For the first time ever, Apple introduced two new iPhone models simultaneously targeting different price points. The iPhone 5C isn’t the super low-cost phone everyone hoped for, but it is the cheaper of the two models. So how much is it? And what’s the big deal, anyway? Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone 5C.
Same Great Hardware, Totally New Design
Unlike the iPhone 5S, which places updated hardware inside a device that looks nearly identical to the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5C does the opposite. The specifications of the phone are on par with that of last year’s model with an identical A6 processor, 8MP camera, and 4-inch Retina display. That’s where the similarities end, as Apple has forgone aluminum for plastic as the primary build material.
The choice in material had everything to do with keeping production costs low. It also means the iPhone 5C comes in slightly chunkier than other models bearing the ’5′ designation. The handset measure 4.90 x 2.33 x 0.35 inches. The few tenths of an inch here and there are likely to go unnoticed. So is the extra bulk, which has the phone weighing in at 4.65 ounces. Chalk that up to the build material and a battery that is 5 percent bigger than that of the iPhone 5.
The big story, though, is all about the eye candy. This ain’t no black and white iPhone.
A Whole lotta Color
OK, so there is a bit of white, but definitely no black. The iPhone 5C’s biggest claim to fame is that it will be available in five shades of Jony Ive at launch. These are bright, pastel shades of blue, green, yellow, and pink to go along with the white option, which now seems bland by comparison. And yes, they ship with matching wallpapers that seem oh so at home with the device’s iOS 7 software.
It’s a first for Apple, a company known for offering colorful devices in the past. The approach has worked most successfully with the iPod lineup (and with those totally 90s clamshell iBooks and older iMacs), and it seems Apple hopes to capture some of that appeal with a less expensive, eye-catching iPhone.
More on that Pricing
Aside from colors, the other big story surrounding the iPhone 5C is its pricing. Speculation leading up to the device’s launch had many believing Apple would reveal a device that would retail for somewhere between $300-400 without a wireless contract. Instead, we saw a device priced with a standard contract model.
The phone will sell for $99 for a 16GB model and $199 for a 32GB model. Off-contract pricing is expected to be in the realm of $550, more than a bit pricier than initially anticipated. Analysts have called the revelation disappointing, and it led to a downgrade in Apple stock on Wall Street this week.
Say Bye to the iPhone 5
If you’re wondering where the iPhone 5 fits into Apple’s plans after the iPhone 5C, you have every reason to wonder. All indications are that the company plans to phase out the 5 in favor of the 5C, which takes up the price point normally occupied by last year’s model.
Interestingly, the iPhone 4S will continue to be available. It will be free with a new two-year wireless contract via most carriers.
A Case of Poor Accessory Design?
We would be remiss in talking about the iPhone 5C to not mention the lineup of cases Apple unveiled alongside the devices. These silicon cases of equally bright colors took up nearly as much time during the iPhone 5C unveiling as did the device itself. They instantly became the butt of many jokes with tech enthusiasts.
The design seems uncharacteristically sloppy for Apple, with an appearance that has been compared to the Crocs line of shoes. Particularly cringe worthy is the way cutouts in the back of the case obscure the iPhone and Apple branding. These new cases will be available alongside the iPhone 5C for $30.
When Can I Get it?
The iPhone 5C will be available on the same day as the iPhone 5S, September 20th. Unlike the iPhone 5S, though, Apple will be offering a pre-order for the 5C. That starts on Friday, September 13th. Once again, pricing starts at $99 for a 16GB model with a two-year wireless commitment.