Three reasons Apple created the iPhone 5C
After months of rumor, hype, speculation, and outright guessing, Apple finally held its big iPhone unveiling party last week. As expected, it introduced not one, but two new iPhone models. Apple announced the obligatory iPhone 5s, along with a cheaper, more colorful sibling, the iPhone 5c.
The question is, “Why?” In the early iPhone years, when a new iPhone model was launched the previous flagship smartphone simply faded away, then Apple shook things up by leaving previous models in the pipeline as cheaper alternatives to the top-of-the-line device. When the iPhone 5 came out, the iPhone 4s was still offered by some wireless providers for $100 with a two-year contract (half the cost of the entry-level iPhone 5 with a contract), and the iPhone 4 remained as a free smartphone–again with the two-year contract. Now, the iPhone 5s becomes the flagship iPhone model, and the iPhone 4s replaces the iPhone 4 at the bottom tier, but the iPhone 5 disappears–and gets replaced entirely by the iPhone 5c.
The irony is that the iPhone 5c is basically just an iPhone 5. It has a new look, but fundamentally the internal elements, and the capabilities of the hardware are identical to an iPhone 5. So, again–why did Apple go the trouble of creating an iPhone 5c at all rather than just cascading the existing iPhone 5 into that second-tier, economy-model position?
There are three possibilities:
1: Cheap(er) iPhone for emerging markets
Most of the logic behind my iPhone math is USA-centric. It’s based on the mathematics of subsidized, two-year contracts, which are common in the United States, but not available, or desirable in many markets around the world. Some cultures and demographics simply prefer to buy a smartphone without the additional indentured servitude to a specific wireless provider.
So, it’s possible that Apple may have developed the iPhone 5c out of a motivation to address those markets. Although the hardware inside is essentially identical to an iPhone 5, using a plastic housing instead of the metal back of the iPhone 5 lets Apple save a few bucks in manufacturing costs.
The iPhone 5 cost the equivalent of $850 USD in China. The iPhone 5c is a drop of about 14 percent–down to $733 USD. That is still $184 more than the full, unlocked price of the same iPhone 5c in the United States, and could hardly be described as “cheap” as some have implied the “C” designation is code for.
Still, it is cheaper for Apple to manufacture, and it’s cheaper for customers to buy, so cost savings may very well be the motivation behind the iPhone 5c.
2: Aimed at kids / younger iPod Touch market
Jason Hiner of ZDNet gets credit for posing this theory–at least that is the first and only place I’ve seen it. In a nutshell, Hiner notes that A) Apple typically also unveils new iPod and iPod Touch models as a sideshow to the iPhone event, and the iPod was conspicuously absent this time around, and that B) There’s an entire generation of youth who’ve grown up on the iPod, migrated to the iPod Touch, and are now coming of age to make the transition to a smartphone–hopefully an iPhone 5c.
Hiner argues, “From that perspective, the carnival of colors available for the iPhone 5c and its colorful silicone cases make perfect sense. They’ve got “youthful self-expression” written all over them. They are also destined to stand out in displays at wireless stores across the world.”
3. Intended to clearly separate from iPhone 5s and provide incentive
The iPhone 5s has some signifiant improvements in hardware and functionality over its iPhone 5 predecessor, but the reality is that the iPhone 5 is a very nice, very capable device. Given a choice between getting an iPhone 5s, or saving $100 and just getting an aesthetically identical iPhone 5, many people would opt for the cheaper iPhone 5.
Apple loyalists have a reputation for always buying the next shiny thing from Apple no matter how underwhelming it might be. They’re less likely to do so, however, if choosing the cheaper option stands out so much.
I don’t actually believe most iPhone owners are either that loyal to Apple, or that superficial in general, but I do think it’s reasonable to think that someone who may have considered a cheaper iPhone 5 might invest the extra money to get an iPhone 5s just so they don’t have to buy a colorful plastic iPhone 5s.
4. All of the above
I have one more bonus theory.
It’s possible that none of these theories had anything to do with Apple’s decision to break tradition and offer up two new iPhone models at the same time. It’s possible that Apple is simply doing what it does, and trying to offer devices that it believes the market wants and needs without consideration for saving a few bucks, or enticing a younger audience, or coercing customers to choose the more expensive flagship model.
It’s also possible that all of these theories played a factor, and that Apple developed the iPhone 5c with all of the above in mind.
Article Source: Three Reasons Apple Created The iPhone 5C