Apple unveils iPhone 5C, available for $99 with a two-year contract

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), as expected, introduced the iPhone 5C at a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., delivering a cheaper model instead of reducing the price of its legacy iPhones.

iphone 5c

iPhone 5C

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone 5 had the most successful first year of any iPhone Apple had ever sold. However, Cook said, according to a live blog of the event from The Verge, "in the past, when we introduced a new iPhone, we lowered the price of the old iPhone. This year, we're not going to do that. This year, we're going to replace the iPhone 5."

This is the first time Apple has introduced more than one new iPhone model at a time. Analysts have said for years that Apple needed a cheaper model to more aggressively go after the prepaid market and emerging markets where iPhones are not subsidized by carriers.

The 5C is made of a hard-coated polycarbonate material, with casings in green, white, blue, pink and yellow, and the form factor is similar to the iPhone 5. Apple said the battery is slightly larger than on the iPhone 5 but it will run on the same Apple-designed A6 processor. The iPhone 5C will cost  $99 for the 16 GB model and $199 for the 32 GB model, on a two-year contract. It's unclear how much the devices will cost on an unsubsidized basis. The cases are $29 apiece.

The iPhone 5C will have an 8-megapixel camera with Apple's iSight technology, a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chats, and Wi-Fi support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Apple also claimed it will have support for more LTE bands than any smartphone in the world.

For more:
- see this The Verge live blog

Special Report: Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C: Complete coverage

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