Recent reports are suggesting that Apple is aiming to shutter production of its ‘budget- level’ iPhone 5C. Released alongside the iPhone 5S last year, it was the lowest priced iPhone ever made, and many suggested Apple was looking to expand beyond the premium smartphone market they had all but cornered. If the reports are true, what does this mean for the future of Apple in the budget sphere?
Firstly, consider the iPhone 5C itself. When it was released you would have been forgiven for believing that it was simply an iPhone 5S without the premium outer casing. In fact, it had the same internal hardware of the iPhone 5 released in 2012. This made the phone a year out of date before it had even hit the shelves. With such a stingy approach to hardware, it could be said that Apple was never serious about the budget phone market to begin with.
As a possible response to Apple’s market advantage various manufacturers using the open-source Android software have dominated the budget market. Cheap flagship-level phones, often featuring high definition screens, 12 megapixel cameras and impressively fast processors, are growing in popularity. While it’s typical for businesses to enter growing markets, ‘budget’ has never been a word associated with Apple and it perhaps found itself in a conflict of principles with the iPhone 5C.
It seems that Apple could have held its ground enough to maintain or even grow the strength of the premium pricing model. The iPhone 5C did not sell as well as predicted, with people seemingly happy to splash the extra cash on an iPhone 5S with its chamfered edges and champagne gold accents. Consumers may be recognising the importance of a smartphone in every day life and are therefore willing to pay for quality. Perhaps this explains why the latest phone in Google’s historically cheap Nexus range, the Nexus 6, costs £549 for the 64GB model while the same capacity iPhone 6 is just £69 more.
Of course, this is pure speculation. Apple could in fact be storming ahead with its cheaper range and the wind-down of iPhone 5c production could actually be signalling the launch of an iPhone 6C next year. Only time will tell if Apple has ditched the plastic for good.