back to article New iPhones: C certainly DOESN'T stand for 'Cheap'

You wanted new iPhones and you got them. But if anything, the most surprising thing about Apple's big Tuesday reveal was just how little it managed to keep secret from the tech media ahead of the event. As predicted, Cupertino unveiled not one but two new iPhone models – a first – and just like everyone thought, they are named …

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  1. Ketlan
    Trollface

    Affordability my arse

    'New iPhones are just what you expected – unless you expected affordability'

    Hands up everyone who thought the new 'cheap' iPhones would actually be cheap. I thought not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Affordability my arse

      >"So how much will all this set you back? Not too much, as it turns out... $849"

      $850 "not too much" for A FUCKING PHONE? What the hell is McAllister smoking? $100 bills steeped in mescaline? Methinks El Reg could cut the staff salaries a bit.

      And why no mention of the prices of the unashamedly plasticy cheapo rehash model?

      And, speaking as a chemist, WTF is "It's manufactured from a single piece of hardened polycarbonate" supposed to mean? Marketeer for "an injection moulded blob of uber-scratchable plastic with a toughened-glass-esque sales spin applied"? Or have they actually managed to innovate an industry standard ever so slightly less uber-scratchable paint/lacquer finish onto it? My mind is boggling with excitement.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Affordability my arse

        Ah no! Found it...

        $650 for last years model shoved into a cheapo polycarbonate case. Bargain! Think I'll buy ten. Be the envy of morons across the land I will.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Affordability my arse

        If I wanted a bright coloured phone I would get a Nokia Lumia. Superior technology and a better OS is available on Lumias too...

        1. Mark .

          Re: Affordability my arse

          Indeed (plus Samsung at least have been doing a range of colours for their phones too). It's interesting to note that one of the biggest criticisms now for WP is that MS are slow in getting support for full HD.

          Full HD - 1920x1080.

          Meanwhile, the "retina" display has yet to reach the 720p HD that Android phones were doing almost two years ago.

        2. Edwin

          Re: Affordability my arse

          Plus it's CHEAPER than the affordable iPhone...

        3. Eadon Trifles

          Re: Affordability my arse

          Apple are now becoming so predictable. Coloured plastic backs are indeed the signature of the Lumia range of phones. They take a little from one rival, a little from another, mix it all together and then condemn the rest as ripping THEM off! Hypocrites!

          YES the 5C phones ARE much cheaper, just not to the CONSUMERS. Nice way to grow margin.

          Let's be bold and make a prediction - new range of ipad / ipad minis with PLASTIC BACKS! Whoo!

          Who'd have thought that?

          Fingerprint reader - YAWN. Innovation? Had it on an old lenovo laptop - I hope they've thought of a bypass for it so techies can work on the bloody things without requiring one of your fingers....

      3. Robert Grant

        Re: Affordability my arse

        I know it sounds like griping, but you'll never get an even remotely mainstream journalist writing honestly about the iPhone's flaws, because it'll alienate so many (normally right-thinking, but weirdly fanatical about Apple) readers and will be claimed to be disproven because it'll still sell pretty well.

        I'd say the articles should be summarised as follows: the iPhone is now looking extremely overpriced, with good and better competition from other companies in the market. It no longer even appears to lead in hardware design. The only real reason to buy it is the current maturity of the App Store relative to other stores, but even this is much less apparent than it used to be, and you can probably re-buy all of your non-free apps in another ecosystem and still have a lot more money in your bank account.

        1. Mark .

          Re: Affordability my arse

          Sadly true. Odd that the "but it sells well" never works for the sales on Windows (including 8), or Symbian which was the number one until 2011, and outsold iphone even after then; or indeed Android's overwhelming 75-80% market share today. Plus the metric for whatever sells well will always be twisted (e.g., iphone was a success after one million sales, yet selling millions is a failure for Surface, and the best selling smartphone of all time, the 2009 Nokia 5230 with 150 million sales, is completely ignored).

          Note that Google Play now leads in apps - I believe they were first to reach the one million milestone.

          Did it ever lead in hardware design? It had some up points (e.g., first with a GPU), but also some down points (e.g., rubbish resolution compared to the competition back in 2007-2009, and first version didn't even support 3G). The Android and even WP flagship hardware now soar passed it, and have done since around the S2, I would say.

      4. That Awful Puppy
        Pint

        Re: Affordability my arse

        While I'm unashamedly a Cupertino fanboi and while I do love the not-so-bloody-serious look of the 5C, this line had me spitting coffee all over my shiny MacBook Air.

        "Marketeer for "an injection moulded blob of uber-scratchable plastic with a toughened-glass-esque sales spin applied"?"

        Well done, sir, and have a beer, you deserve it.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Affordability my arse

        What the hell is McAllister smoking?

        so wait, it's not okay for him to use sarcasm, but perfectly fine for you to smother both your post and your follow-up afterwards in the stuff??

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Affordability my arse

          >so wait, it's not okay for him to use sarcasm, but perfectly fine for you to smother both your post and your follow-up afterwards in the stuff??

          Who said "it's not ok" and what's wrong with reciprocating in kind?

      6. Moosh

        Re: Affordability my arse

        Iphone 5c for $99 on a fucking 2 year contract? Jesus christ, that's more than i'll be paying for the bloody Xperia ZU when I get it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Affordability my arse

          "$99 on a 2 year contract" is utterly meaningless without knowing what you get on the contract and what the monthly subscription is....

          Phone companies can only use this approach for really gullible and clueless punters that can't comprehend the total cost of a contract. I note that it seems to be standard practice in the USA....

      7. Robert Forsyth

        Re: Affordability my arse

        @03:15 GMT Anonymous Coward

        Polycarbonate is used for bullet proof glass, a'nt it? In 2011 Nokia were machining* the phone case out of a single piece of polycarbonate, Apple are innovating again.

        * I think they meant machine finishing: mould it roughly the right shape then precise cut with machine tool.

      8. Mike Flugennock

        Re: Affordability my arse

        Speaking as a non-chemist -- but an old spaceflight geek -- polycarbonate is also the stuff they make pressure suit helmets out of with, as I recall, a similar molding process.

    2. amanfromearth

      Re: Affordability my arse

      That aside, it looks like Apple have lost their mojo. Jobs would not have sanctioned this product lineup. Where is the insanely greatness in in anything released since his passing.

      Sorry apple, you are just too slow to innovate and lack imagination.

      RIP Steve.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Affordability my arse

        Fingerprint sensor that looks like it might actually be useful (for unlock and app purchasing) - AND might actually work,

        All-new 64bit SoC - pretty damn amazing in a PHONE, FFS

        Separate motion co-pro means future accessories won't need to fire up the whole A7 to get their thing on, sounds innovative to me...

        Camera that will probably take better pics than your average $150 compact,

        I'm not sure what you're looking for exactly in terms of innovation, but if this doesn't flick your switch you might be in for a long wait. I thought readers on this site were supposed to be interested in what's under the shell, and THAT is pretty damn innovative here.

        The 5C on the other hand, not so much.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Affordability my arse

          >Fingerprint sensor that looks like it might actually be useful (for unlock and app purchasing) - AND might actually work,

          Rather than pins, passwords, gestures, etc... which all DO actually work?

          >All-new 64bit SoC - pretty damn amazing in a PHONE, FFS

          - pretty damn demented in a PHONE, FFS

          >Separate motion co-pro means future accessories won't need to fire up the whole A7 to get their thing on, sounds innovative to me...

          Can't see much purpose in making the handset constantly aware of it's motion while it's dormant. Isn't that what wearable stuff is supposed to be about doing better anyway?

          >Camera that will probably take better pics than your average $150 compact,

          A joke? Any $150 compact will wipe the floor with your $700 iShiny.

          1. NogginTheNog

            Re: Affordability my arse

            ">All-new 64bit SoC - pretty damn amazing in a PHONE, FFS

            - pretty damn demented in a PHONE, FFS"

            I recall a conversation with a friend of a friend MANY years ago when I said his dad was crazy for buying a 486 computer for the family. That was only really needed in a server (such as they were back then!), not a desktop... ;-)

          2. Lusty Silver badge

            Re: Affordability my arse

            "Rather than pins, passwords, gestures, etc... which all DO actually work?"

            You mean like the PIN that people can see over your shoulder, or the thing on Android that actually draws the passcode in bright green for all to see? This isn't going to be highly secure but it can and will stop casual breaking in on phones, and a lot of Fraping no doubt.

            1. Kunari

              Re: Affordability my arse

              You can shut off the "green line" on Android for the pattern unlock screen.

          3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: Affordability my arse

            >>Fingerprint sensor that looks like it might actually be useful (for unlock and app purchasing) - AND might actually work,

            > Rather than pins, passwords, gestures, etc... which all DO actually work?

            .. and which are forgotten, copied, written on sticky pads etc etc. Usual for and against arguments apply.

            >>All-new 64bit SoC - pretty damn amazing in a PHONE, FFS

            > - pretty damn demented in a PHONE, FFS

            Matter of opinion, see next for a possible use of all that power. Personally, what I see happen here is exactly what happened when Psion went from 8 bit organisers to SIBO (16 bit organiser): deployment in an easy device before expanding the technology through the range. Is the iPad 64bit? If not, I know where this chip will show up next.

            >>Separate motion co-pro means future accessories won't need to fire up the whole A7 to get their thing on, sounds innovative to me...

            > Can't see much purpose in making the handset constantly aware of it's motion while it's dormant. Isn't that what wearable stuff is supposed to be about doing better anyway?

            Not dormant, but not in need of A7 processing - it's a subsystem. Duh. Same reason you have a separate graphics card which kicks the crap out of your main processor when it comes to chewing on graphic calculations. One of the possible reasons for this is ..

            >>Camera that will probably take better pics than your average $150 compact,

            > A joke? Any $150 compact will wipe the floor with your $700 iShiny.

            .. the camera stabilisation. The idea of taking a couple of images with motion data attached is new, because acquiring and processing that data takes power too - hey, hello, a subsystem suddenly makes sense. And not having moving parts like gyros means less mechanics, ergo less risk of mechanical failure.

            Oh, and ever tried to make calls with a $150 compact? No? Funny that.. I'm Ok with sensible arguments, yours aren't.

            1. LyingMan

              Re: Affordability my arse

              >>>Fingerprint sensor that looks like it might actually be useful (for unlock and app purchasing) - AND might actually work,

              >> Rather than pins, passwords, gestures, etc... which all DO actually work?

              >.. and which are forgotten, copied, written on sticky pads etc etc. Usual for and against arguments apply.

              ... ah, iUsers.. Forgot all about them ... Sorry!

              Camera Stabilisation -

              -.. is a misnomer as neither the camera nor the optical system is stabilised.

              If there is motion, the photos could be messed up regardless of the motion chip captured data. 'Cos, motion chip just captures data, does not apply corrections!

              Also you have not used a recent £150 (well, I am a Brit!) compact.. Takes really good pictures nowadays.. Welcome to the present! One can even get a optical image stabilizer with optical zoom if one looks for even the £80 compacts! Don't you come here badmouthing the compacts, you Villain!

              1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

                Re: Affordability my arse

                Camera Stabilisation -

                -.. is a misnomer as neither the camera nor the optical system is stabilised.

                Yup - inaccurate wording there - you're right.

                If there is motion, the photos could be messed up regardless of the motion chip captured data. 'Cos, motion chip just captures data, does not apply corrections!

                Correct, but what I see here is a possible different approach which seems to align this heavy duty motion processing with the camera. To be honest, I can't see *that* much need for motion sensing otherwise, but that may just be a lack of imagination on my part :). What can happen here is basically a removal of mechanics for this insane quest for ever thinner phones - I would have preferred someone to use that space to give more battery power, but it appears Apple seems to think we all just move from charger to charger during the day.

                Also you have not used a recent £150 (well, I am a Brit!) compact.. Takes really good pictures nowadays.. Welcome to the present! One can even get a optical image stabilizer with optical zoom if one looks for even the £80 compacts! Don't you come here badmouthing the compacts, you Villain!

                :). I wouldn't. I've been a long time user of the Panasonix Lumix range besides my DSLR. I just don't think you can say "more expensive than" if you are talking about devices that just happen to share one single function, namely taking picture - that's comparing apples to oranges, if you pardon the pun..

          4. Mark .

            Re: Affordability my arse

            The odd thing about 64-bit is that with the small amounts of RAM that iphones have compared to the competition (does this still have 1GB?), at the moment this seems pointless. OTOH, with Android phones now reaching 3GB, it won't be long before they need 64-bit to make use of more. But then, I suspect that Samsung et al will quietly switch to 64-bit when it's actually required, rather than trying to grab a headline on some spec. (The first 64-bit tablet was presumably the Surface Pro, or perhaps some other Windows one, but I don't see the Register praising that point.)

            Fingerprints and motion processors are gimmicks. Nothing wrong with gimmicks - but it seems like the S4 announcement had about 20 of them, rather than 2.

        2. Goldmember

          Re: Affordability my arse

          Fingerprint sensors aren't anything new. They've been around on HP laptops (and others) for years. But they were unreliable in real world situations, and would stop working when dust got into them. We ended up disabling them as standard on all new laptops at our company.

          Maybe this one will be better, but looking at the amount of dust and fluff my phone accumulates after a few weeks spent in pockets, I wouldn't want to risk it. There's no mention of whether you can disable the feature on the new iShiny, but to me it seems like an unnecessary (and costly) extra.

        3. John Hughes

          my 64 bits

          "All-new 64bit SoC - pretty damn amazing in a PHONE, FFS"

          What's the point of 64 bit addressing in a device with less than 4Gb of memory?

          All it does is reduce the amount of useful memory (addresses take twice the space).

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: my 64 bits

            64 bit addressing could be used for a unified memory architecture - I think that's the term currently in use to describe the scheme where volatile and non-volatile storage can be addressed identically.

            64 bit addressing is optional, 32 bit addressing op codes still work fine otherwise you'd need to recompile 32 bit code to work on a 64bit system rather than just run it.

            64 bit processing can improve data throughput, performance and therefore power usage for some computational tasks.

            So while if you look at 64 bits purely when it comes to addressing (more than) "4Gb of memory" on a phone then it doesn't make so much sense, but taken in the long run and when accessing non-volatile storage makes a lot of sense.

        4. David Cantrell

          64 bit my arse (was Re: Affordability my arse)

          No, a 64 bit CPU in a phone is not amazing, it's pointless. Unless you've got huge amounts of memory to address, a 64 bit CPU is actively bad. It wastes board space, wastes power, and, unless they've done something funky with the memory architecture, wastes memory because of alignment issues.

          1. John 172

            Re: 64 bit my arse (was Affordability my arse)

            So you've never used a 64 bit CPU then? If you had you'd know what's useful about it. It's not just about address space and I've yet to see a 64 bit CPU that can actually address a 64 bit address space, the physical addressability is often only in the 40+ bit ball park. Native 64 bit general purpose registers, often more general purpose registers, wider internal pathways, wider deeper write combining buffers, etc. If you're code is packed full of pointers you want to re-think it with a more implicit data layout so pointers aren't used so heavily, you'll find the end result runs faster too due to less de-referencing and possibly better data->cache line locality.

        5. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Affordability my arse

          You have a faster CPU and a slightly better camera, which you get any time you get a new phone. Nothing particularly amazing there. I've never heard anyone complain that their existing iPhone 5 is too slow. The iPhone 5 camera is pretty decent, but it isn't the best, so Apple are playing catch-up here.

          So you have a fingerprint sensor to replace the lock screen pin and iCloud password. Maybe it is better than some of the fingerprint sensors I've seen in the past that didn't really work. We will see, but it isn't really a compelling reason to buy a new phone.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Lord Elpuss

          Wow you are pleased with an $850 device that'll take pictures like an average $150 camera. And just why is 64bit so amazing? oh yeah cos big number ain't it. "AND might actually work" but then again it "might" not. I bet you'll really enjoy your gold phone. And the rest of us will know what you value at a glance.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Sorry apple, you are just too slow to innovate and lack imagination.

        It's the 5S. It's a tweaked/tuned version of the 5. S versions never make massive changes, arguably this one does so more than other S versions have.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Sorry apple, you are just too slow to innovate and lack imagination.

          S versions never make massive changes, arguably this one does so more than other S versions have.

          Remind us again of the major changes that the 5 made over the 4s? Oh, yes it was a bit longer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sorry apple, you are just too slow to innovate and lack imagination.

            S versions never make massive changes, arguably this one does so more than other S versions have.

            Remind us again of the major changes that the 5 made over the 4s? Oh, yes it was a bit longer.

            "S" versions tend to be evolutions on an existing model range. 3 to 3S, 4 to 4S and 5 to 5S. In my experience, the S version are indeed improvements rather than fully changed devices, I guess in Android world it would be 3.0 to 3.1, 4.0 to 4.1 etc etc.

            I don't disregard any phone based on its audience - the fanboi attitude is about as irritating and infantile as the anti-fanboi brigade, so I leave judging a phone on who buys it rather than what it can do for me to the people with room temperature IQ and not yet stable hormonal systems.

      3. jason 7

        Re: Affordability my arse

        Well as according to Apple stating that there is a 'Bit of Steve's Input' in all future products, he must have been signing all these off on his deathbed.

        I guess he might have been a bit distracted at the time.

        Very sad.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Affordability my arse

        Jobs would not have tried to compete with the 'baying-for-tech' mob, such as the commenters we see on here. Apple should have held back on what is a pretty lacklustre lineup launch.

        That said, what on earth do you all think any new phone is going to introduce now? A holographic 50" projector screen? Fingerprinting sensors that analyse your blood sugar and call an ambulance for you? A phone that pleasures the wife, makes the coffee, walks the dog and drives the kids to school for you?

        Get real, for Jobs' sake at least.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cheap? Just underwhelming

      The cheaper version is expensive in everyone's eyes but Apple.

      Ok, so contract prices might be lower, but buying outright is a huge chunk of cash and for what? I'd expect a better spec.

      As to the 5S, in the real world the only difference in the fingerprint reader. Disappointing and you can understand why the share price fell when it was announced. Also looks like the retina screen ipad mini wasn't able to be finished in time. Though that might appear when iOS 7 reaches the iPads in Oct/Nov.

      1. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Cheap? Just underwhelming

        "Ok, so contract prices might be lower, but buying outright is a huge chunk of cash and for what? I'd expect a better spec"

        If you want bigger numbers and lower prices buy an Android, I'm sure you'll be happy. If you want a better phone for actually doing phoney things with and are happy to pay for it then buy the iPhone. On the Apple side of the fence CPU clock is less important than the usable camera or the allegedly heightened security of the fingerprint scanner (time will tell on this one but it does look promising).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cheap? Just underwhelming

          "the allegedly heightened security of the fingerprint scanner "

          The security for whom? To me it looks like a mechanism by which Apple can get all foreigners to fingerprint themselves.

        2. Mark .

          Re: Cheap? Just underwhelming

          If I wanted a phone to do phoney things, why are you talking about fingerprints and cameras? I'd get a dirt cheap Microsoft Nokia S30 or S40 phone, and enjoy the several days of battery life.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cheap? Just underwhelming

            I don't want anyone fingering my phone, thank you very much!

        3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Cheap? Just underwhelming @Lusty

          "If you want a better phone for actually doing phoney things..."

          ...then my advise is to get a £25 Nokia or Samsung dumb phone. Tried and trusted technology, long standby and talk time, robust as hell, easy to use (as a phone), and it won't get you mugged or be particularly painful when you drop it down the loo or lose it when out on a bender.

          Of course, if you want to run Angry Birds, then you really want more than a phone!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Affordability my arse

      Who else looks forward to the likely soon to be forthcoming reports of Apple owners being relieved of a finger or two via a meat cleaver when their latest Apple device is stolen?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: fingers

        Who else looks forward to the likely soon to be forthcoming reports of Apple owners being relieved of a finger or two via a meat cleaver when their latest Apple device is stolen?

        Yawn. You know, it's really time to retire that worn, useless argument. Any modern FP reader incorporates techniques to check if it's (a) a finger and not a celluloid or gelatine copy and (b) still attached to a body (although most versions tend not to check if it's still breathing).

        Secondly, no thief with at least a smidgeon of intelligence will chop off a finger if the mere threat of violence can result in the device being unlocked and re-registered with its new knife wielding owner. Criminal charges for theft are a lot lower than for inflicting bodily harm, and only a total loon would go for the stupid option (not that they don't exist, but even thieves know about risk management).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: fingers

          > Any modern FP reader incorporates techniques to check if it's (a) a finger and

          > not a celluloid or gelatine copy and (b) still attached to a body (although most

          > versions tend not to check if it's still breathing).

          No, they don't. Like any other measurement device it checks an aspect that it can measure correlated hopefully with whatever it is you are trying to measure. It isn't doing chemical composition tests, and "temperature"<>"attached to a body.

    5. LarsG

      Colours

      I have just realised.....

      The 'cheap phones' are not aimed at tech minded El Reg readers...

      They are aimed at Girlfriends, Wives and Daughters....

      My daughter aged 4 saw the pink one and said, 'daddy I WANT that for Christmas!' I asked why and her answer 'its PINK.'

      Just you wait and see, it will be a GIRLY best seller, easy to use, works out of the box, simple, all female celebs will be carrying them.

      1. paulc
        Coat

        Re: Colours

        I'm waiting to see the reaction when they discover that they can't change the wallpaper and it's stuck to that colour forever... ;)

      2. PipV

        Re: Colours

        @LarsG

        Don't you mean 'colors' ! Honestly LarsG you are opening yourself up to an Apple Lawsuit.

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