The new iPhones 5S and 5C are due to be released in Australia on September 20, starting at AU$739, and, unlike previous versions of the iPhone, Apple appears to have gone the extra mile to ensure long-term evolution (LTE) compatibility in a number of regions and spectrum bands.
The iPhone 5S comes in gold, silver, and "space-grey" colours, a 4-inch display like the iPhone 5, a 64-bit A7 chip, a fingerprint reader, 10 hours of LTE browsing or 3G talk time, an 8-megapixel camera, and the long-awaited iOS 7 operating system.
It comes in three sizes, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, priced at AU$869, $999, and AU$1,129, respectively, to buy the phones outright and not on any contract.
The iPhone 5C is Apple's product aimed at the lower end of the smartphone market, but is still quite expensive on its own. It comes with a polycarbonate backing in green, grey, light blue, peach, and yellow. It has a 4-inch screen, an A6 chip, an 8-megapixel camera, and iOS 7.
It comes in 16GB and 32GB sizes, priced at AU$739 and AU$869, respectively, to purchase outright.
Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Virgin have all committed to offering the products from September 20, with pre-orders expected to commence from Friday.
To ensure wide compatibility in a number of countries, Apple has made four different models of the 5C and 5S to work on different types of mobile networks and spectrum bands. The fourth model will work on Australia's 3G networks, and 4G networks in the 1800MHz spectrum band.
Interestingly, the new iPhones will also be compatible with Optus' time-division long-term evolution (TD-LTE) network that it has switched on in Canberra and is slowly switching on in other parts of Australia. Apple will not be the first vendor to make a compatible mobile device, however, with Samsung releasing a compatible Galaxy S4.
The announcement will likely please the residents of Canberra, who are only able to access LTE through the TD-LTE network. This includes our nation's elected representatives, who are now able to choose from a range of smartphone devices from the one-stop IT shop in the Australian parliament.
The new iPhones are not compatible with the 700MHz spectrum band for LTE in Australia (which is band 28), but by the time the carriers are able to use the spectrum in 2015, there will likely be another iPhone released.
The price of the Australian models is higher than the US, excluding sales tax and taking into account the current conversion rate. The US prices are often quoted as being much cheaper than they appear in Australia due to the phones being priced on a two-year contract in the US, but even outright the prices are still lower than Australians will pay, including GST.
The price for the 5S unlocked in the US is US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB, and US$849 for 64GB. For the 5C unlocked it is US$549 for the 16GB and US$649 for the 32GB.