If you want a new iPhone, you have more options than ever, from gold to green, with or without a fingerprint scanner, and from $0 to $400 on contract.

Apple announced two new models Tuesday, while doing away entirely with the iPhone 5 after only a year on the market. The iPhone 4S, which was announced almost two years ago (that’s ancient in the smartphone world) will stick around as the entry level model.

One rung up the ladder (or maybe two) is the new iPhone 5C, a cheaper iPhone aimed at China (where iPhones are born), emerging markets and price and/or color conscious consumers. The 5C is basically an iPhone 5 built out of colorful plastic — it comes in white, pink, yellow, blue and green. It’s also bigger than the iPhone 5, with a larger battery and a better front-facing camera. (There’s also a new Apple-made case that has polka dot cutouts on the back making for a nifty color-blending effect.) The 5C starts at $99 on contract.

The new premium model is the iPhone 5S. It comes with an improved 64-bit processor, a bigger camera sensor with a flash Apple promises will do away with that washed-out zombie effect in low-light situations, and a much-rumored fingerprint sensor. It’s not the first fingerprint scanner on a phone, but combined with Apple’s talent for mainstreaming tech innovations, the 5S could usher in a new era of enhanced security for personal computing. The phone stores an encrypted scan of your fingerprint on the device itself and the sensor, which is hidden in the familiar home button, will let you unlock the phone and make on-device purchases, evoking many a science-fiction movie. A fingerprint scanner also means Apple can increase its share of the lucrative enterprise market. The 5S comes in black-gray, white-gray and, to mix things up a little, Russian oligarch gold. It can be yours for $199-$399 on contract, depending on storage.

The two new phones will be available Sept. 20, two days after the launch of iOS7 and iTunes Radio, Apple’s new streaming music service.

Sources: The Verge, Apple

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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