If Apple’s iPhone 5c is struggling, is it because it’s ‘unapologetically plastic?’

“From time to time Apple… launches a product with a major ad campaign — and it’s not a hit,” Ken Segall writes for Observatory. “Case in point: iPhone 5c.”

“Contrary to what most people think, an ad isn’t just good or bad. An ad is the execution of a strategy — and that strategy can be strong or weak,” Segall writes. “Clearly plastic was a big part of the iPhone 5c strategy. The launch ad was entitled Plastic Perfected. The launch video featured Jony Ive explaining that iPhone 5c was ‘unapologetically plastic.’ There was a strategic plan to head off the potential negative by boldly proclaiming it as a positive.”

“Unfortunately for Apple, creativity can be a double-edged sword. The ‘unapologetically plastic’ line in the product video was so interesting and memorable, it got played back over and over in articles about the lackluster demand for iPhone 5c. Not exactly what Apple intended,” Segall writes. “If the iPhone 5c is struggling, is it because it’s plastic? Or because Apple made plastic a major selling point? Or because it wasn’t significantly more affordable than an iPhone 5s?”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. The 5th best-selling phone in the world is a failure because it’s made by Apple. If it were being made by someone else, it would probably be getting touted as the latest “iPhone killer” and Apple would be doomed… something, something, nonsense, etc.

        1. I still think the iPhone 5c is a success because of how many up-sells it drove.

          If Apple wants an entry into the low cost market, then it was a failure, too expensive. But I don’t think Apple wants in that market.

  1. -“because it wasn’t significantly more affordable than an iPhone 5s?”
    This is the most likely reason… on the other hand it was a success as the 5S is more expensive than the 5 was and no one is complaining. The only 5c I know of was bought because the 5s was sold out any they didn’t want to wait

    1. Yeah, that makes sense, even if it’s a BS reason for people to not buy it.

      I know plenty of people who preferred it for its polycarbonate shell, including my mom (who feels safer about owning a plastic phone than a glass-and-metal one).

      1. Maybe some felt that the price should have been lower than the normal historical drop between the ‘now’ phone and the 1 gen back since this time the casing was plastic (a lower cost material) rather than glass and metal.

  2. I bought an iPhone 5C late last year at Walmart when all the price discounts were happening. My wife also got one. It looks good and works great. What is all the fuss about? I didn’t buy it because the 5S was sold out but rather because the 5S cost more than I wanted to pay.

  3. still, I wonder why they didn’t emphasize that it’s the same material that headlights of today’s cars are made of: plastic but hardened so well that it remains glossy in spite of the permanent sand blasting while drivng. so, it’s hard to scratch.

      1. exactamundo,

        they are freaking ugly colors, wouldn’t want to been with one, mr. apple has always been big on aesthetics… this time somebody seems to have been big on anesthetics.. incredibly poor color and shade choices.

        they are puke-worthy

        black would be way better

        1. They are supposed to be pastels, but it’s like they mixed them with other types of colors (forest, neon). Also, the glossiness is a turnoff. They need to make a pastel porcelain-looking phone.

      2. It’s amazing now upon thinking about it how much that would of actually boosted sales. A midnight black color or even like a blood red color instead of fluffy bunny pick and Sherwood forest green or whatever the hell it’s called

        1. a lot of adults had to think twice before purchasing one that’s for sure. A pink or yellow even candy cane phone is cool and all, but a lot of people would rather have a plain black phone.

  4. The iPhone 5c is popular as a company phone to provide employees. I also know of quite a few people who can easily afford the most expensive iPhone and who are technologically literate yet chose the 5c because it was good enough for them as upgrades from the 4 and keep them in the Apple ecosystem especially for iMessage.

    1. Journalists are morons. An overwhelming amount of evidence has been amassed to adduce that proposition. Even more evidence exists that establishes experts as idiots, and politicians as imbeciles. The curious thing is that the rest of us continue to take them all seriously. It does appear that our vaunted rationality is vastly overrated. Ah, the poignancy of an immature species!

  5. This meme just won’t f***ing die, will it? No, the 5C is not a failure. It fits the same product slot as the 4S did the year before, and it has outsold the previous year’s 4S sales. It is NOT a failure. Just because it doesn’t meet the artificial goals set for it by the tech media doesn’t make it a failure.


    1. exactly you nailed it. The 5c is not a failure by any example or terms. It is outselling the 4s last year who’s slot it takes over. Just because some moron analyst thinks it should have been $150 and sell 50 million does not make it a failure.
      It sells very well better than what it replaced.

  6. Sometimes tech writers just can’t see the obvious.
    The 5c isn’t selling AS well because the 5s is such a good product. 5c’s older specks with no touch ID for not that much less money is why Apple is up-selling its customers to the iPhone 5s.

    Admitting the 5c was “unapologetically plastic” up front was a brilliant move on Apple’s part. If they didn’t, EVERYONE would be writing that they DISCOVERED what the new iPhone was made of.

  7. This is so bogus. The 5c is not a new product. It is the iPhone 5 refreshed. It has a polycarbonate shell instead of the extra stainless steel and glass that the 5 had but which is now reserved for the 5S.

    The 5C is meant to be the “second choice”, less expensive offering of the previous generation phone. From what I’ve seen it appears to be doing as well as the 4S after the release of the 5.

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