Analyst: Apple's low-cost iPhone could drop Siri support

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Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) much-rumored, low-cost iPhone will not support signature iOS features and capabilities including the Siri voice assistant, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster stated in an investors note released Monday night.

"We expect the cheaper phone to have a plastic casing, 4" display, and lower end internal specs (processor, camera, memory, etc.) than the 5S/5 line up," Munster writes. "Additionally, we believe that Apple may exclude some software features, such as Siri, which we note was not an option on the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 upon launch."

Siri--introduced in late 2011 in tandem with the iPhone 4S--enables users to employ natural spoken language to access and perform device tasks like mobile search, messaging and contacts.

Munster anticipates the low-cost iPhone, reportedly dubbed the 5C, will roll out in September, carrying a price tag of about $300. The analyst expects Apple will retire the iPhone 4S and position the 5C as the low-end offering in its smartphone portfolio.

Munster also expects Apple will unveil a new, upgraded version of the standard iPhone, predicting the iPhone 5S will introduce biometric fingerprint scanning features leveraging technologies acquired when Apple purchased digital security firm AuthenTec for $356 million in mid-2012.

"We expect the iPhone 5S to include a fingerprint sensor with a basic unlocking feature, but do not believe the sensor will be built into iOS 7 enough to introduce a feature like secure payments as we believe that AutheTtec has only been a part of Apple for less than one year," Munster states. "We believe that payments could be a key feature of the next version of iOS in 2014."

Code contained in the fourth beta release of Apple's iOS bolsters the theory that the company plans to introduce fingerprint scanning features. Based on screenshots supplied to 9to5Mac by developer Hamza Sood, the beta includes a folder named BiometricKitUI that appears to let users access a VoiceOver-enabled iPhone by swiping a sensor embedded into the smartphone's home button. The relevant code text states "Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their left hand while touching the Home button with their thumb_; A fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process._iPhoto of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb_Recognition."

For more:
- read this MacRumors article

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