxy S4 (16GB model) retails in Australia for $749. The pricing, combined with the improved accessibility of the Android operating system (which comes installed on the Samsung Galaxy S4), makes the Samsung smartphone a good alternative to Apple.  

More detailed information about the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C is available on the Apple website.

Release dates

The iOS 7 software update will be available to download on September 18.

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will be available in Australia on September 20.

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