Apple announced the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C last week, and contrary to predictions circulating around the Internet, the 5C is not a budget device. Tim Cook said in an interview later on that their brand does not need to differentiate itself by making budget devices, and while the move may not be welcome news to eager fans waiting to buy an iPhone that is affordable, it signifies Apple’s intentions to stick to its traditions. He went on to say, “There’s always a large junk part of the [phone] market. We’re not in the junk business.”
He was making a thinly veiled reference to the Android ecosystem, which sees a huge chunk of its sales in the budget segment. So, if the iPhone 5C is not a budget device, what exactly is it? It is a clever ploy by Apple to push the sales of the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5C will be seen by many as a device that does not warrant its asking price, thanks to its polycarbonate construction. So, most users waiting to make the switch will inevitably be left with the iPhone 5S, as Apple is discontinuing the iPhone 5 entirely.
Usually, it discounts the price of the last-gen model, which would now be the iPhone 5, but this time around it has not done so. The high manufacturing costs of the iPhone 5, combined with the fact that the iPhone 5C offers the same hardware left Apple little choice but to discontinue the iPhone 5, as discounting it would not have been in its best interests as a high margin device vendor. This isn’t the first time it is terminating a product all of a sudden. The iPad 3 was on shelves a mere four months, as it had to make way for the much-faster iPad 4 that came with the A6 processor.
The iPhone 5C Costs Less To make, And Sells For More
The iPhone 5C features the same internal hardware as the iPhone 5. However, there are a few key differences between the two. The iPhone 5C is constructed using polycarbonate, which is more cost-conscious when seen against the aluminium design used on the iPhone 5. Apple is offering the iPhone 5C at the same price point as the iPhone 5 would’ve been at had it been discounted, and in doing so, is ensuring that it gets a much higher margin thanks to the lower manufacturing costs of the iPhone 5C. So, not only is Apple saving on the manufacturing costs, it is selling the iPhone 5C for around the same cost as what other high-end devices cost, making it earn more money on the device.
The iPhone 5C off-contract costs $549 in the U.S. without any carrier subsidies, and that price will significantly rise once it starts being available in countries with heavy custom duties, like India. Meanwhile, the iPhone 5S will cost around $200 to $250 more than the 5C, and considering the A7 processor with its 64-bit architecture and the Touch ID sensor, the iPhone 5S is a much better investment choice, and will be future proof for many years to come. While the iPhone 5C does come with a fresh design and has elements that give it a distinctive look, most consumers would want to choose the iPhone 5S over the iPhone 5C.
Does It Make Sense To Buy An iPhone 5C Though?
The Apple iPhone 5C price in India will be around $580 to $660 (Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 40,000), and for that amount, devices like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One are available. However, that does not mean that the device isn’t without its merits. The iPhone 5C does include new features, the most notable of which is the new FaceTime HD camera that is similar to the one on the iPhone 5S.
Also, the cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hardware on the 5C is the same as the one on the 5S, which further adds when to saving manufacturing costs and at the same time reduces difficulties faced in procuring parts. And the design of the device itself, which includes a reinforced steel frame underneath the polycarbonate, adds stability and makes sure that there is no flex to the chassis.
Another noticeable addition is the fact that the device includes a lot of LTE bands, which gives it the ability to connect to different LTE networks from all over the world. Apple’s interest in China means that LTE-TD band 40 is included, which should come as great news to customers in India, as both countries use the same LTE band and frequency (2300 MHz).
Furthermore, the decision to include iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote free with the iPhone 5C and 5S is welcome news to buyers, considering these utilities combined cost in the vicinity of $40. Microsoft has long been following this strategy, wherein it cites the robustness of the Microsoft Office suite and uses it as leverage to sell Surface tablets and Windows Phone devices.
So, while it is a costly device, some of that is justified thanks to the inclusion of new features. However, it isn’t the device that consolidates Apple’s foothold in emerging markets. From Tim Cook’s statements, it is likely that Apple will not manufacture a low-cost mobile device anytime soon. Should you buy it then? If you want a device that is vibrant and has a standout design, yes. If you’ve been waiting to buy the latest in terms of hardware and features, you’re better off with the iPhone 5S.