We’ve just received several intriguing images of what is purported to be the price tag for the iPhone 5C, but it leaves us with more questions than answers. Our tipster says these price tags were spotted at Walmart and coincide with the phone’s pricing on the retailer’s prepaid Straight Talk wireless service. The $649 off-contract price tag seems a bit steep, however, for what many have been calling a “budget” iPhone.
Even more perplexing is the appearance of a price tag for a device dubbed the iPhone 4C. That particular device is marked with a price of $449. So what’s going on here? Is Apple releasing two ‘C’ models that perhaps have identical exteriors but vary in internal hardware? That seems like a stretch. No rumors up to this point have given any indication of an iPhone 4C.
Our best guess is that the tags are mislabeled in some way. Perhaps the $649 price actually belongs to the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 4C tag is meant for the iPhone 5C. Maybe there will be no iPhone 5S, and Apple will name their top-tier flagship the 5C and introduce the low cost model as the 4C. We think the first option seems more likely.
If a name mixup is the culprit, we could have final clarity on next-gen iPhone pricing. $649 is in line with what Apple charges for an unlocked 16GB iPhone 5, so it would make sense for the iPhone 5S to be price at this level. The iPhone 5C would then get a cheaper (but not dirt cheap) off-contract pricing of $449.
$449 is $200 cheaper but will likely be disappointing to some. As we learned with the launch of the Moto X, a phone rumored to go for as low as $200 unlocked but actually costing as much with a wireless plan, best not to get too invested in speculation on a phone’s final price.