That observation is based upon the nominal difference in price between Apple’s new top of the line iPhone 5S and the lower penthouse-not-basement iPhone 5C.
To Be Low Priced Or Not To Be
For a few months the Apple faithful have been deluged with rumors about Apple’s new iPhone line, and the company’s flirtation with a lower priced model.
The iPhone 5S was to be the latest and greatest technology, while the iPhone 5C (where ‘C’ stands for either for color or for China) would be lesser and at a lower price.
Apple is very proud of the company’s ability to create the de facto standard for expensive smartphones and prices the devices accordingly.
Basically, the iPhone comes in two models with two pricing structures. The iPhone 5S is loaded with everything new and better, while the iPhone 5C has lesser components, and is priced $100 less.
That’s right. Only $100 separates the newer than new iPhone 5S from the low end iPhone 5C. In the U.S., major carriers price the iPhone 5C from $199 for a 16GB model, while the iPhone 5C is priced $100 less at $99 for a 16GB model.
The very low end is held up by the aging-rapidly-before-your-eyes 8GB iPhone 4S, which is free on select carriers, but not available as an unlocked device for a lower price.
Now, get this. If you want to buy an iPhone 5 unlocked and contract free, the $16GB model starts at $649 for the iPhone 5S, just $100 more than the iPhone 5C at $549.
Without actually using those words, Apple is telling the world it is taking the high road, and will not play in the discount streets littered with plastic, give-away Android smartphones.
What’s The Difference?
There are differences between the iPhone 5S and 5C. Apple still charges $100 more for an extra 16GB (to 32GB) but only the 5S model has a 64GB option.
The 5C comes in a polycarbonate plastic case in five bright colors (and a new line of cases for the 5C that match). The 5S has a faster 64-bit CPU, the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor, dual flash for the camera (which also has a larger sensor), and a few additional hardware features new to the iPhone line.
Both models can still take 1080p video, snap a photo while recording video, and features the same screen size and resolution, but the 5S also does slow-motion video, a better flash, a burst mode of 10 pictures per second, and improved video stabilization.
Interestingly, the iPhone 5S is slightly smaller and lighter than the plastic iPhone 5C. And, the 5S is available in silver, gold, and space gray, vs. the gaudy colors of the 5C.
Apple’s idea of a bargain basement product is the two-year-old iPhone 4S. Otherwise, a mere $100 separates the high end iPhone 5S from the less iPhone 5C. Clearly, Apple has no intention of discounting products to gain marketshare. Instead, the company is counting on the iPhone’s quality and Apple’s ecosystem to attract smartphone customers who will upgrade from the ranks of cheap Android products.
Time will tell whether this strategy is successful, but it’s clear that Apple has raised the bar above typical high end Android smartphones. The question is, ‘Is the bar high enough to justify the iPhone’s higher prices?’ or is Apple content to live alone in the Ivory Tower or Fortress of Solitude?