Thoughts on the iPhone 5C and 5S

iphone_5CLast week, Apple announced its new line of iPhones. Replacing the iPhone 5 will be two models: the low-end 5C and the higher-end 5S. The 5C is mostly a slightly spec-bumped iPhone 5 made out of plastic and steel materials; it also will come in multiple colors (as shown in this post’s picture). Meanwhile, the 5S comes in gold, silver, and “space gray” colors, and is made of aluminum material. The 5S also comes with a stronger chip—a 64-bit processor.

Apple will also discontinue the three-year-old iPhone 4 model for sale in the US; the two-year-old 4S will be offered as the free-with-contract iPhone model.

The iPhone 5C comes with a cheap price of $99 on a two-year contract for the base 16GB model. While the 16GB 5S is only $100 more on contract, I expect the 5C to be quite popular anyway, despite the lower-end specs. Off-contract, the base 5C and 5S models run at $549 and $649 respectively.

As for competing in emerging markets, the 5C is too expensive for China; Apple’s response is to continue to offer the iPhone 4 model for there. Not sure how this will help Apple go up against the line of affordable, brand-new Android models also available in China.

One odd note are the new covers being offered for the 5C line by Apple. As others online have already joked, they conjure up images of “Connect 4” more than “protective cover.”

While it’d be nice to see Apple offer an iPhone model with a bigger screen (to go against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S line or Nexus 4), I expect the 5S and 5C to be as popular as the previous models, especially with the 5C’s cheap price/colorful choices.

Also of note is that the announcement last week was just centered around the iPhone, not the iPod or iPad. I was wondering if this would be the point they’d finally announce the death of the iPod Classic, which seems long overdue. As for how to replace the Classic, my suggestion would be to offer a 128GB capacity iPod Touch model (if 160GB like the Classic isn’t doable) and emphasize being able to stream music via iCloud and the newly announced iTunes Radio feature (a Pandora/Spotify-type service).

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