Last week marked the first time Apple unveiled two new iPhones at the same time at their September iPhone event. Analysts have been weighing in on Apple releasing a low-cost iPhone for a numbers of years now. With the unveiling of the new iPhone 5C, it looks as if analyst will continue to wait.
The ‘C’ in 5C does not stand for cheap
Apple’s much anticipated low-cost iPhone 5C that was unveiled last week is anything but cheap. Although it will sell for only $99 on a 2-year contract, the unsubsidized price (contract free) is set for a very high $549. Analyst believed that the device would sell for around the $400 price mark in order to better penetrate into China and other emerging markets where Android continues to dominate.
When the iPhone 5C finally lands in China later this month, Chinese consumers will not even see that $549 price point. Apple insiders in China have the new iPhone 5C selling for $733 unlocked. The same sources also have Apple’s newest flagship device selling for only $100 more. The difference in power, features and specifications is well worth the $100 upgrade (at least to me it is).
The 4S stays and the 5 goes away
With the launch of the iPhone 5C even I thought that Apple would retire the older 4S, and make the 5C the new free option. This would have put the iPhone 5S, 5 and 5C all on the same 4″ screen while utilizing lightning port connectors over the older 30-pin port. Implementing the same screen size and connecting port just seemed like a typical Apple type move to me heading into the announcement.
The new iPhone 5C is just a dressed up iPhone 5, plain and simple. While a good deal of us may be scratching their heads on this move, it could actually make perfect sense for Apple. The iPhone 5C is made from plastic, unlike the all-aluminum iPhone 5, and it is probably cheaper for Apple to produce. Apple most likely never intended for the iPhone 5C to storm through China or the emerging markets just to gain market share. When it comes to China, Apple will look to push the higher-end gold iPhone 5S to Asian consumers at a premium price.
The 4S is Apples answer to emerging markets
At the end of the day Apple does have a phone they can sell in emerging markets with no problem at all. The 2-year-old iPhone 4S at $450 (unlocked) represents that sweet spot for first time smartphone consumers in these markets. The question is, do these consumers really want a 2-year old device? With increased competition from many Android manufactures, Apple will be banking on their brand and their ecosystem to outpace rivals.