If there is one thing Apple is good at, it is sticking to its prices. Each year a new iPhone is released and till the time a successor is announced, it continues to command its premium price. Post that one year, it is relegated to the second tier and is sold at a slightly lower price point. Infact, for a lot of time the common industry wisdom was this – Apple has a cheaper iPhone, its the last year’s model. Then the clamour for a new cheaper iPhone grew, and when details about a new plastic iPhone leaked, the world was convinced that a cheaper iPhone was indeed coming. As it turns out, Apple can still surprise.
The iPhone 5C is going to replace the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 will no longer be sold, and instead you’ll be presented with the colourful new iPhone 5C. The 5C is essentially the iPhone 5 in a plastic case, with a slightly better battery and a slightly better front facing camera. These are minor improvements, and ones you’ll probably not even notice in day to day use. There is one aspect in which the 5C presents an advantage – it along with the 5S supports Indian LTE bands, making it one of the first smartphones to do so. That being said, both Reliance Jio and Airtel’s LTE rollout isn’t quite lighting up the country and it will be more than a few months before you can think of LTE as a viable option.
The iPhone 5C is $549 unlocked for the 16 GB model. Further, because Apple doesn’t increase prices post launch, it pegs the Dollar rate at a much higher value that the current rate to protect its margins should the Rupee fall further. With this in mind, the cheapest price that one can expect for the iPhone 5C is around 40-42,000 INR. You can currently buy an iPhone 5 for about 42-43,000 INR.
While Jonny Ive might claim that the iPhone 5C is unapologetically plastic, it will never feel as premium as the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5S. Infact, in my book the iPhone 5 is a better buy than the 5C, LTE support notwithstanding – and this purely down to looks. Since the 5 and the 5S are almost identical, Apple is using the 5C as another way to differentiate the 5S from yesteryear’s model.
The iPhone 5C was never destined to be a cheaper iPhone, it is perhaps a manifestation Ive’s desire for colour. A lot is being said about how colour matched wallpapers and iOS 7 transparencies on the 5C add to the experience of one colour permeating through, but I do not buy into that. Most people will change wallpapers the moment they get a new phone, and iOS 7 will then start reflecting that colour, not the colour of the phone. This isn’t a big deal – but the point I’m making is that why get a plastic iPhone when you can get a the same thing in beautiful aluminum.
Once the iPhone 5C and the 5S start selling in India, you won’t be able to buy the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5S will touch 50,000 INR easy, so if you want an iPhone closer to 40 than 50, get the iPhone 5 while you still can.