Somewhere tonight, in a land far away, there are journalists who were invited to exclusive events where they got to see Apple take the veil off of its range of refreshed iPhones. We weren’t invited, so instead here’s a round-up of what you missed on the various live blogs (The Verge, Engadget, TechRadar et al) and in the initial press releases.

Fully armed with iOS 7 – which will be available to download on 18th September, the company kicked off proceedings with the much rumoured but rarely believed budget take on the phone, the iPhone 5S. Historically, it has chosen to introduce a new phone at a premium price and simply lower the cost of its previous handsets – this time round, the iPhone 5 as it is has been taken outside and shot, and we presume that goes for the iPhone 4 too.

//Update – apparently the 4S remains alongside the 5C. What’ll be interesting to see is if people prefer the metal and glass

The iPhone 5C looks and – if Apple are to be believed – feels almost identical to an existing iPhone 5. It has the same A6 processor, the same 4inch Retina screen. It also has the same 8MP camera. The battery is apparently higher capacity – although specific details aren’t out yet – and it costs The key difference is that the back of the phone is plastic, or ‘hard-coated polycarbonarte’, if you will.

It’s a sealed unit too, so no replaceable battery or microSD ports for you. On the other hand, it is available in a range of colours, including green, white, blue, pink and yellow.

Apple also showed off a range of silicone covers for the iPhone 5C, and accessory manufacturers have come crowding with third party ones too.

The iPhone 5C is clearly designed to take on the very successful Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and HTC One Mini handsets. Prices in the US start at $99 for the 16GB version on a two-year contract and $199 for the 32GB one – South African equivalents are yet to be confirmed. That’s about the same as a high-end Android phone, though, and the off-contract price for the 16GB model is a painfully pricey $549. This is not a budget phone by any stretch.

Deon will be along in a moment with the new flagship iPhone 5S stat-gasm. The 5C itself will be on sale from 20th September overseas, we’ll follow up with Apple SA in the morning.

(Image: MacRumours)

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.