“While I wait to put my mitts on the new device, I’ll address the conventional hand-wringing over the 5C’s $549 pricetag (‘It’s too damned high!’ cry the masses),” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for The Guardian. “How is it that BMW has remained so popular and profitable with its ‘One Sausage, Three Lengths’ product line strategy? Aren’t all cars made of steel, aluminium, plastic, glass and rubber? When the Bavarian company remade the Mini, were they simply in a race to the bottom with Tata’s Nano, or were they confidently addressing the logical and emotional needs of a more affluent – and lasting – clientèle?”

“For most iPhone owners, trading up to the 5C is ‘free’ due to Apple’s reuse and recycle program,” Gassée writes. “I just took a look at the T-Mobile site where – surprise – the 5C is ‘free’, that is no money down and 24 months at $22 – plus a $10 ‘SIM Kit’ (read the small print.) You can guess what AT&T offers: 24 months at $22/month (again, whip out your reading glasses). Verizon is more opaque, with a terrible website. Sprint also offers a no-money-down iPhone 5C, although with more expensive voice/data plans. This is an interesting development: less than a week ago, Apple introduced the iPhone 5C with a “posted price” of $99 – “free” a few days later.”

Gassée writes, “After much complaining to the media about ‘excessive’ iPhone subsidies, carriers now appear to agree with [Asymco’s] Horace Dediu who sees the iPhone as a great ‘salesman’ for carriers, because it generates higher revenue per user (ARPU). As a result, the cell philanthropists offer lower prices to attract and keep users – and pay Apple more for the iPhone sales engine.”

Read more in the full article here.