21 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

iPhone 5S to have fingerprint scanner


Leaked photos of the shell of the new iPhone 5S strongly suggest that it will feature a fingerprint scanner. Sources have revealed what is said to be shell of a new upgraded version of the iPhone, expected to be named the iPhone 5S. The placement of new holes that didn’t exist in the regular iPhone 5 shell are said to indicate the addition of a fingerprint scanner in Apple’s next flagship model.

The rumours are further supported by Apple’s acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec over a year ago. AuthenTec have been running for over 15 years now and specialise in tiny fingerprint sensors that can be embedding into micro-electronics. Apple forked out over £225 million on buying out the Florida-based company putting their value at an value 60% higher than before the sale.

After spending such a substantial sum, it now make perfect sense for Apple to use the IP that comes with AuthenTec to integrate their technology into future iOS devices. In particularly Apple will be eyeing up the lucrative government contracts traditionally won by BlackBerry. As BlackBerry struggles more and more and its new BB10 software update seems increasingly-doomed to failure, there is a gap in the market opening up that Apple will be keen to move into. Beefing up the security on iPhones will be particularly important if it wants to become the new provider to national security services.

Apple is also clearly hoping that fingerprint scanners will be come the latest must-have smartphone feature. Writing on TechRadar, Gareth Beavis argues that biometric fingerprint scanners will “change the world again”.

However, even if the iPhone 5S does have this new feature, we don’t see it being such a big shake up. First of all, it’s not exactly a new idea. Many laptops have had similar sensors for years and years. While its true that Apple has a good track record of transforming old ideas and making them ready for the prime time (viz. tablet computers), we can’t see this being much more than a new gimmick.

Beavis claims that this ushers in a “moment that heralds a shift in the way we use phones forever” but offers no real evidence other than unlocking your phone with a fingerprint is easier than swiping a pattern or using a 4-digit PIN. Unfortunately, he wildly overestimates the robustness of this as a security feature. Sure, unlocking with a fingerprint might be faster than other methods, but it would be naïve to say that current technology makes it much more secure.

After all, the original iPhone and iPhone 3G didn’t even have hardware encryption and software such as the iOS Forensic Toolkit can perform relatively fast brute-force attacks on other versions of the iPhone. Even if Apple doesn’t have a backdoor to decrypt the content of iPhones, the general consensus is that it’s doable to break the security if you really want/need to.

It could prove to be useful for mobile payments. It could certainly be one of those Apple moments when they take something that has existed for ages but never quite caught on and get it right leading to everyone else following suit to remain competitive. We just don’t see it. Apple CEO Tim Cook is already being heavily criticised for the recent lack of innovation at Cupertino and this could be more of a desperate attempt to prove himself to broad members.

So what else do we know about the new iPhone? Other rumoured features on the iPhone 5S include a new low-power high-res screen from Sharp, a better camera with dual flash, NFC and, finally, modern OS features such as homescreen widgets (nah, only kidding about that last one but you do get different colours, yay ;)). There will probably also be a cheaper model called the iPhone 5C.

The new iPhone 5S is rumoured to be coming out some time in September. Apple have already announced a large media event on the 10th September where the full details about the new iPhone models are expected to be revealed.

What do you think about the rumours so far? Is a fingerprint scanner definitely going to be a new feature? Will it ever be more than just a gimmick? And what’s your bet for the release date of the new iPhones?

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16 January 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Is the iPhone 6 coming already?

iphone-6-conceptInsiders are reporting that Apple has slashed its orders for new iPhone 5 screens prompting rumours that they are scaling down production in preparation for the launch of the iPhone 6. It seems unlikely but it’s an increasingly-popular explanation for Apple cutting down its component orders.

Sources said to be familiar with Apple’s component purchases have told the Wall Street Journal that in the first quarter of 2013 wholesale orders for iPhone 5 screens are down by about 50%. And it’s not just screens – they are saying that Apple has recently cut its orders from component suppliers producing all sorts of iPhone parts.

Analysts were initially worried that this information indicated a lack of confidence in Apple’s flagship smartphone. After all, iPhone 5 sales seem to have been slowing over the last few months. The Wall Street Journal’s correspondent Juro Osawa reports that the cuts were made about a month ago and this could indicate that the demand for the new iPhone could have been overestimated. Apple may have overproduced phones in the run up to Christmas and now is slowing down new production while existing inventory is sold.

The existing rumours about a newer cut-price iPhone may be causing consumers to wait instead of buying an expensive iPhone 5, again causing demand to fall. However, the most likely explanation is the continuing changes and evolutions of the smartphone market and greater competition across all price points. Following the breathtaking results from in smartphone sales over the last year, experts predict that smartphone sales are growing but that premium products like the iPhone 5 are likely to take a smaller proportion of all sales. This could result in the production cuts we’re seeing at the beginning of this year. However, as we have not heard about similar figures from competition manufacturers such as Samsung so it’s hard to be sure about the cause of the scale down.

Another explanation is unrelated to waning demand for the iPhone 5. Apple may merely be reducing production in anticipation of a new smartphone launch. Whether it’s a full update and brand spanking new iPhone 6 or a smaller upgrade (perhaps an iPhone 5S) remains to be seen. Given the iPhone 5 is still quite new and by extrapolating from typical Apple release schedules, we’d have to admit a brand new phone is unlikely. The iPhone 5 was only just released back in September and one of the main changes from previous models was the new taller, four inch screen.

Regardless, a new Apple smartphone of some sort may be a good explanation for the information we’re getting about iPhone component orders. In the meantime, the suppliers may be struggling following this news. Many have very specialised factories to make production for Apple as efficient as possible but this means it is much hard for them to switch to other non-Apple products. Such a significant decrease in orders is going to make it very hard for them to fill the left over production capacity.

What do you think? Is Apple struggling to sell the iPhone 5 or is it more likely that a new phone is coming? And if there will be a new iPhone, what do you think it will be called and when will it be released? Let us know…

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03 December 2012 ~ 0 Comments

How to get the cheapest iPhone 5 – 64GB

Is the iPhone 5 the best smartphone out at the moment?

Welcome to the final instalment of our three-part series about how to save money buying an iPhone 5. In the previous two episodes we conducted the most thorough analysis yet of all your different options (PAYG and contract) to work out how to get the best value for money on a new iPhone. Today we’ll be specifially looking at the top-of-the-range 64GB version – if you’re interested in the 32GB or 16GB versions, click over to read the articles about them.

The iPhone 5 has been out now for quite some time and it’s selling fast. In fact, it’s the second most popular phone in the country at the moment and Apple are having trouble trying to keep up with demand. By now you probably know whether or not you want to upgrade. And hey, it’s Christmas – now’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a new phone (or, more likely, ask Santa very nice to let you cash in all the good deeds you’ve done of the year). Of course, we’re here to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Total cost of ownership

In trying to find the absolute best price for an iPhone 5 in the whole of the UK, a key concept we introduced is that of Total cost of ownership. A big problem with buying a new phone is that there are just so many choices across all the networks.

Even if you’ve decided that you need the iPhone 5 and what capacity you want, there are still 100s of options to sort through. And when you have a range of different offers all with varying allowances for minutes, texts and data not to mention vastly different prices, it can become overwhelming. Worst of all, it’s not immediately obvious whether you’re better off paying more up front for a lower monthly rate with a certain about of included calls or less for a slightly higher monthly rate with a completely different set of bundled minutes. And that’s not even considering weighing up SIM free versions against other models. How can you compare all the different price plans fairly?

As always, the key is Total cost of ownership. Many people aren’t aware that there’s a metric you can use to fairly compare different tariffs across networks with different allowances. It even allows a comparison between contract offers and PAYG.

All you need to do is to calculate the Total cost of ownership for each option. This is just the overall amount you’ll have to pay over the course of your whole contract (or for the equivalent length of time on PAYG) for your new iPhone 5. You work it out by adding the initial cost of the handset to the monthly price of the plan multiplied by the length of the contract (in months). Or, if you speak maths:

Total cost of ownership = costhandset + costmonthly tariff × tcontract length

As the SIM-free option involves a large upfront payment followed by a far cheaper PAYG tariff while contracts usually have subsidised (or even free) handsets with pricier charges over the following months, this is the best way to compare the available options.

Quite often you’ll find that even if you get the iPhone 5 “free” on a certain deal, it will actually end up costing you £100s more than if you’d gone for an equivalent contract with a lower monthly cost but a higher initial handset price.

For example, O2 offer the 64GB iPhone 5 on a 24 month contract with 5 options – ranging from £63/month to £26/month and with initial handset outlays of between £450 and £70. All these options come with exactly the same allowances – unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile data.

If you think it sounds a good idea to get the iPhone 5 for “only” £70 you should work out the total cost of ownership – if you have to pay £63 per month for 24 months on top of this (making a total of £1204), your total price over 2 years would be £1274. However, if you chose to pay the £450 price for the phone upfront, you only have to pay an additional £624 making the final amount you pay just £1074. It psychologically seems a lot to pay £450 for a phone but you save £200 over two years by doing this – almost half that £450! So, you can clearly see that you can save a huge amount by just running some simple calculations before buying.

iPhone 5 64GB price comparison

So we’re finally here. The big boy – the lucious 64GB iPhone 5. This is a really thorough comparison. We’ve looked at every deal available for a 32GB iPhone 5 on a 24 month contract (these offer the best value) from every single major UK network (O2, 3, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone). We haven’t included EE because all their offers are the same as those from Orange and T-Mobile except more expensive. We’ve already gone into detail about why it’s not worth paying more for 4G but the aim of this guide is to pay the least amount possible and that simply rules them out.

What we have done, is even delved into the lowest priced deals possible including PAYG too. Then, we’ve crunched all the numbers for you and even presented it with pretty bar charts.

When looking for the cheapest iPhone 5, we’ve been careful to think about how people use their phones and what they really need as well as what they want. Because of this, we’ve broken things down into sections so if you know you need a lot of minutes or you often run up big data bills, you can see where the best savings are for you. As always, don’t forget to check out our network coverage maps to see what sort of signal you’ll get in your area.

The absolute cheapest iPhone 5 64GB deal in the UK

cheapest iPhone 5 64gb

Orange and T-Mobile

Unfortunately, Orange and T-Mobile are the most expensive for the iPhone 5 with Orange being marginally worse. Much of this is because they don’t offer any lower-end tariffs at all – just expensive unlimited tariffs. With Orange, you can get unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of mobile internet for £36/month. This makes the total cost of ownership £1134 including £270 for the phone itself.

T-Mobile‘s pricing is almost identical. The total cost of ownership is just £1 less at £1133 over a 24 month contract. The monthly charge is still £36/month but the handset fee is £269 instead. Having said that, the allowances are much better – you get the Full Monty with unlimited minutes, texts and data. Clearly this is better than Orange in every way.


Coming in next is Vodafone. They’ll give you an iPhone 5 64GB For a total of £1121. This includes 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet and the price of the handset. You’ll have to pay £329 upfront followed by £33 every month.


O2 aren’t too bad a choice if you just want to get your hands on the iPhone 5 for a low price. You’ll have to pay £450 for the handset but you’ll be saving overall in the long run as the monthly charge is just £26. For your money, you’ll allowance will be unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of mobile data. The total cost of ownership of the whole contract is £1074.


Three‘s tariff is pretty decent as they will only charge £109 for the handset. If you don’t have lots of cash available for an upfront payment, this is by far your best option. You’ll have to pay £40/month over the life of your contract but this is almost comparable to the other networks. Over 24 months, your total cost of ownership will be £1069 and you’ll get 500 minutes, practically-unlimited 5000 texts and unlimited data. If you want 2000 minutes instead, you can pay just £2/month extra making the total £1117.


Can you do better than the offer from Three? not easily, but it is possible. By going PAYG you can get a super-cheap deal for the iPhone 5. Probably your best option comes from Giffgaff.

You just need to order a free Giffgaff nano-SIM (which comes with £5 free credit if you use our link) and then buy the handset SIM-free for £699 (gulp). Then choose a goodybag for £10/month which will give you unlimited Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff calls, 250 any-network minutes, unlimited texts, and 1GB mobile data. (If you prefer you can go for truly unlimited internet £2 extra). Make sure you get the SIM from our link as it will give you a £5 bonus and make the total price you’ll pay over two years only £934.

By going PAYG you don’t get locked into a contract and you’ll save up to £200 compared to the contact networks!

The cheapest iPhone 5 64GB with unlimited calls

cheapest iPhone 5 64GB
*minutes aren’t truly unlimited, but 2000 any-network plus 5000 Three-to-Three is close enough for us.


Unfortunately Giffgaff don’t offer unlimited minutes on any plan any more so we can’t include them here.


Vodafone are worst of the bunch for this with a minimum total cost of ownership coming to £1177 for the 64GB iPhone. As well as your unlimited minutes, you will also have an allowance containing unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile internet. The price is broken up into a charge of £37/month plus £289 for the handset.


If you are persuaded by EE’s adverts for super-fast 4G data, you better be willing to pay for it. All their rates are about £5 more than Orange and T-Mobile’s laid out below and none of their tariffs include unlimited data. We won’t bother to go into it any more…


Orange will charge you £36/month to get unlimited minutes plus another £270 for the iPhone itself. For your money, they will give you unlimited texts and 1GB allowance. The calculated cost over a two year contract is a mighty £1134.


T-Mobile offer a pretty-much identical tariff. Their phone price is £269 instead but the monthly charge is the same at £36. This makes a total cost of ownership that comes to £1133 but, unlike with Orange or EE, you do get unlimited data as well as unlimited minutes and texts.


Three‘s fantastic One Plan is a really good choice and great value for money too. You don’t quite get unlimited but we’d say it’s close enough at 2000 UK minutes plus 5000 Three-to-Three minutes plus 5000 texts every month. This might as well be unlimited. Best of all you also get unlimited data with tethering allowed. The total cost of ownership will come to £1117 – this is made up of a £109 charge for the phone added on to a £42/month contract.


O2 offers by far the best deal if you just want to make sure you get unlimited minutes. You can pay just £26/month and still get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile internet. You will have to pay £360 for the iPhone itself by over 24 months the total cost of ownership will be just £1074. If you can afford the high handset fee, this can save you tons.

The cheapest iPhone 5 64GB with unlimited data

cheapest iPhone 5 64GB for data

Vodafone, O2 and EE

Unfortunately, Vodafone, O2 and EE cannot be included in this section as none of them offer an unlimited data tariff. You heard us right – in this day and age, they are still capping bandwidth allowances on mobile internet. Never mind the fact you’re paying £1000 for a mobile phone, they are still going to cripple your iPhone despite it being the age of the internet.

A smartphones increasingly rely on mobile internet (and we increasingly rely upon them) this is incredibly disappointing. 1GB hasn’t been much for years now and more and more people are finding they require the freedom that unlimited internet tariffs allow. It’s hard to see a future for these companies if they haven’t realised what a mistake this is yet.


Orange have only just introduced an option for unlimited data for some of their contracts. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive to get is with them. For completely unlimited calls, texts and mobile internetyou have to pay £51/month a month – shocking, eh? Even worse, you still have another £130 to pay up front for the handset. For this deal, your total cost of ownership will an exorbitant £1,354.


Thankfully, T-Mobile best effort is a lot better. The monthly charge has dropped to £36/month and you’ll still get unlimited calls, texts and data. The price of the phone itself is £269 and your two-year total for the contract is £1133. Clearly Orange is no competition with this.


Three are one of the best mobile networks for internet. Thankfully, as well has having great 3G coverage, the pricing for their unlimited data iPhone 5 tariffs isn’t bad either. You can get 500 minutes, 5000 texts and unlimited data with a total cost of ownership of £1069. You’ll have to pay £109 for the phone plus a monthly contract price of £40.


For the best possible deal with unlimited internet, you’ll need to go PAYG. You can make some really massive savings by going with Giffgaff instead of an expensive contract with the big mobile networks. In fact, you can literally save £100s. Over the 24 month time period, you’re looking at a total cost of ownership of only £982 if you order a SIM for free with £5 bonus credit then buy an unlocked iPhone 5 for £699. The £12 goodybag gives you 250 UK minutes, unlimited Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data. That’s fantastic compared to all your other options. It’s also over £300 cheaper than Orange’s best deal and really shames the competition.


So that’s it from us. We’ve looked at the iPhone 5 16GB, the iPhone 5 32GB and now the 64GB version too. We think these are the most thorough analyses of how to save money on this amazing handset anywhere on the internet. Hopefully you’re now thinking more in terms of total cost of ownership when comparing tariffs.

Anyway, enough from us – thanks for reading and we really hope we’ve helped you understand the tariffs better and, more than anything, save some money 🙂 As always, please also feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

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