Sunday, 15 September 2013

The iPhone 5c.

In my mind, although the iPhone 5s is surely the more high end smartphone, the iPhone 5c is the one to look at.

There are many things that stand out about the iPhone 5c that are very interesting.  The main points being, the marketing strategy within the lineup of iPhones, the correlation between the hardware and software design, and the technology reflected by the deisgn.  I've scoured the web reading about the newest iPhones, and came to a few conclusion aided with some reputable opinions.

(I wish they had this:  Navy-Midnight Blue is one of my favourite colours.  Made with Paper)

As far as marketing is concerned, the biggest point is that the iPhone 5c is in the position that the iPhone 5 would have been, with the pricing strategy below. 

John Gruber:
Here’s the thing. The iPhone 5C has nothing to do with price. It probably does have something to do with manufacturing costs (which are lower for Apple), but not price. Apple’s years-long strategy hasn’t really changed. They offer three phones:
  1. This year’s, with the latest technology.
  2. Last years’s, starting $100 lower.
  3. The two-year-old model, with meager storage, free on contract, $200 lower unsubsidized.
It’s just that instead of putting the year-old iPhone 5 in slot #2, they’ve created the 5C to debut in that slot. The 5C is, effectively, an iPhone 5. Same A6, same camera, same just about everything — except for the most obvious difference, its array of colorful plastic shells. This is not an iPod Touch with a cellular antenna (the iPod Touch, which was not updated today, still has an A5 chip and roughly 4S specs). The prices of the iPhone tiers remain the same as last year. What changes with the 5C is that the middle tier is suddenly more appealing, and has a brand of its own that Apple can promote apart from the flagship 5S. In marketing, what looks new is new.
So it's not a "C"heap iPhone, but costs less than what the most inexpensive new model would be. 

Ben Thopmson:
To the general public, the iPhone 5C is not an old iPhone 5. It’s a new iPhone 5C, and the demand will be much greater than it was for last year’s 4s. The price of a new iPhone is now 16% less than it was last year, and demand should rise by at least that much (and I think most pundits are seriously discounting the attractiveness of color). Moreover, it’s no accident that the traditional closing advertisement was focused on the 5C. I expect the vast majority of ads to be the same, and the iPhone 5C to be the best seller in the line. Sure, it’s not $199 (unsubsidized), but it’s also not $649; to pretend nothing has changed is wrong.
Of course, we shouldn't forget that the initial cost difference of a smartphone of say, $300 can be considered only a fraction of the price you would end up paying over a two years for your data plan.

But I think that perception is indeed important.  In previous iPhone announcements, you'd get the new iPhone and last year's for $100 less.  This time, you get a "new" iPhone, and not everyone will be held up on the fact that most of the internals of the iPhone 5c is similar to last year's iPhone 5.

Marco Arment:
The iPhone 5C isn’t the new low-end model: it’s the new mainstream iPhone. It’s the one Apple’s promoting more, marketing more, and making available for preorder. This is the new iPhone, and as customers and the press have repeatedly shown, a new external design is all that really matters when defining “new”.
Key word being mainstream.  I think that is a very good way to put the iPhone 5c.  The mainstream iPhone.  There would certainly be people who would choose the 32GB iPhone 5c over the 16GB iPhone 5s, at the same price.

The iPhone 5c harkens back to the PowerMac G3 Blue and White that I still own, the colorful iMacs of the same era, and even the original iPod in terms of its glossy plastic exterior.  It's not easy to make a one-piece plastic part and set everything into place.

But the most striking part about the design is when you look at it with iOS7; if the iPhone 5c and iOS7 were first announced at the same time, you'd most likely get a lot more people saying how they look similar than how iOS has changed too much.

MG Seigler:
“We believe the iPhone is an experience. And experience is defined by hardware and software working harmoniously together. We continue to refine that experience by blurring the boundaries between the two,” Ive says early on in the video. The words are spoken as only a man now in charge of both hardware and software design can speak.

This is Jony Ive’s iPhone. It’s his return to colors and “beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

“It’s the vivid realization of hardware and software together in one device.”
I would definitely try to hold one when I can, as I have a preconceived notion as to what a plastic product would feel like. I plan to be pleasantly surprised.