Apple's iPhone makeover
Apple's newest iPhones look different on the outside but the changes inside could be what really counts, with the premium 5s model selling for $199 in the US.PT2M7S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2tjeb 620 349 September 11, 2013
Apple built a budget iPhone but forgot the budget price tag.
If anything the iPhone 5C's role seems to be to position the iPhone 5S as a luxury status symbol.
As Android eats into Apple's market share, the pressure has been on Cupertino to produce a cheaper iPhone to help ward off its budget rivals. A few years ago this would have been unthinkable, as there was no need for Apple to sell a cheap iPhone when people would line up around the block to buy an expensive one. But times have changed.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks on stage during the introduction of the new iPhone 5s and 5c. Photo: AP
Apple has had a change of direction post-Jobs, abandoning its one-size-fits-all approach with the release of the 7.9-inch iPad mini and the 4-inch iPhone 5. It's certain that Jobs had a hand in each of these devices, but it's not so certain how long Apple would have held off before unveiling them. Pressure from slick competitors such as the Nexus 7 tablet and Samsung Galaxy S smartphones played a role. Now that Apple has opened its mind to change, it's not much of a surprise that the cheaper iPhone 5c was unveiled to sit alongside the new iPhone 5s.
What is a surprise is that the iPhone 5c isn't really that much cheaper than the iPhone 5s, with the "c" seemingly standing for "colour" if anything. The iPhone 5c comes in blue, green, pink, yellow and white and will be available in Australia for $739 for the 16GB model and $869 for the 32GB model. That's only $130 cheaper than the equivalent iPhone 5s, which is also available for $1129 with 64GB of storage. The iPhone 5s comes in gold, silver or space grey.
In the US the price difference appears more significant because Apple quotes upfront contract prices rather than outright prices. The 5s starts from $US199 and the 5c from $US99, but you still need to pay off the phone as part of your contract. It will be interesting to see the contract pricing in Australia. Telstra tends to force iPhone buyers to go on more expensive contracts. If the 5c is only available on the same contracts as the 5c then the price difference disappears completely.
Apple unveils iPhone 5s, 5c
The iPhone 5c in green, blue, yellow, pink and white. Photo: Getty Images/AFP
While a $130 price difference is more than pocket change, it's not enough of a difference to make the iPhone suddenly affordable to a lot more people. If you're really on a budget then you should look to the new iPhone 4S 8GB model which sells for $529. Last week Apple was selling the 8GB iPhone 4S for $679 and even the older 8GB iPhone 4 for only $449. With the demise of the iPhone 4, the price of a budget iPhone has actually gone up with this latest round of announcements.
In fact the $739 iPhone 5c isn't really a $130 price cut on the iPhone 5, because Apple has bumped up the price on the iPhone 5s by $70 to $869. The new "budget" iPhone 5c is only $60 cheaper than the old iPhone 5. When you look at the Australian entry-level iPhone pricing over the years, the price of the iPhone 5c is nothing to get excited about. If anything it shows us that the iPhone 5s is more expensive than usual, in fact the most expensive entry-level iPhone ever.
iPhone 3G (8GB) - $719
iPhone 3G S (8GB) - $759
iPhone 4 (16GB) - $859
iPHone 4S (16GB) - $799
iPhone 5 (16GB) - $799
iPhone 5c (16GB) - $739
iPhone 5s (16GB) - $869
Apple fans might argue that the iPhone 5c is not meant to be a budget model, and that it has practically all the features of the iPhone 5s including audio-only Facetime on iOS7. But if it's not a budget model, then what's the point of releasing it? If the big selling point is that it's pink, why are you forced to settle for the older A6 chip and plastic body? Why can't Apple just put a pink coat of paint on the new iPhone 5s? Or are complications with the manufacturing process the real reason why the coloured iPhones are made of plastic?
This cheaper iPhone 5c is basically the old iPhone 5 with a coloured plastic shell, but Apple expects us to buy it for only $60 less than the entry-level price of the iPhone 5. Even Apple fans have to concede that's not a good deal. If anything the iPhone 5c's role seems to be to position the iPhone 5s as a luxury status symbol like days of old.
Has Apple's iPhone 5c caught your eye? What's the appeal?