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Hands-on with the new iPhone 5c & color cases

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Apple's colorful new iPhone 5c is designed to upgrade existing smartphone users into the A6-class iPhone 5 world, while introducing bright mix-and-match colors borrowed from the iPod mainstream. However, predictions that iPhone 5c would serve a "cheap" or "lite" role were proven wrong.

iPhone 5c


iPhone 5 begets two successors



After years of releasing one new iPhone model each year and continuing to sell one or two previous generation models at lower prices, Apple has now released two new models, both of which take the company's existing flagship iPhone 5 in new directions.

The iPhone 5c has nearly identical specs to what has been Apple's high-end model, but it adds greater battery capacity and support for more LTE bands (including China Mobile's TD-LTE), resulting in a more capable version of what has been the world's most popular smartphone, albeit now $100 less.

While there were three model variants of iPhone 5 (A1428 North American GSM; A1429 CDMA & Global GSM; and A1442 for China Telecom CDMA with UIM/WAPI but no LTE support) there are four versions of iPhone 5c (A1532 North American GSM/CDMA for both ATT & Verizon; A1456 Sprint/Japan CDMA with additional support for LTE bands 18&26; A1507 for Europe lacking LTE bands 4/AWS, 13, 17, 18, 19, 26 but adding 7; A1529 for Asia/Pacific, identical to Europe but adding support for China Mobile's TD-LTE bands 38, 39 and 40, which is also used in Australia).

The iPhone 5s, considered separately, takes the iPhone 5 into a luxury class, with a world leading 64-bit architecture, new fingerprint security and advanced, efficient M7 motion processing, all at the same price as last year's iPhone 5.

Both models also now include $40 worth of first party, chart topping apps exclusive to iOS: Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto and iMovie.

iPhone 5c is Colors



Color has long been a defining feature of Apple's iPod lineup, but the company has until now kept its iPhones limited to black and white models. In making its high-end iPhone 5 a new mass market option, Apple has made color a primary feature.

iPhone 5c


Color plays into the iPhone 5c's design and build, and is even referenced in its marketing, where swirls of lustrous, liquid paint take the form of the device, now available in a shiny, bright array of white, pink, yellow, blue and green editions.



While it shouldn't be a surprise, it's clear the iPhone 5c's colors are designed to reflect the color palette of iOS 7. Apple even sets up new iPhone 5c phones with a background that matches the shell color.

The new iPhone 5c model has a more squared off back than the iPhone 5, and replaces its all metal body with a case foundation made from what Apple's chief designer Jony Ive described as "beautifully, unapologetically plastic."


iPhone 5c


One side of steel reinforcement assembly being installed.


Apple developed a new construction method (above, detailed previously) for the iPhone 5c that attaches a steel reinforced substructure to a hard-coated polycarbonate shell Ive referred to as a "bespoke assembly," using a British English term that usually refers to custom tailored clothing.

iPhone


The result is a device that feels solid and substantial, a marked contrast from Apple's second and third generation iPhone 3G/3GS, both of which achieved lower retail prices through a more conventional plastic shell case design more akin to the designs Samsung now uses on its most expensive flagship phones.

iPhone


Rather than feeling "plasticky," the new iPhone 5c has a rubberized feel and rigid body, without the cheap flex or warp of common devices made of plastic. The backing is also treated to give it a shiny gloss, which further enhances the brilliant colors it's available in.

The new model's back has a ruggedized feel that appears much more likely to survive a fall unscathed than the glass back introduced on the iPhone 4 or the crack-prone, thin plastic shell of the iPhone 3G/3GS. The face of the iPhone 5c is still glass of course (Corning's Gorilla Glass), but being wrapped in a plastic shell should help to mitigate its fragility.

iPhone


The lock switch, power and volume buttons on the iPhone 5c are color matched with the body color, and feel as solid and precise as the previous iPhone 5, which used metal components. There's really nothing "cheap" about the 5C. A more conservative Apple could have released this model by itself as the incremental upgrade for last year's iPhone 5.

iPhone 5c cases



Apple is further playing up the iPhone 5c's colors by offering contrasting protective cases in a variety of colors for $29 each. Each presents an iconic patterns of circular cutouts that show the underlying case color.

iPhone


While the device has a shiny finish, the silicon cases have a rubberized matte finish, providing additional contrast between them. The interior of the cases is a soft felt-like "microfiber" material (visible below) designed to avoid scuffing or scratching the shiny body of the phone. Apple expects many users will buy multiple cases to accessorize the color of their device. With 5 device colors and 6 case colors, there are 30 potential color combinations.

iPhone


The new cases can also be wrapped around the existing iPhone 5, but are not designed for this purpose. When I tried it on mine, the case fit snuggly enough (actually making it tricky to get off), but the buttons still worked and the case didn't obscure the ports or speakers (below).

iPhone


C in iPhone 5c is not for Cheap



Virtually everyone incorrectly predicted that the iPhone 5c would predominantly be "cheap," but the new model is not Apple's cheapest. It's also not a low-end phone. Apart from Apple's own higher-end new iPhone 5s, it rivals the specs of top smartphones globally, from its fast processor to highly rated camera. There's nothing cheap or low-end about it.

Rather than being cheap, Apple describes the iPhone 5c as having the same A6-powered "blazing-fast performance" and "console-level graphics" as iPhone 5, with the added advantage of a higher capacity battery.

iPhone


The company will continue selling 2012's most popular model, the iPhone 4S, now for $100 less as the new entry-level model, replacing iPhone 4. Additionally, Apple is also continuing to sell iPhone 4 in China (priced at $423) and in some other emerging markets, providing twice the "low-end" option range than Apple has ever offered anywhere before.

Wall Street hasn't yet realized this, which is reflected in the panicked fretting about the iPhone 5c not being "cheap enough." Outside of China and the other markets offering iPhone 4, Apple's entire iPhone product lineup this holiday season will all sport Apple's Siri voice assistant and dictation service, 3D Flyover Maps, Panorama capture and Bluetooth 4.0, features absent from the iPhone 4.

As the new entry-level model for most markets, the iPhone 4S doesn't have the iPhone 5's taller 4" display, support for the fastest 4G networks (including LTE, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA) or 5GHz WiFi. It also has a much simpler VGA front facing "FaceTime" camera and still uses the older 30-pin "Dock Connector" port. It is however a significantly nicer entry-level phone than 2010's iPhone 4, with all the features of the previous paragraph and a significantly improved camera.

This effectively positions iPhone 4S as Apple's primary competitor to middle-tier Android phones, which make up the majority of Android's sales. However, Apple's low-end 4 and 4S will still run the company's latest iOS 7, a huge differentiator from the majority of middle tier and low-end Android devices.

Many "new" Android devices are stuck running an old version of Google's platform from as early as 2010, software that most users can't upgrade on their own and which most Android licensees and carriers have demonstrated no interest in upgrading, despite serious security vulnerabilities and feature omissions.



Being able to run iOS 7 means the spectrum of iPhone 5c models are the mainstream of Apple's iPhone offerings, reflected in the fact that the iPhone 5c is currently the landing page product for Apple.com. In positioning iPhone 5c as a fun, colorful option, Apple is also clearly differentiating it from the new iPhone 5s, which for just $100 more offers a more upscale metallic finish, along with substantial security, camera and performance features.
post #2 of 49
Dan, thanks for the insight and deeper understanding of what Apple has just done by developing the 5c and 5s.
post #3 of 49
So it's not cheap- we get it. But why buy it if for $100 more you get so much more? in other words- why should anyone buy this?
 
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post #4 of 49
I continue to wonder why people thought Apple would produce a throw away phone with no profit margin. Investors like money coming in don't they? How can Apple please both parties? They have to make money on hardware because that's where their income comes from.
post #5 of 49

The face front should have been white not black. It would have been a knock-out looks wise

 
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post #6 of 49
Excellent article. Thoughtful analysis and well written. The reminder of what "bespoke" means was skillfully woven in. I disagree though, that "A more conservative Apple could have released this (5C) model by itself as the incremental upgrade for last year's iPhone 5." I don't see the increments, other than the colored repackaging.

It looks like the 5c cases won't accommodate apple's 30 pin to lightning adapters, which I still use occasionally. And John Gruber's pointed out the case cutouts have text showing thru sloppily. My prediction: Someone will soon be marketing little foil paper slips to put on the backs of phones, matching their 5C colors, to cover up that text when using the cases. If only I could have that much confidence in my Apple hardware predictions. :-)
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

Excellent article. Thoughtful analysis and well written. The reminder of what "bespoke" means was skillfully woven in.

It looks like the 5c cases won't accommodate apple's 30 pin to lightning adapters, which I still use occasionally. And John Gruber's pointed out the case cutouts have text showing thru sloppily. My prediction: Someone will soon be marketing little foil paper slips to put on the backs of phones, matching their 5C colors, to cover up that text when using the cases. If only I could have that much confidence in my Apple hardware predictions. :-)

Do we know if the cases accommodate the new dock?
 
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post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

So it's not cheap- we get it. But why buy it if for $100 more you get so much more? in other words- why should anyone buy this?

 

Some people will buy it because they're not driven by spec lists--they like the look, the feel, the color, the $100 savings, etc.

post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post
 

The face front should have been white not black. It would have been a knock-out looks wise

 

I'd like to see some photoshops of that. I'm on the fence over white vs black. 

post #10 of 49
If Apple went out of its way to produce hideously garish colors I don't think it could top the butt f-ugly palate they intro'd yesterday. The most complimentary thing I can say about these colors is they're reminiscent of bodily functions. Maybe I'm wrong and these colors will attract teeny boppers in Asia. I hope so for my AAPL sake and stake.

This is the first time I've seen Apple stumble on a design in quite some time. Very disappointed in these colors!
post #11 of 49
AppleInsider needs to fix some typos in the last paragraph. Several mentions of "5s" should be "5c".
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by patpatpat View Post

I'd like to see some photoshops of that. I'm on the fence over white vs black. 

iOs 7 has always been demoed with a white face front.
It's much more futuristic looking with white..
 
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post #13 of 49
EDIT: I erred in my previous post in this thread. John Gruber was repeating the observations of Matthew Panzarino about the sloppy hole placement on the 5C cases. Sorry about that.
post #14 of 49
Quote:
 there are four versions of iPhone 5c (A1532 North American GSM/CDMA for both ATT & Verizon; A1456 Sprint/Japan CDMA with additional support for LTE bands 18&26; A1507 for Europe lacking LTE bands 4/AWS, 13, 17, 18, 19, 26 but adding 7; A1529 for Asia/Pacific, identical to Europe but adding support for China Mobile's TD-LTE bands 38, 39 and 40, which is also used in Australia).

That surprised me, I assumed the 5C and the 5S incorporated Qualcomm's latest universal LTE chipset, the one that covers all the worlds bands in one convenient design. Negating the need for multiple versions of the phones as quoted above. Or maybe they do, and these model variants are basically different software configurations for that chipset. 

post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post

Maybe I'm wrong and these colors will attract teeny boppers in Asia. I hope so for my AAPL sake and stake.
 

That is the plan. It is designed for teenagers from lots of countries, even the US. Like you, me and most of the members of this forum, we would all prefer the 5s i'm sure, but young people have different design sensibilities and fortunately Apple was astute enough to recognize that. All the top guys at Apple are getting pretty old, but at least they are smart enough to listen to some younger trend setter type advice. These colored phones are a home run in my opinion.

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post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

So it's not cheap- we get it. But why buy it if for $100 more you get so much more? in other words- why should anyone buy this?

How is this different then last year between between 4S and 5? Was the difference not $100 and 8 gig less of flash?

post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

So it's not cheap- we get it. But why buy it if for $100 more you get so much more? in other words- why should anyone buy this?

 

What kind of blabber is this? Where have you been for 6 years of iPhone business?

 

Why should anyone have purchased the iPhone 4 or 4S in the last year? They were only slightly cheaper than the 5, and offered so much less? Yet, somehow, magically, the 4S alone accounted for 30% of all iPhone sales in the last year: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/22/iphone-5-accounts-for-half-of-apples-smartphone-sales-iphone-4s-takes-30

 

So, want to revise or utterly retract your ignorant question?

post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

iOs 7 has always been demoed with a white face front.
It's much more futuristic looking with white..

 

I'm also a bit puzzled by the choice of black. My iPhone 5 is white and I really prefer it to all of the previous black iPhones I have owned.

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post #19 of 49
I don't care for the cases at all. Neither the rubber nor the leather ones. If the 5c were $50 less, it would certainly be a hit. It may be anyway. I expect the iPhone 6 (iPhone 5XL) to have a larger screen size, making the 5c the low end model.
post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I'm also a bit puzzled by the choice of black. My iPhone 5 is white and I really prefer it to all of the previous black iPhones I have owned.

I don't have a white-front phone, so no direct experience, but I'd expect that photos and videos look better framed in black.

Then again, they may offer a white option later on when they get over the logistics of all the options they already have, what with the colors, radios and software versions they're dealing with at first.
post #21 of 49
One fundamental design flaw for me is that colours like yellow, red etc always looks better with WHITE front then BLACK?!? Don't get it why they made it black only. At least they could done and WHITE option? :J
post #22 of 49

I am extremely disappointed they did not include support for band 41 on the Sprint version of these new iPhones.  Band 41 would allow access to the massive amount of Clearwire spectrum that is now being rolled out as Sprint LTE. Sprint uses 3 bands for LTE and the new iPhone will only support 2 of them but not 2.5 GHz spectrum. China Mobile also uses the same spectrum which is even more puzzling why it wasn't included in the Sprint iPhone. It could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on permits to upgrade the old Sprint towers to LTE with 1900Mhz but the addition of 800MHz and 2.5GHz will actually only take a few days since it is just adding a card and a few very minor things. That means the entire Sprint network will have 2.5GHz LTE support very quickly and neither the iPhone 5c or 5S will be able to use that for a good portion of that 2 year contract. 

post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

What kind of blabber is this? Where have you been for 6 years of iPhone business?

Why should anyone have purchased the iPhone 4 or 4S in the last year? They were only slightly cheaper than the 5, and offered so much less? Yet, somehow, magically, the 4S alone accounted for 30% of all iPhone sales in the last year: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/22/iphone-5-accounts-for-half-of-apples-smartphone-sales-iphone-4s-takes-30

So, want to revise or utterly retract your ignorant question?

(re your last question): What, and lose his job? 1biggrin.gif
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

So it's not cheap- we get it. But why buy it if for $100 more you get so much more? in other words- why should anyone buy this?

It's a fuzzy concept called value: people judge value differently. If I'm a college student and I don't need the fingerprint hotness or 64-bit, maybe saving $100 up front makes this more attractive.

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post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I continue to wonder why people thought Apple would produce a throw away phone with no profit margin. Investors like money coming in don't they? How can Apple please both parties? They have to make money on hardware because that's where their income comes from.

 

Yeah investors do like money coming in.....my Apple stock down 22.8% since I invested.....on the other hand my Nokia stock is up 59.3% since investing. Sad.

post #26 of 49

If you take a close look at the green case photo in the article, the one of the bottom audio, speaker and charging cutouts, they do not align very well. I don't think it is a user installation issue because some of the holes are too high and others too low and the speakers holes are off in height as well as laterally. This seems odd since they are manufactured by Apple. I could understand it from a third party but Apple is usually much more precise than this.

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post #27 of 49

mstone --

 

That's because it's an iPhone 5 in the iPhone 5C case.

post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

If you take a close look at the green case photo in the article, the one of the bottom audio, speaker and charging cutouts, they do not align very well. I don't think it is a user installation issue because some of the holes are too high and others too low and the speakers holes are off in height as well as laterally. This seems odd since they are manufactured by Apple. I could understand it from a third party but Apple is usually much more precise than this.

Thats because he put the case on his old iPhone 5 to see if it would fit. That is not an iPhone 5c. 

post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by faZZter View Post

Yeah investors do like money coming in.....my Apple stock down 22.8% since I invested.....on the other hand my Nokia stock is up 59.3% since investing. Sad.

So you bought Apple at basically the worst time ever and you didn't make a horrible move with Nokia. Sounds like a normal investor, you win some you lose some. That doesn't mean Apple is doing anything wrong and certainly doesn't mean Nokia is doing anything right.
post #30 of 49

In a way it would be great if Apple distinguishes the iPhone from the iPod by having black faces for the iPhone and white faces for the iPod.

 

This is meant to be a reply to Pazuzu, post #5.

post #31 of 49
Daniel and AI, a solid close-up article on this interesting new phone. The pictures convey the juiciness of the plastic. If it weren't for the colors, I'd be very interested, but i'm not the intended market.

The people who are still wondering why this phone instead of the 5S for $100 more, or why plastic instead of the touch's anodized colors, are just immune to the sensuality of polycarbonate done right. Maybe they'll get it when they hold one in hand, but I kind of doubt it. I think it's a case of hemisphere lock-up. (Guess which one.)
Edited by Flaneur - 9/12/13 at 10:35am
post #32 of 49

The 5c looks to be a fairly competent performer.  If they gimped the phone in order to not make it compete with the 5s (ie no Siri) it would have been a little lame.  If they released it at its current performance, but at a much lower price- it would cannibalize the 5s.  My guess is Apple leaves things as is so they sell a lot of 5s's because its only $100 more.  After a quarter or two when the surge is over they will drop the price of the 5c substantially.

 

And please....  I know it is *Apple*.... but stop trying to make 'Apple plastic' amazing.  It is plastic.  It is 'cheap'

 

The 5c is a bit on the cheap side, it just isn't priced inexpensively.

post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by imt1 View Post
 
Thats because he put the case on his old iPhone 5 to see if it would fit. That is not an iPhone 5c. 

Thx, I guess that's what I get for not reading the whole article.

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post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

The people who are still wondering why this phone insead of the 5S for $100 more, or why plastic instead of the touch's anodized colors, are just immune to the sensuality of polycarbonite done right. Maybe they'll get it when they hold one in hand, but I kind of doubt it. I think it's a case of hemisphere lock-up. (Guess which one.)

 

I think most of those people are thinking solely about off-contract phones ($100 isn't much of a difference when you're paying $600+ for the phone).  However, on-contract, $100 is half off.

 

Considering that the vast majority of the target demographic for the 5C likely isn't buying high-end phones off contract at full price (no matter what the brand), half off is going to appeal to them.

 
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post #35 of 49
Originally Posted by Frood View Post

And please....  I know it is *Apple*.... but stop trying to make 'Apple plastic' amazing.  It is plastic.  It is 'cheap'

 

Maybe watch the video.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post

If Apple went out of its way to produce hideously garish colors I don't think it could top the butt f-ugly palate they intro'd yesterday. The most complimentary thing I can say about these colors is they're reminiscent of bodily functions. Maybe I'm wrong and these colors will attract teeny boppers in Asia. I hope so for my AAPL sake and stake.

This is the first time I've seen Apple stumble on a design in quite some time. Very disappointed in these colors!

 

"The most complimentary thing I can say about these colors is they're reminiscent of bodily functions. "

 

Dude, if your bodily functions are blue, and green, you might wanna quit posting on AI and contact your doctor.  Just saying.

post #37 of 49
They really needed to price this at $400. Not $550. And make it free on contract. Hard to justify upgrading from a 4S to a 5S. Where are the killer features.
post #38 of 49
Originally Posted by schlack View Post
They really needed to price this at $400.

 

100% certain that Apple doesn't "need" to do anything you claim. 

 
And make it free on contract.

 

Why? Answer.

 
Hard to justify upgrading from a 4S to a 5S.

 

If it's hard, you're not even trying.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post

If Apple went out of its way to produce hideously garish colors I don't think it could top the butt f-ugly palate they intro'd yesterday. The most complimentary thing I can say about these colors is they're reminiscent of bodily functions. Maybe I'm wrong and these colors will attract teeny boppers in Asia. I hope so for my AAPL sake and stake.

This is the first time I've seen Apple stumble on a design in quite some time. Very disappointed in these colors!

 

Have you seen the new Toyota Corolla commercials showing all the generations with Corolla?  The last one for today's Corolla has everyone in crazy bright colors.  I'm not saying I like it, but I'm 41 and don't have to keep up with those latest crazes.  

post #40 of 49

Why do people care about the 5S vs 5s, or the hole in the 5c case? Maybe I'm blinded by all the nice things I see that I just could not bother giving a flying f**k.

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