According to the tech rumour mill, September 10th will see the launch of two new iPhones – the 5S and the 5C. New iPhones for certain people are an exciting event (anyone for queuing outside the Apple store for 5 days?), but this launch is particularly significant as the 5C is going to be a budget version of the iPhone, which is a significant change to Apple’s strategy.
Firstly, what about the 5S – well, it will be similar to a 5, but with a faster processor, an improved camera (apparently 12 megapixel) and fingerprint recognition which I think it is quite a cool feature, although it didn’t catch on with laptops. But I think the 5C is the more interesting proposition.
The iPhone is a very popular device, but Apple has been losing market share to Android devices particularly Samsung devices. The 5C is designed to try to take some share away from Samsung by positioning their phone at a cheaper price point.
Previously, Apple has relied on frequently releasing new models and being able to sell the older models off at a cheaper price. But this tactic has not been working of late – it seems that consumers want the new phone but without the hefty Apple price tag.
Apparently the ‘C’ in 5C stands for colour (no, not cheap!) – initial colours are said to be blue, red, yellow and green and should give the 5C a more funky and young feel. However, if you are a lawyer for Apple I have good news. These colours are the same as those of the Google logo, so expect another protracted legal battle between the two tech foes. It is also likely to have more of a plastic feel than the 5 or 5S.
I think this is a significant change in strategy for Apple. It has struggled to gain penetration in the emerging markets, but it still a desirable brand. The challenge for Apple now will shift. If it is able to price the 5C to compete with Samsung, the question for consumers is whether they prefer the iOS or Android operating systems. And this makes the release of iOS7 even more important for Apple’s growth.