Inside Apple's iPhone 5c: 'c' is for 'colors'

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Taking a page from its own successful iPod playbook, Apple this year is pushing a new lineup of bright, colorful iPhones as its mass-market smartphone for the fall of 2013.

iPhone

'For the colorful'

Perhaps most telling of Apple's expectations for the iPhone 5c is the fact that it is the first product displayed when someone visits the company's website. The iPhone section of the site also leads off with the iPhone 5c, getting top billing over the iPhone 5s.

Available in a range of five vibrant colors and with a subsidized starting price half that of the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5c is in an interesting place in Apple's new iPhone lineup. The company has opted to discontinue the iPhone 5, though the iPhone 5c has many of the same parts and features as its predecessor.

Apple has adopted a playful, fun strategy in marketing the new handsets, pitching them as "for the colorful."Priced at $99 with a two-year wireless agreement, the new plastic-backed iPhone 5c ships in white, red, yellow, blue and green. Apple has adopted a playful, fun strategy in marketing the new handsets, pitching them as "for the colorful."

The focus on color has even extended to the iOS operating system, as default wallpapers installed on iPhone 5c units will match the color of the plastic external shell chosen by the buyer.

Colors are also the key focus for new, quirky cases Apple is offering with the iPhone 5c. A series of circular holes on the back expose the color of the iPhone underneath, allowing users to mix and match color combinations as they see fit ? a total of 30 possible combinations with six different case colors and five different iPhone 5c colors.

"Unlike most cases, these weren't designed just to add protection," Apple has said about the official iPhone 5c cases. "They were designed to add fun."

iPhone

Apple's colorful history

The use of bright color options to sell products is nothing new for Apple. In one of his first acts as returning CEO, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the iMac in 1998 in a presentation in which he panned current desktop computers as "ugly."

As part of his comeback strategy for Apple, Jobs unveiled the unique, transparent, curvy and colorful "Bondi Blue" design of the first iMac G3. Advertisements for the all-in-one computer portrayed it as "Chic. Not geek."



"The whole thing is translucent, you can see into it ? it's so cool," Jobs said onstage, as all sides of the iMac were being shown to the audience via a wireless camera. "The back of this thing looks better than the front of the other guys'," he went on to say.

Apple's iMac G3 was released in a total of 13 different "flavors," making it one of the most colorful products in the company's history.Apple also pushed the fresh look of the new iMac in a series of commercials featuring the voice of actor Jeff Goldblum. In one television spot, Goldblum noted that the iMac was "more colorful" than the competition currently on the market.

Of course, the key to Apple's strategy with the first iMac "G3" was not just its color. The desktop was also somewhat controversial at the time for omitting a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive ? a legacy feature that virtually all computers at the time included.

But colors became even more important to the G3 iMac in January of 1999, when the "Bondi Blue" shade was replaced with blueberry, strawberry, tangerine, grape and lime. In all, the iMac G3 was eventually released in a total of 13 different "flavors," which also included graphite, ruby, sage, snow, indigo, and the psychadelic "Flower Power" and "Blue Dalmatian" configurations.

iMac

iPhone 5c: The 'iPod-ification' of the iPhone

Of course, this strategy is not new for Apple. When the company introduced its all-new iPod mini in 2004, that product was also available in five colors.

A year later, the iPod mini was replaced by the iPod nano. And as the iPod lineup kept growing, so too did sales.

Through 2004, Apple had sold 10 million total iPods to date. But by mid-2007, with the iPod classic, mini, nano and shuffle all having hit the market, the company reached sales of 100 million iPods over the product's lifetime.

The variety of colors available in the iPod lineup eventually became a key selling point for the products in the company's television and print advertisements.



Now, in 2013, the iPod is on its way out, having been cannibalized by the iPhone over the last six years. While the iPhone has become Apple's new cash cow, the company has only introduced one new model of iPhone every year.

This year, the company tweaked its strategy with two new iPhones. So far, the iPhone 5c promotional material has reminiscent of the classic, colorful iPod ads, celebrating fun and variety. Whether the iPhone 5c will help grow sales of the iPhone lineup the same way colors and variety made Apple's iPod the dominant media player of last decade remains to be seen.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    iPhone 5c is for "Cheap". Its supposed to be ironic since its actually very expensive being only $100 less than the significantly better iPhone 5s and a major downgrade from the iPhone5.
  • Reply 2 of 108
    I know several people who have decided on the 5C rather than go with another Android device. They like the colors and the promise of iOS 7 ...and the price. That $100 does make a difference.

    It will be interesting to compare 5C sales to a year ago 4S sales (if those numbers are available). My guess is the numbers will be comparatively huge.
  • Reply 3 of 108

    It fills the second spot in the iPhone line up and replaces the 5, as a medium priced phone.  Apple never told the stupid tech media that the 5C was going to be Cheap.  They just Assumed that it would be.  Stupid them.  You know what you get from assume.

     

    Apple now has made a new phone and it will appeal to a great deal of people and they wont have to say that they bought a 1 year old phone.  And the C has several improvements over the 5.  Battery, Camera, more cell standards coverage.  I think it will sell exceptionally well.

  • Reply 4 of 108
    I really don't like those cases.

    I think with the next iPhone that they should only have the one model, but in black or white and with 10 different coloured cases, similar to the iPad Smart Case (black, white, silver, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink).
  • Reply 5 of 108
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,108member
    If they'd priced it just $50 less they'd be hitting the sweet spot.

    As it is they're simply profiteering, guaranteed they'll be making more per phone on the 5C then if they'd kept the iPhone 5.

    It's a great phone and they will sell millions, no questions there.

    Just a shame that they could not resist squeezing that little bit extra blood out of the stone.
  • Reply 6 of 108
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lance Newcomb View Post



    iPhone 5c is for "Cheap". Its supposed to be ironic since its actually very expensive being only $100 less than the significantly better iPhone 5s and a major downgrade from the iPhone5.

     

    How is it a downgrade from the iPhone 5? It's got a better battery and front camera.

     

    I guess you're talking about the plastic casing? It may be a downgrade to you (and me to a point), but I think a lot of people feel that the iPhone 5/5S seems too luxurious and fragile compared to Android phones with chunky plastic casings. 

     

    Also, every person I know that still uses a feature phone brags about how much more durable their phone is compared to a "fragile" smartphones. To them, the plastic casing is probably seen as an upgrade.

  • Reply 7 of 108
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    saarek wrote: »
    If they'd priced it just $50 less they'd be hitting the sweet spot.

    As it is they're simply profiteering, guaranteed they'll be making more per phone on the 5C then if they'd kept the iPhone 5.

    It's a great phone and they will sell millions, no questions there.

    Just a shame that they could not resist squeezing that little bit extra blood out of the stone.

    Making the IPhone 5 case was expensive and time consuming. The same equipment is used to make the iPhone 5s case. Had Apple kept the iPhone 5 in production continuing to offer it would cause production problems because Apple would have to use the same equipment to make both phones cases. This move was about freeing up resources for the 5s while bringing down he cost and improving the appeal of the 5.
  • Reply 8 of 108
    iPhone 5c is for "Cheap". Its supposed to be ironic since its actually very expensive being only $100 less than the significantly better iPhone 5s and a major downgrade from the iPhone5.

    The "C" stood for "cheap" only in the minds of the analysts who imagined that Apple would go for the cheapskate market, which apparently you are part of.

    The iPhone 5c has the same specifications of the iPhone 5 with the exception of a 25% longer battery charge life and a wider selection of color options.

    The significantly better iPhone 5s at only $100 more is within tempting range of most buyers, it's going to be fun seeing how this plays out.

    By the way, the YELLOW 5c is turning out to be the most common color being pre-ordered. I'd never have guessed that!
  • Reply 9 of 108
    It really rubs me the wrong way when people describe the iPhone 5C as a "new" phone. IT'S NOT!!! It has the exact same internals as an iPhone 5 (with the exception of a slightly larger battery and slightly better front camera). All they did was put it into a plastic case instead of a metal case. The price is exactly the same as the 5 would have been had Apple continued to offer it. The only difference is now Apple will definitely be making more money per handset since the casing material (and likely the manufacturing process) is much cheaper. The consumer gets a phone that does exactly nothing better than the iPhone 5 did at the same price. As one of the earlier commenters said, C stands for "CHEAP." It's not cheap in the sense that it costs less, it's cheap in that Apple is giving you a worse phone for the same price you would have paid for the iPhone 5.
  • Reply 10 of 108
    gluben wrote: »
    I really don't like those cases.

    I think with the next iPhone that they should only have the one model, but in black or white and with 10 different coloured cases, similar to the iPad Smart Case (black, white, silver, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink).

    The most popular iPhone 5c in pre-order is the YELLO iPhone. I'd never have guessed that! Not in a million years.

    See? That's why you and I are not earning the big bucks in product design.

    Color forecasting is more then a science, it's an art... no, it's more then an art, it's fortune telling witchcraft!
  • Reply 11 of 108
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    One could argue that the iPhone 5s is bargain priced. Not too many luxury items stay the same price year after year when inflation, cost of material, labor and energy are all increasing.

     

    Here are all of the things that are better on the 5s than the 5c:

     

    A7 chip with 64-bit architecture

    M7 motion coprocessor

    Fingerprint identity sensor

    1.5µ pixels

    ƒ/2.2 aperture

    True Tone flash

    Slo-mo video

    Improved video stabilization

    Available in 64GB

    Aluminum case

     

    And it is only $100 more than the equivalent GB 5c models!

  • Reply 11 of 108
    So, next year the iPhone 5S will become plastic, but what designation will it get? iPhone 6C, or something else?

    I know, I know it's too soon.... :)
  • Reply 13 of 108
    Originally Posted by acatomic View Post

    So, next year the iPhone 5S will become plastic, but what designation will it get? iPhone 6C, or something else?

     

    No, because it isn't an iPhone 6. That wouldn't make any sense. Next year it will be the iPhone 5SC.

     

    Also, don't reply to Lance. No sense when the trolling is that pathetic. Report, move on; the account will be banned shortly.

  • Reply 14 of 108
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,108member
    mstone wrote: »
    Here are all of the things that are better on the 5s than the 5c:

    A7 chip with 64-bit architecture

    M7 motion coprocessor

    Fingerprint identity sensor

    1.5µ pixels

    ƒ/2.2 aperture

    True Tone flash

    Slo-mo video

    Improved video stabilization

    Available in 64GB

    Aluminum case

    And it is only $100 more than the equivalent GB 5c models!

    By your reasoning the lowest entry in iPod range should still cost $400 and the MacBook Airs still at $1800!

    Technology moves on and the price should be moving down, no one expects apple to be at the bottom end of pricing, on the new iPhone 5C especially they are keeping the pricing above what it should be.
  • Reply 15 of 108
    iPhone 5c is for "Cheap". Its supposed to be ironic since its actually very expensive being only $100 less than the significantly better iPhone 5s and a major downgrade from the iPhone5.
    So you just joined today huh? GTFO of here troll.
  • Reply 16 of 108
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,664member
    iPhone 5c is for "Cheap". Its supposed to be ironic since its actually very expensive being only $100 less than the significantly better iPhone 5s and a major downgrade from the iPhone5.

    Major downgrade?
    macdevil wrote: »
    It really rubs me the wrong way when people describe the iPhone 5C as a "new" phone. IT'S NOT!!! It has the exact same internals as an iPhone 5 (with the exception of a slightly larger battery and slightly better front camera). All they did was put it into a plastic case instead of a metal case. The price is exactly the same as the 5 would have been had Apple continued to offer it. The only difference is now Apple will definitely be making more money per handset since the casing material (and likely the manufacturing process) is much cheaper. The consumer gets a phone that does exactly nothing better than the iPhone 5 did at the same price. As one of the earlier commenters said, C stands for "CHEAP." It's not cheap in the sense that it costs less, it's cheap in that Apple is giving you a worse phone for the same price you would have paid for the iPhone 5.

    A worse phone? Didn't you mention a better camera and a better battery? The case may have changed but that's superficial.

    C never stood for cheap.
  • Reply 17 of 108
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,664member
    saarek wrote: »
    By your reasoning the lowest entry in iPod range should still cost $400 and the MacBook Airs still at $1800!

    Technology moves on and the price should be moving down, no one expects apple to be at the bottom end of pricing, on the new iPhone 5C especially they are keeping the pricing above what it should be.

    What it should be? According to who?
  • Reply 18 of 108

    Now they just need to bring back coloured laptops: a Blueberry MacBook Pro - with a handle!

  • Reply 19 of 108
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,779member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acatomic View Post



    So, next year the iPhone 5S will become plastic, but what designation will it get? iPhone 6C, or something else?



    I know, I know it's too soon.... image

     

    It's a fun question though.

     

    If it goes plastic (not a definite; it could be we'll only see this two line S/C splintering every other year) I doubt it'll become the 5SC, that's getting too far towards the godawful model numbers that are the hallmark of other manufacturers, and also it's mixing the range designations, which makes it unclear what the meaning behind the code it.  And if the 5C becomes the low end then they'll have two Cs right next to each other in the lineup.  I suspect they'll stick with 5S, whether they go plastic or not.  The 4S has the same glass and steel construction it had when it was the high end model, and the 3GS was always plastic.  There are two Ss on the range this year, 4 and 5, so they aren't afraid for an S to be a lower than top range model.  

     

    Of course, we have a whole year of rumours to get through before then, so who knows what changes might be in store.

  • Reply 20 of 108

    I like the 5c and I'd get one if I wanted or used a phone, indeed I have to seriously think about swapping my iPod for one. Having said that, if the slogan for the 5s is "Forward thinking", then 'c' must be for 'children', albeit forward thinking children. Who one day will need to do grown up things that require fingerprint scanning devices, but for now  are preoccupied with colours and spots.

     

    This is not a bad metaphor for what seems to be going askew with the world at the moment. Where small children are growing up to be big children acting as adults rather than adults who are able to maintain their Child (capital C indicates ego state) throughout life and thus keep their sense of humour and speak the truth.

     

     

    EDIT: on second though maybe 'c' is for 'cool' and 's' is for stuffy?

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