“Picture yourself in the not-so-distant future, a consumer in the market for a shiny new iPhone,” Casey Johnston writes for Ars Technica. “You approach a store, be it retail or online, and trail your eyes over the various models on display.”
“Your inexpensive options are a little scattered. There is the free iPhone 4S, hardly a compelling product with its old form factor and hardware profile. If you spend only $100, you can get a brightly colored, plastic-backed model, the new iPhone 5C,” Johnston writes. “Or, for only yet another $100, you get the latest, highest-end iPhone 5S, cast of glass and metal with a futuristic fingerprint reader. Which do you choose?”
Johnston writes, “The 5C’s style will no doubt appeal to some consumers and even capture a couple of new demographics. But as for the “cheap” iPhone we were expecting… well, the iPhone 5C isn’t it. The fact that it is not rounding out Apple’s low-end product line as was predicted suggests that Cupertino might have intentions for it beyond appealing to kids and the fashion-conscious among us. Perhaps the design of the 5C is intended to push buyers into throwing down an extra $100 to get the only viably professional-looking iPhone. Under this scenario, the 5C exists, to an extent, to usher all but the most casual users into the arms of the 5S.”
MacDailyNews Take: In an article for MacDailyNews written and published a few hours after Apple’s September 10 event (Why would anyone buy an iPhone 5c instead of an iPhone 5s?) SteveJack wrote:
It seems to me that Apple is using the iPhone 5c as a tool to push buyers to the 5s (well, at least those buyers who can grasp a simple value equation).
Once Apple gets the customer to the websites or into the stores and the prospective buyer can see and/or hold both phones and learn that they’re only separated by a mere $100, my guess is that Apple figures they’ll have plenty of upsales occurring. Upsales that will boost Apple’s iPhone margins nicely.
Johnston writes, “By changing the outward form factor of its mid-range phone so drastically, Apple is positioning its highest-end model even higher and further away from the rest of its offerings. And Apple isn’t just pushing that difference for this year by taking the identical iPhone 5 off the table as a step down from the 5S; this is likely a change it is making to its lineup for all time, drawing a big visual distinction between its newest phone and all the rest.”
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on August 14th, before the “champagne gold” iPhone 5S leaks began:
One other thing we’d like to see is delineation in color for iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5.
iPhone 5S should be set apart from the previous model. Where iPhone 5 is black or white, if Apple made iPhone 5S, say, “smoke” or “silver,” or whatever floats Jony’s boat (hold the pastels, please), it would help sway the types of customers who stuck with iPhone 4 instead of upgrading to iPhone 4S – or even purchased the less expensive 4 instead of the more capable 4S – because they were indistinguishable on the outside.
We’ve always believed that not making a distinguishable exterior change on the “S” models was a mistake that left iPhone sales on the table.
Johnston writes, “Product segmentation, particularly segments structured with a lower-end product that exists to make the next step up look compelling, is an old, old strategy. Apple’s desire to capture the young-and-casual as well as price-sensitive users with the iPhone 5C is clear, but we can’t ignore the fact that it makes the iPhone 5S look a darned sight better by comparison than the iPhone 5 ever would have.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: BINGO! Apple was smart to refashion the iPhone 5 into the iPhone 5C. It’s better for margins and it’s better for sales, not only of the 5c, but of the 5s, too.
Next year, don’t be surprised if the iPhone 5S gets the polycarbonate casing, the iPhone 5c goes to being available only in black or white with the lowest-end storage amount (free with a 2-year contract), and the iPhone 6 becomes the first Liqiuidmetal iPhone (or, if Liquidmetal isn’t ready for prime time by then – anodized aluminum in a distinctive new design).