Apple changed its iPhone strategy with the 7th generation launch recently. Until now, we saw an all new design every 2 years and a ‘Speed’ update every alternate year. Thus the iPhone 3G became 3GS, the 4 became 4S and 5 became 5s. However instead of continuing the iPhone 5 at a lower cost like Apple did with the iPhone 3GS and 4S, Apple decided to discontinue the iPhone 5. Surprising move as the iPhone 4S is still on sale.
As it turns out, Apple planned an upgrade to the 5 called the 5c. A new polycarbonate design with the same internals as the iPhone 5. So, you get an iPhone 5 in shiny new colours, along with tiny changes inside like a slightly larger battery, a relatively better front-facing camera and support for more LTE bands (ones that should cover India too). The justification for the same is two folds: a) Apple now gets to use the aluminium design exclusively for the 5s; thus reducing the competition for the latest model. b) The 5c at a bit lower price won’t feel like an old iPhone and can be presented to users as a ‘new’ model.
So how does the market respond? Well, as per reports, Apple is cutting the production for 5c and gearing up to ship more 5s models. The market has spoken — momentum remains with the 5s, the newness and the colours of the 5c didn’t charm the users as much. The reason for the same is simple, people understand that the 5c is old wine in new bottle. Not to say that it is a bad phone, but users worldwide understand that the $100 price difference separates them from a much more premium design, upgraded 64-bit processor, a fingerprint sensor and a much better camera in the iPhone 5s. In India, the iPhone 5c cannot be called a mid-range smartphone, thanks to the Rs. 42,900 price tag in India. So, a person who’s willing to spend over Rs. 40k on a smartphone would either sway towards feature-laden Android phones or bite the bullet and spend Rs. 10,000 to get the latest-and-greatest Apple has to offer.
So far come across only two sets of people — the ones who want to pick up the iPhone 5 before it runs out of stock and the ones who want an iPhone 5s. I do not know of a single soul who’s willingly excited about buying the 5c. But that’s just me; only once the two phones go on sale in India from 1st November onwards, will we know. But I think many will unanimously agree that the reasons for the iPhone 5c not selling in huge numbers worldwide is clear; only fancy colours and marginal enhancements aren’t enough to make people want it, especially at that price. The iPhone 5c turned out to be a phone that analysts and Apple pundits were predicting for the past few years, just not at the sub-$450 mid-range price they’d hoped for.